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Making every (study) moment count

Ready for the job market, commerce student John Bastwrous boosts his degree with global study and industry experience.

Sometimes, it’s identifying your dislikes that helps you discover a perfect course or career match.

Deakin commerce student John Bastwrous says that during high school he pretty much ‘hated all the sciences and English’ but when it came to business and numbers everything just seemed to click.

‘I enjoyed VCE accounting and business management so much – especially accounting – that I knew I wanted to do something in this field. That’s why commerce seemed the perfect course for me,’ he recalls.

John is now in the final year of a Bachelor of Commerce (majoring in accounting) and acknowledges that enrolling in Deakin Business School (DBS) has been one of his best decisions: the balance and content of his units have been both interesting and flexible and he’s had plenty of scope for including overseas study and industry experience.

‘For my electives I’ve completed two internships, one (and been accepted into another) while completing some really interesting units, like financial planning, which are extremely beneficial for my future career.’

Last year, John joined one of Deakin’s study abroad programs to the USA where he visited a range of “fortune global 500” companies including CBS Studios, PepsiCo and MasterCard.

‘It was a phenomenal learning experience. I was able to interact with CFOs, head auditors and other highly-ranked professionals while learning about their organisations and factors affecting their industry,’ he says.

Later this year, he’ll add another overseas study stint by participating in a DBS study program to Europe.

‘My goal has been to make the most of what Deakin offers so with only six units to go in the final year of my degree, I’m super-excited about this trip,’ he says.

One of great bonuses from John’s trip to the USA was the link it provided him to a Work Integrated Learning (WIL) internship in Melbourne with global accounting giant Ernst &Young (EY).

He’d earlier completed an accounting internship with Campeyn Group in Melbourne’s south-east and says when it came time to apply for a second internship, the US study experience proved invaluable.

‘Being able to tell a senior partner at EY that I’d spoken with CFOs and head auditors in the US was invaluable. Interacting with these highly-ranked professionals enabled me to hone my communication skills and create conversation with people who have a wealth of knowledge and influence.’

Both the WIL and study abroad programs have provided John with the critical workplace experience and knowledge that he needs for the graduate job market.

‘Working with the Campeyn Group really opened me up to the professional workplace and 9-5 routine, while the “vacationer program” at EY was three months of full-time work which provided me with an outstanding development opportunity,’ he explains.

Reflecting on his experience, John recommends several strategies that he believes helped boost his internship applications.

‘A key starting point is utilising Deakin’s career success workshops. It’s also important to look at the different skills required and tailor each resume and cover letter, prepare meticulously and write detailed responses that can showcase skills and experiences.’

He advises it’s also wise to allocate enough space and time between internship applications.

‘I once completed five different applications simultaneously which left me completing five different psychometric tests in a very short period of time,’ he recalls.

With the end of his studies in sight, John is now applying for graduate programs and is confident that his Deakin learning has provided him with a solid platform to launch his career.

This might sound cliché but studying at uni is actually the best time of your life so it’s important to make the most of it. It’s also important to know that it’s not the end of the world if it takes time to nail down an internship or job. You have to be prepared for rejection and use it to fuel your next application. There are hundreds of opportunities which will come and go so it’s essential to keep looking at what’s ahead.’

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