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5 Things I learnt at the Melbourne International Student Conference 2017

By Shu, Study Geelong Ambassador

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Annually , the Melbourne International Student Conference puts together a two-day event where international students and successful entrepreneurs who have either worked with or were international students themselves, have the opportunity to share experiences and guidance through a number of workshops and key speeches. In its recent run (5-6th of May), Study Geelong ambassadors had the opportunity to attend the conference and as expected, a few important things were learnt.

• Networking, networking, networking!!

The important role networking has on creating career opportunities and career development was emphasised directly and indirectly throughout the conference. Not only did the majority of workshops urge student to form networking connections that allow them to be visible as successful candidates, the first conference day ended with a networking event in Melbourne Town Hall where attending students had the opportunity to practice networking first hand. In today's career world, having qualifications and experiences is not enough in landing that dream job without one's ability to market themselves to prospective employers through various means such as career development events and conferences, taking on volunteering and casual roles as well as using social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter.

• Determination > resources

The most important lesson learnt from the inspirational and extraordinary story of Koky Saly, founder of Beekeeper Parade , is the power self-determination and resilience has on our future. While material resources remain important when starting a business or a career, the ability to continue to perform and take chances against challenging odds is just as important if not more.

Diversity is on the rise

At any given moment you could look around a room and you could not find two individuals that are completely similar, that's guaranteed. Let alone a room full of international students. Our communities and work environments are more inclusive and diverse than they ever were. Therefore, employers are moving to be inclusive beyond the diversity of backgrounds. This means that individual and unique characteristics are just as relevant to employability as other requirements. International students in this context are in a special advantage since all the skills they acquire through their journey is of significance in the work place.

• Failure is good for you

It shouldn't come as a surprise that your first, (second or third) attempt might not be the winning one. The most successful entrepreneurs, including the conference's guest speakers, have experienced failure before getting their big break. The good news is, the lessons we learn from these attempts about ourselves and our goals, are significant to success. Faliure, therefore is not a measure of the quality of the idea or goal, rather a necessary step in our journey.

• We are the next Generation

As suggested by the conference theme "Next Generation (Gen) Now", we are the future. We have access to technologies and jobs that are a part of the market for the first time. With this comes promising opportunities and greater responsibilities. The job market is ever changing due to technological advances. As new opportunities emerge, the need for individuals matching those skills arises. Therefore, today's job market requires a continuous process of developing skills and learning new ones in order to stay relevant.

Photo courtesy of: http://www.meldmagazine.com.au