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Alex Swain graduation story

"Keep moving forward, and remember to give back"

13 July 2017

Alex Swain is a country boy who grew up on a farm in Northwest NSW, between Tamworth and Gunnedah. This week he will graduate from ANU with a Bachelor of Business Administration. Here he reflects on his time here, and tells us where he hopes his career will take him in the future.

Why did you choose to come to ANU?
Being one of the top universities in Australia, ANU attracted me as I wanted to challenge myself and get the best education I could. I also wanted to give myself the best chance at getting my desired job by going to a highly reputable university and taking all opportunities that came my way.

What kinds of clubs, programs or activities did you get involved in during your time at ANU?
There were two key programs that made my time at the university very memorable.

The first was the CBE Internship Program where I worked for an international company that was new to Canberra. I received exceptional support from CBE and Dr. Andrew Bradly in particular, and I was guided along the journey in my first professional work experience. The great thing about this program was that I was able to gain invaluable experience putting my learning at ANU into practice. This significantly increased my employability, ultimately helping me to get my desired job.

Being accepted into the Vice-Chancellors Student Leadership Program was the second notable experience from my time at ANU. Here I was able to refine my leadership skills and put them into practice through a number of exercises and through my own project, which was supported by the university. This was a great program that I significantly benefited from, not only improving my skills but meeting great people and forming friendships.

How did you balance your studies with these other commitments?
Time management is a crucial part of university life. Between course demands, extra-curricular activities and social life there isn’t much time. What I found to be the best way of balancing all of my commitments was to create a daily planner where I allocated time slots for various activities.
No matter how well you manage your time there will come a busy period where stress is high. What I did was just take it one step at a time and did not overwhelm myself by looking too far ahead.

What has been the highlight of your time at ANU?

The two major highlights for me were the VC’s Leadership Program and the CBE Internship Program. However, being able to present my work to an audience on various occasions was also a major highlight for me.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of my time at ANU was forming excellent friendships and professional, supportive relationships with a few exceptional academic staff.

What is next for you?
As I leave ANU and begin my professional career, I am pleased to say that I have a job lined up for next year. Thanks to an early offer from the Department of Defence I will be joining the 2018 graduate program as a Materiel Logistician. In my job I will have the opportunity to be involved with a number of significant projects surrounding the acquisition and sustainment of military equipment. This is a job that I really wanted and am therefore extremely excited to begin.

And what are your long term career goals?
I want to expand my skills across the business environment. From there, I hope to progress to the point where I am able to lead a team of people on a project or even the organization in its entirety.

My main goal is to one day run my own successful company relating to agriculture.

Final thoughts on what it’s like to be a student at ANU?
ANU is an excellent place to study as a university student, there are magnificent resources and learning facilities coupled with world-class academic lecturers.
My biggest piece of advice in attending ANU is to fully immerse yourself in the experience and take every opportunity that is offered to you. Furthermore, make sure to stay calm when stress is high and just keep moving forward.

Finally, have a “give attitude”. University should not just be about what you can get out of the experience, but also what you can give back. Those who also give will have a far more enriching university experience as they will have a direct positive effect on the people they are studying with, and the environment they are studying within.

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Updated:   13 July 2017 / Responsible Officer:  CBE Communications and Outreach / Page Contact:  College Web Team