I am Harsha, a Deakin graduate with both a bachelor and a masters degree. Deakin University provided me with a pathway to career success by equipping me with the skills I needed to pursue my goals.
Finding the right fit
Fourteen years ago after completing my grade 12 exams in Sri Lanka, I started working for HSBC and was fortunate enough to land a role as a fraud analyst. Whilst working for the bank I also started my banking exams and completed one unit. I was settling in well within my working environment, although I felt something was missing and I didn’t have proper direction. At this point my parents wanted me to pursue my higher studies, however, I was extremely reluctant to leave my comfort zone and push my boundaries.
After attending multiple overseas study seminars and doing online research I decided that Deakin was the right fit for me. The subjects that Deakin offered covered a vast range of knowledge and it accommodated my strengths and also gave me an opportunity to work on my weaknesses. I definitely felt like a fish out of water on day one at Deakin, especially being an international student in his early 20’s from a different country with a different cultural background. I set foot at Deakin in October 2005 and completed my Bachelor of Commerce degree in 2009, majoring in Accounting, Finance and Financial Planning. I also took up a placement opportunity through the duration of my course as a Finance Analyst for a company based in Melbourne which gave me invaluable insight into this career sector
The sense of inclusion, the support staff, the knowledgeable lecturers and the friendly tutors definitely played a big hand in my success. Despite being an international student, I did not feel lonely when I was at Deakin and this was mainly due to the diversity of students. I have been fortunate enough to meet with some great individuals from around the world and learn how to work in collaboration, sharing knowledge and different experiences.
Taking my career further
After completing my degree I gained employment at one of the big four banks in Australia. The knowledge gained from my course subjects, the exposure gained from the various assignments completed and the experience gained from working with individuals from diverse backgrounds helped me to perform to my best ability within the bank.
A few years later I decided to complete my MBA, and after doing some research I decided to continue at Deakin. To be honest, it wasn’t a hard choice – given the variety of subjects that were offered and also considering the great relationship I already had with Deakin. The MBA without a doubt enhanced my career and sent me in a new direction.
I completed 12 subjects for my MBA and specialised in consultancy. During my studies I had the pleasure of meeting with a variety of professionals from different industries and diverse backgrounds. I was also able to maintain a good relationship with my lecturers as they were always there to help. As a fulltime employee I found that the technology used and the flexibility of the course helped me in completing my MBA within a year and half.
Gaining a new perspective
Completing my MBA gave me a different perspective of my career and gave me the courage to leave my full time permanent role of nine years and pursue my career as a consultant. With my educational background and past experience, I was able to secure roles within two other leading financial institutions. After working for a couple of years in different organisations, the exposure, experience and knowledge I gained helped me once again to secure a permanent full time role at the same organisation where I started.
Whilst doing my MBA I also signed up to mentor a group of six undergraduates who were working on an innovation project as part of a competition conducted by Deakin. We won, and I was very fortunate to guide a group of young talented individuals. I have also participated in various activities that add value to the MBA as well as Deakin. I am invited to be a part of a panel that reviews courses under the MBA banner and this review happens every five years. I have also started my own consultancy company.
I left my home, my country pursuing greener pastures and I am so glad I selected Deakin to be the foundation of my journey. I am also proud to say that my younger brother started his MBA journey at Deakin two months ago as an international student. I am extremely excited for him as Deakin has risen to great heights since my days and keeps evolving and growing, being an integral part of many lives like mine.