Overseas study experiences have been a key contributor to Maddie Matthews’ academic and career success.
It was a wide range of career possibilities that first led Maddie Matthews to choose a commerce degree with Deakin.
But by the time she finished her first year, Maddie also discovered a wide range of learning possibilities which included bumping up to a double degree and packing in three international study adventures.
Last year, Maddie completed a combined Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) and Bachelor of Property and Real Estate and she’s now working in a property development role with the state government’s Development Victoria.
She says the structure of Deakin’s commerce degree made it easy for her to first choose the discipline that best suited her interests.
‘Originally, I was interested in studying accounting but I didn’t want to do a straight accounting degree in case it wasn’t for me. The commerce degree offered many major sequences and I like being able to try the different majors before selecting one. I was thankful I chose to study at Deakin and had this choice because I ended up not enjoying accounting and decided to pursue the finance major instead.’
The flexible course options also helped Maddie make the decision to expand her study horizons by combining commerce with property and real estate.
‘I found out about the property degree by talking with other students – I was intrigued because I’d never considered a career in property. However after doing some research I decided to transfer my studies into a double degree at the end of first year,’ she says.
Over her four years at Deakin, Maddie made the most of DBS’s overseas internships and study tours and says these stand out as the highlights from her studies.
‘They have enabled me to travel to places I never thought I would see and experience those places in a different way to a typical tourist. I also developed so many great friendships through these tours that will last a lifetime,’ she reflects.
Maddie first participated in a finance study tour to India’s Symbiosis International University which was followed by an internship in Vietnam where she worked with other students to redesign the marketing strategy of a large mobile phone retail chain.
‘My third overseas study trip was another team internship, this time in Japan and with the Hikone Castle that was working on a bid for world-heritage listing. We had to undertake research and provide suggestions and solutions for attracting more visitors to the castle, as well as the town of Hikone.’
This internship was undertaken via the New Colombo Plan Scholarship Program which enables Australian undergraduate students to participate in a semester-based study across 40 participating Indo-Pacific locations.
Although the students relied heavily on Japanese translators for the project, Maddie says it was an opportunity to learn more deeply about Japan’s culture to ensure their suggestions for Hikone Castle were realistic and feasible.
‘One of the biggest rewards from both the internships was seeing how grateful the businesses are for your time and effort. They seemed to really enjoy hosting us and were really enthusiastic about our suggestions. It’s also pretty cool to think that we may have contributed – albeit only a small amount – to Japan’s Hikone Castle becoming world-heritage listed.’
While global study opportunities provide the experience of new countries and cultures, Maddie adds they also deliver valuable personal and professional benefits.
‘I think my overseas experiences were a key contributor to getting me where I am today. Not only have they provided me with experience in a corporate environment that I have been able to draw on in my internship, but they have also helped me grow into a more independent and confident person.’