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Career building with the Deakin MBA

Deakin property graduate, and now industry professional, Karissa Wu is expanding her business skills with an MBA.

Property has always been Karissa Wu’s passion and it’s one that first led her to completing Deakin’s property and real estate degree.

But now, after notching up almost four years’ experience in the industry, she has returned to Deakin Business School and is currently undertaking an MBA.

‘To expand my career capabilities and goals, I knew I needed to learn more about business management, leadership and global thinking,’ she explains.

Developing foundations in property

As a property development coordinator, Karissa is responsible for the many tasks needed during the property development cycle, including due diligence, acquisitions, land investigation, construction, marketing and sales.

‘My duties also include assisting the project manager in organising multiple projects in their various stages of development from initial budgets to start of construction and settlement matters,’ she adds.

Karissa says her undergraduate property degree provided her with strong industry skills and knowledge that helped pave the way for her career.

‘We were provided with many opportunities and platforms to connect with professional organisations. This included encouragement to actively participate in professional events and network with industry which all helps to enhance workplace competitiveness.’

Global and industry study experience

Hands-on, global industry learning is also a key component of Karissa’s MBA studies and so far, she’s completed an internship in with local government in Melbourne and a work-integrated learning (WIL) program in Vietnam.

Participating in the ‘Interns in Industry’ program, which is organised by Whitehorse City Council, Knox City Council and DBS, Karissa worked with a strata management company specialising in professional management of residential, commercial and industrial owners’ corporations.

‘My role as a marketing intern was mainly involved administrative duties in developing and implementing marketing strategies – this included collaborating with with the business development team during all stages of idea creation,’ she says.

Meanwhile, the Vietnam WIL program gave Karissa the opportunity to delve into a very different learning experience which included learning more about the country’s history and work culture.

In a Deakin student team of four, she worked alongside employees of Viet Nhat, a Vietnamese manufacturing organisation with 75 employees.

‘This organisation has three main areas of business which include financial investment, real estate, and the electronic manufacturing. I gained very valuable experience during this internship including teamwork, self-management and problem solving,’ she says.

The experience also provided Karissa with important global learning.

‘We worked on a project brief from the organisation that developed recommendations and implementation strategies around improving marketing strategies. I learned a lot about the different operations of local and international markets which helped me think more critically about the cultural considerations that need to be made when dealing with different markets.’

A balance of online and face to face learning

Undertaking her MBA studies through a combination of Cloud Deakin and on-campus studies, Karissa says she’s benefitting from both study modes.

‘While study on campus can be more efficient, more interesting and more sociable, being able to study at any convenient time and place helps for better time management. Cloud Deakin deliver a lot of benefits … all lectures and learning resources are available and I can study and plan at my own pace. The ‘Discussion Board’ platform connects me to other students and lecturers where we can discuss and share information.’

Learning for the future

Now in the final year of her degree, Karissa is looking forward to applying her skills in future project management roles within the property industry.

‘I will continue my property career journey and use my MBA learning to continue expanding my career. An MBA opens up new avenues, networks and skills in the workplace … combined with a hard-working, can-do attitude, I believe it’s a qualification that enhances both my life and work.’