Where are they now? Life as a Top100 finalist
As the deadline for GradConnection Top100 applications quickly approaches, we wanted to introduce you to two of UTS’ past Top100 finalists to hear about their experiences with the Future Leaders competition, how it has benefited their careers, and what advice they would give to future applicants.
Emily Law is a Bachelor of Information Technology student who won the 2020 Coles Information Technology Award, and Daniel Pascale was a finalist in the BP Sales & Marketing Award while completing his Bachelor of Business.
Emily, Daniel, thanks for chatting to us today. Why don’t you tell us a little about yourselves?
I’m a final year UTS IT student who loves partaking in as many experiences as possible. I believe anything can be achieved with enough determination and enthusiasm! I hope to use my project delivery skillset to optimise industry processes and deliver innovative solutions.
I grew up in Adelaide and moved to Sydney with big dreams and to chase opportunity. I consider myself an instinctively creative and adaptable person driven by the need to solve problems. I’m often described as a “Jack of all trades, master of none”, however I consider myself a master of variety.
What drew you to the Top100 Graduate Employers and Future Leaders Competition?
I had known a few acquaintances who had been in the Top100 before but never thought that would be me. I applied because I believe if there’s a good opportunity you should give it a go, what’s the worst that could happen?
In the worst case scenario I didn’t get it, but I would still gain the valuable experience of going through a tough application process which would be helpful when applying to graduate roles or other awards in the future.
Tell us about the process! What was it like to go through?
The Top100 process was exciting and challenging. It involved critical thinking and the opportunity to bring creative and analytical skills to the fore. I learnt more about myself, specifically what I value and what I aim to achieve.
There are just so many talented individuals, and especially at the assessment centre stage I got nervous that I wouldn’t be as good as everyone. When I ended up meeting all of them I realised that no one was judgemental and we all had different skillsets and career journeys that were incomparable. After that I wasn’t so nervous about being lesser than anyone, and was able to relax and enjoy the activities.
The best part for me was meeting so many like-minded and unique individuals who were all really successful in their chosen fields. They were all so genuine and lovely to speak to, and I was able to learn so much in the short period of time conversing with them.
What did you learn about yourself, the recruitment process, or your industry while going through the awards process?
I learnt that I made the right decision about my degree based on the people I was surrounded by. There were 10 finalist for my category and we all shared our advice about careers and our industry. I had previously had doubts throughout my degree about what I was studying, but the people in the Top100 competition made me excited for what was to come.
Has being a Top100 finalist helped you in your career so far?
It has not only brought awareness of myself to my wider network but also allowed me to connect with others around Australia. I believe a key part of a successful career is growing the relationships you have with the people around you, and the Top100 has helped in that.
The Top100 award also helped me stand out among other candidates during application processes. I have been fortunate enough to receive several graduate offers and find a role I really like.
The Top100 process imitated real world recruitment and helped me with my communication and networking skills. There were multiple rounds involving behavioural and aptitude assessments, as well as a critical thinking challenge. All together, there were about five rounds which helped prepare me for future recruitment processes.
Going forward, has the Top100 inspired you? What new goals have you set?
I honestly never would have thought I would be a finalist. It has inspired me to put myself forward, even if I have doubts, fundamentally changing my attitude towards myself and my capabilities, and I’m now more confident in what I can achieve. You never know where something will take you!
What advice would you give students thinking about giving Top100 a go?
Just go for it! Don’t waste time doubting yourself and your abilities because you should be your own biggest supporter. I’ve found that no matter how intelligent or talented you are, you will never get to have the best experiences or obtain your dream role if you aren’t proactive and confident. Go out and seek opportunities, don’t wait for them to come to you. The more experiences you have the more you’ll grow.
Here at UTS, we know our students are some of the best in Australia, but it doesn’t hurt to get endorsement! If you want to get recognised as one of the top uni students in Australia, apply for the Top100 Awards here. For even more advice from Emily and Daniel, come along to our Top100 Future Leaders Competition – Insights from Previous UTS Finalists event. Who knows, we might see YOUR name in a blog post next year!
Lily Cameron is a writer and editor based in Sydney. She is a Communications (Creative Writing) student at UTS, and current Communications Assistant at UTS Careers. She is passionate about telling stories, both hers and others’, and the way digital and social media is changing the literary landscape. Her writing has appeared in Voiceworks, The Brag, and elsewhere.