Samantha

Country of origin: United States

UNSW Faculty: Australian School of Business

Course: Bachelor of Commerce

When Chicago undergraduate Samantha Hills switched from biology at Wisconsin to business in Sydney, Australia, she could never have foreseen the opportunities that were to open up for her.

samantha 1Tired of college life by the time she reached junior year, Samantha made the long trip to Australia on a one-semester exchange. She fell in love with Sydney and applied to complete her bachelor degree at the highly-ranked Australian School of Business at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

By the end of her degree she had already gained work experience at some leading companies and then walked straight into a job as an account executive for an IT company.

"Having done a business degree at UNSW has opened up so many options that I would never have had at home," says Samantha, 22.

"In the US internships are incredibly competitive, but here, being in such a big city, there are so many job opportunities with some great companies."

samantha 2Samantha's first internship involved working with the sports team at Yahoo. She then completed a marketing internship in one of the departments at UNSW, and was later hired to become its marketing officer.

Next she had the opportunity to work with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for six months and, just as she was offered the job, she was headhunted to work at her current employer, Click to Cloud.

International students are permitted to work for 20 hours a week in Australia. Samantha found all the companies she worked for very supportive of her study needs, and, conversely, that her course benefitted her in the workplace.

"For example I did a course in negotiation skills. The tutor was really passionate about it and it taught me when negotiating my salary and contract not just to settle and say yes, but to demand what you think you deserve.

"I also learned to be competent and comfortable giving presentations, and I studied communication skills, working with people from different backgrounds."

It's a million miles from biology at Wisconsin – and Samantha couldn't be happier.

There are so many more options here than in the US. At home internships are incredibly competitive, but here, being in such a big city, there are so many job opportunities with some great companies.

I switched here during my junior year at the University of Wisconsin. I was over the whole college lifestyle, here it was more like real life, living in the city and working. I chose UNSW because it had such a highly ranked business school.

I really had some great professors and tutors. One of my favourite courses was career planning and management, because the professor was so supportive. Another course which impacted me was negotiation skills. The tutor was really passionate about it and it taught me when negotiating my salary and contract not just to settle and say yes, but to demand what you think you deserve. I also learned to be competent and comfortable giving presentations, and I studied communication skills, working with people from different backgrounds.

I have done a lot of internships. First I worked at Yahoo with the sports team. After that I did a marketing internship at UNSW and was hired by the department after the internship to be their marketing officer. I continued that role and then got an opportunity to work at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia for six months. They offered me a job and so did one of their clients. I'm now working as an account executive for an IT company.

I was allowed to work 20 hours a week. In every position I had people were very supportive of giving me time off if I needed to study.

The work opportunities are great here, but at the same time it's definitely more laid back than the US - people understand you have a life outside work.

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