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"I think that this is really valuable to us because it prepares us for life after university."

Industry experience is invaluable and known to greatly boost employment opportunities, which is why Deakin has partnered with Telstra to give students a first-hand look into the business world, as well as the unique opportunity to develop solutions for real-world business problems under the mentorship of Telstra staff.

Selected from a competitive pool of applicants Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws student Mahla Hakimi says the prospect of developing skills, gaining work experience, industry exposure and credit towards her degree certainly was a motivation to apply.

‘The Telstra Business Challenge developed me both professionally and personally. I feel like I am a part of Telstra, as we are not treated like university students. I think that this is really valuable to us because it prepares us for life after university.

‘This practical approach to learning is really unique and valuable and allows me to see how theory is put into practice in the real world and the challenges I may have to face once I start working. I also love working in a team environment and feeling like a part of the business,’ Mahla says.

For Bachelor of Commerce student Faye Ye the benefits go even beyond the practical aspect of working in a real-world environment and provide an opportunity to learn more about people and real-life work-place dynamics.

‘I am learning a lot about people and can see how we all have different ways of dealing with things.

‘I am also participating in group work, which is really valuable and an opportunity to develop my connection with people and to network – you can’t do that inside the university,’ she says.

Working as part of a multi-disciplinary team, students are briefed, provided with guidelines, a team mentor, and feedback and steering sessions - all the tools they need to succeed. But, tackling real business propositions and working within the industry can come with its challenges.

Faye says she is learning many valuable lessons such as the fact that in the business world things don’t always run smoothly.

‘It quickly sank in that this is a real business and we are talking about real things and providing solutions for real problems.

‘It is great to get feedback from Telstra staff and advice on how to improve our solutions. I have already learnt that there are many interesting challenges in the real business world, but you just have to pull yourself together and come up with another plan,’ she says.