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Anna Maddison

What's your job about?

My first rotation was in Corporate Marketing and Communications in External Relations, which is part of University Services, the shared professional services function of the University. I was there for 8 months, working on a wide variety of projects that included all-staff communications, merchandise, campus maps, a new corporate video and website redevelopment.

One of my proudest achievements was producing a new map for the Burnley Campus to encourage members of the public to visit the campus, which involved consulting with the campus staff, Faculty of Science and an external creative agency.

In a typical day, my time would be spent emailing and calling both internally and externally, gathering content for projects, writing staff communications and drafting plans.

I’ve just started my second rotation in the Office for Research at Melbourne Law School. Although I’m still new to the position, I will soon be taking over internal grants (organising funding for law research at MLS) and have been requested to do a review of the internal grant process. Fortunately, as the Law School is one of ten faculties and schools at the University, I will be able to learn from the other processes and systems in place across the uni.

What's your background?

I grew up in Melbourne and was educated here. After a gap year of travelling and working abroad, I did a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Linguistics and Applied Linguistics, minoring in Psychology, and a Diploma in Languages (French) at the University of Melbourne.

Although I always thought I would have to do graduate study to get a job, I was itching to get out into the real world and find out if I liked working in a professional job. I applied for grad positions in the last year of my Arts degree, and only found out about the Melbourne Graduate Program by attending a Careers Expo at Uni.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes, I think the most important thing about my job is the skills developed through studying and work experience, which are not unique to an Arts degree. I’m sure there would be some grads with more specific backgrounds and rotations (ie finance) who would disagree though. Every rotation and every grad is different and is considered that way when being recommended for placements!

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The coolest thing about my job would probably be working in a place where so many exciting things are happening all the time. The University is full of clever people who are really passionate about their work and I like being part of that through reading research findings, attending seminars and events on campus, and being up-to-date with the University’s strategies and vision.

The University’s grad program provides so many opportunities, just as many as other private and public sector grad programs, so I think that’s pretty cool as well. The University has all the professional services that exist in any other big company, plus many more!

Another cool thing about working as a grad at the University is that I feel very valued, trusted and respected in my team, and not at all taken advantage of or overworked – which as a new starter means a lot and gives me confidence that I’ve chosen the right workplace for me.

What are the limitations of your job?

It’s not unique to my job but starting somewhere new can be hard and overwhelming. There is so much to learn about the organisation, your team, the work you will be doing as well as just about working full time in general. It’s important to recognise that those uncertainties are completely normal and that’s why having a tight-knit grad group is really important. Having current and past grads to learn from and share experiences with means that starting work and transitioning between rotations isn’t as stressful.

Another limitation, which isn’t necessarily bad, is that there are so many interesting areas of the University and I would probably be a grad forever if I could be! Luckily there is the potential to move around in the future through ongoing roles, past the grad program, and the University values broad and diverse career experiences.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Don’t just wait to stumble across a potential career, or hope that you’ll find it through university subjects – get curious, talk to people, read about it and try to get relevant experience
  • Have multiple plans and keep your options open – people change their minds all the time but think long-term and choose the best subjects at uni for you to keep future career options open
  • Don’t doubt yourself – it doesn’t matter if you’re not the smartest in the class, getting consistently good grades, being involved and having broader experiences (including work experience) means so much more!