What did you study at the undergraduate level and when did you graduate? What are you studying now? Are you studying and working at the same time?
I'm an aeronautical engineer. I studied mechanical engineering and aeronautical engineering at the undergraduate level and a masters in project management at the postgraduate level. I graduated from JCU in 2000, RMIT in 2006 and UNSW in 2012. I'm not studying anything now, am working full time but thinking about studying again.
Secondary school was definitely more important than primary school as it helped me get into university. My experience at the undergraduate level was definitely not taken as seriously as my postgraduate study. Experience in a number of different roles including a deployment overseas with the army gave me great experience and further knowledge. My time leaving the army working as a project manager gave me much further experience and appreciation of work-life balance.
I came back into the army recently after 6 years working in civilian life. I approached a friend to see if there was work first as a reservist and then I applied to come back full time, which I've been doing for the last 15 months.
What made you decide to progress with further study?
I wasn't sure what I wanted to do out of high school but did very well and wanted a good job so it was suggested by my parents that I study engineering. Being in the army they offer a lot of further studies which they can pay for which was very appealing for me to further my knowledge.
I was always more interested in managing projects than actual engineering so when I saw the chance to further my study in this it very much appealed to me. I considered a masters in business but thought project management more aligned to my previous study and what I wanted to do in the future.
I had to apply through defence funding and get my chain of commands approval before undertaking it. The prerequisites were an undergraduate degree in a similar field. I had to prove to my supervisor that I wanted to do the study and that it wouldn't affect my job performance and I would be able to successfully complete it.
Not currently studying at the moment but a typical day consisted of researching what was required and having a look at the requirements of the assignment. I tried to do most of this whilst I was at work however there were times when extra work was required from home after hours.
Will this course be beneficial in your career? Where could you or others in your position go from here? Please explain your answer.
Yes it has been beneficial. It got me roles outside the army as a project engineer and project manager. It is beneficial to further army roles and also in life in general in regards to budgeting and planning. It could help me go further as a program manager also later on.
In gets me to know more about engineering and projects and helps me to understand what is required to manage a project successfully. I enjoy the budgeting side of things and learning how to make the most profit available for the project. I like learning and getting further knowledge of topics.
Having to study outside hours and the pressure of completing assignments. The extra time involved can be tough at times and also sometimes you're not sure that it is actually helping or getting you towards where you want to go. I'm not a fan of sitting exams either although there aren't many on the course.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current undergraduate student? They don’t necessarily have to be related to your studies, or even to one’s professional life.