The benefits of applying for the Top 100 Future Leaders Awards

by Sep 4, 2023

Earlier this year, we spoke to some of the finalists and one of the winners of the Top100 Future Leaders Awards for 2023. From connection to skill-building, in this blog post, 7 of our 12 UTS finalists will reveal the key things they learned through the process and the highlights from the experience.

With the 2024 Top 100 Future Leaders awards now open, read on to find out what it is, why you should apply, and how you can put your best foot forward. 

What are the Top 100 Future Leaders Awards?

The Top 100 Future Leaders Awards are a chance to connect with students from across the country, gain exposure to some of the leading graduate employers, and have your name printed in the Australian Financial Review. The Awards are open to all university students across Australia who are looking to continue their studies into 2024 and are a great chance to accelerate your career.

The awards process is structured to mimic graduate recruitment processes so that with each stage, you gain experience going through what it’s like to apply for jobs.

“It was a great experience. It was honestly kind of exciting to go through each stage. It was very similar to a normal job interview and similar to the graduate recruitment process I went through when I was applying for graduate programs.”
– Derick Luong

You can check out a full breakdown of how it works and the different stages of the process on the Top 100 Future Leaders Awards website.

1. There are awards across disciplines

One of the great parts about the Top 100 Future Leaders Awards is that there is such a diversity of awards available on offer. Offering awards from many different organisations across different industries, including business, engineering, IT, or even awards open to all disciplines, there is something for all students. Any university students residing in Australia and continuing their studies in 2024 are eligible to apply.

Plus, in the words of one of last year’s winners, you have nothing to lose! So, you might as well give it a go.

“I spoke to previous finalists, and they both said they really enjoyed the process. They both told me, what do you have to lose if you don’t apply? You might as well… it’s also a very easy initial application process. So, it really is like, why would you not take the opportunity to apply? And I also thought it was a really interesting opportunity.”
– Evie Butler

2. Develop your confidence

It’s natural to feel nervous when considering doing something new, such as applying for these awards. However, take comfort in knowing that you’re not alone in feeling that way, and there is support available to you each step of the way. For each stage of the process, we have Career resources to help you through.

“Watch your emails throughout the stages because UTS Careers has resources to help you prepare. Make sure you really utilise those resources outside of the program. And don’t be afraid to showcase your achievements.”
– Georgia Widjaja

When we spoke to the 2023 finalists about their experience, they all had examples of feeling nervous when going into the process or approaching different stages. Across the board, they were all most nervous about the assessment centre stage. However, when asked about their favourite parts of the process, each and every one of them spoke about connecting with people at the assessment centre.

“The testing day was a bit nerve-wracking because you all of a sudden pulled against the top candidates in your industry or emerging candidates in your industry…it’s also exciting because you get to see what these people are doing and you kind of get to get ideas off and to see how can I improve myself as well while also fostering ideas by like just talking to them.”
– Corey Jones-Viegas

It’s also important to remember that the people around you are not vying for your downfall. And even if you make small mistakes or feel like you don’t say exactly what you’d like to, the most important thing is to stay authentic and candid throughout the process.

3. Prepare for graduate recruitment

As we touched on earlier, the whole Awards process is very similar to many large organisations’ recruitment processes. It’s structured to mimic the stages of graduate recruitment, so by applying, you can have the chance to practice and learn about what you might go through in the future.

“I learned a lot more about the industry… you actually hear from a lot of the top graduate recruiters… I made a grad connect profile the next day, and started googling the names to see what they were doing… It was really effective… it gave me the chance to think about applying for grad programs, and exploring that next step.”
– Sophie Serafim

It can also help connect you with people already working in the industry and find out about the kinds of skills and candidates they’re seeking.

“Seeing what employers are looking for in a viable candidate is always useful, as I now know what skills I need to develop. The psychometric assessments helped me learn how my employers expect me to react to certain situations and I can compare this with how I would naturally react. This comparison can also tell me what I need to know about my strengths and weaknesses in the workplace.”
– Helly Desai

4.      Build and uncover skills

As well as finding out what skills employers are looking for, the process can also help you to build and uncover your own abilities. Some of the skills that the process naturally develops are:

  • Application skills
  • Interview skills
  • Written and verbal communication skills
  • Networking skills
  • Organisational abilities
  • Leadership skills
  • Personal branding
  • Industry awareness

It can also help you uncover different interests or realise things about yourself that you weren’t aware of (which ties right back into that point about confidence). This can help you to feel surer of yourself when you go for opportunities in the future.

“The Top 100 process showed me how important it is to be yourself and to trust yourself. If you try and be someone you’re not, interviewers will see right through it. Really, they actually want to see you succeed. So, I want to have a lot more faith in myself. I need to back myself and go for as many opportunities as I can.” – Evie Butler

5. Grow your network

The Top 100 Future Leaders Awards is a great opportunity to start to build your network while at uni. All Top 100 Future Leaders finalists get the chance to attend the Assessment Centre day with other students from across Australia. You’ll have the chance to meet and chat with other finalists, hear about their interests, and find out about the exciting and inspiring ways they’re progressing the future of their industry.

“I think one of the big things I was worried about was, will I get along with the rest of the finalists? But what was interesting was the way that we actually came together… We really connected, and those student connections, you’ll be able to keep in touch with them after the process ends.”
– Emaan Gohar

“(The most enjoyable part was) getting to meet the amazing candidates for every single award… to learn about the transferable skills they’re wanting in the young leaders of tomorrow was a good experience. I really appreciated the opportunity to meet and learn from such intelligent people. It’s probably the best part of the Top 100 Future Leaders experience.”
– Corey Jones-Viegas


The Top 100 Future Leaders awards are open across disciplines, and are an opportunity for you to develop your confidence, prepare for graduation, build and uncover your skills, and grow your network. If you’re a student continuing your studies into 2024, this is a great opportunity, so make sure you apply.

“Don’t underestimate yourself, definitely apply because you will learn a lot at every stage. It’s a fun experience and there is no pressure to outperform.”
– Helly Desai


Want to read more? Check out our interviews with past winners and finalists.


Featured image courtesy of GradConnection

Amelia Bussing

Amelia Bussing

Communications Assistant

Amelia is a Sydney-based writing and communications enthusiast working at UTS Careers as a Communications Assistant. She is UTS Alumni who studied a Bachelor of Communications (Creative Writing & Advertising), and a Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation. She is passionate about creativity, storytelling, and the art of a well-timed gif, and has a vast collection of crazy socks.

Evie Butler

Evie Butler

UTS Bachelor of Accounting Co-Op scholar, 2023 Future Leaders Winner

Helly Desai

Helly Desai

UTS Bachelor of Civil Engineering

Emaan Gohar

Emaan Gohar

UTS Bachelor of Engineering, Bachelor of Medical Science, 2023 Future Leaders finalist

Corey Jones-Viegas

Corey Jones-Viegas

UTS Bachelor of Construction Project Management, 2023 Future Leaders finalist

Derick Luong

Derick Luong

UTS Bachelor of Business, Bachelor of Laws, 2023 Future Leaders finalist

Sophie Serafim

Sophie Serafim

UTS Bachelor of Communications, 2023 Future Leaders finalist

Georgia Widjaja

Georgia Widjaja

UTS Bachelor of Information Technology (co-op), 2023 Future Leaders finalist