BusCom x HubSpot: 5 Tips To Take You From Student To Professional

I’m currently writing this from the 4th floor of a warehouse - turned office complex in Boston on my first international business trip. Three weeks into a pretty intense month of training for my new graduate position at HubSpot - a tech company renowned for it’s culture code, for having one of the highest rated CEO’s in the world and for being one of the best places to work, globally.

(Plus they have dog friendly offices. I’ve seriously met a new dog everyday since I’ve started. It’s awesome.)

It was definitely not a clear or a straight path to get here. In fact, trying to get from university student to young, working professional is hard for everyone. The timing for graduate applications is always super inconvenient. If you're applying for Sydney based roles there is usually a bit of travel or Skype involved, and don’t even get me started on the applications, the psych tests and those pre-recorded video interviews.

It’s all worth it in the end, but there are some definite things I wish I had known, or at least figured out a little earlier in the university/grad job game. I hope these tips help you!

1) Balance Study with Experience

If there is one thing that will make your resume stand out to employers more than anything else, it’s experience. In fact, employers see relevant work experience and internships as the most important attribute in evaluating recent graduates. Prior to this role at HubSpot, I was working with a recruitment firm. When graduate roles came across my desk, candidates who had relevant experience always faired better than those who don’t. Even when those with no experience had far better grades.

This is because experience doesn’t just show that you have a practical understanding of your course work, it showcases your interest and the passion you have for your field, your ability to time manage and your ability prioritize. These abilities are hugely important - particularly in the kinds of roles graduates are successful in. More often than not you are working to support a team, or you are working on a ton of projects so your ability to manage time and prioritise will be crucial to securing and thriving in that particular role. There are a ton of different apps, tools and hacks that are focused on how to make you better at time and priority management - For example, I would always populate my calendar with all the daily tasks, reminders and things I’m likely to forget and then color code them. But if that’s not for you, there are tons of other ways! The important thing is to keep which ever way you choose to track your time and your priorities is consistent and easy for you to do!

2) Win the Morning, Win the Day

This concept was introduced to me by Tim Ferriss in his book The Tools Of Titans. It simply means, if you set yourself up for success in the morning, you’re going to have a successful day. Be productive in the morning and you’ll make much more momentum throughout the day. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to set an alarm for 5am and start reading your lecture slides at 5:15... It can be something really simple. Try and get out of bed within the first 5 minutes of when you wake up, then spend the next hour or so getting something done - anything! Get ready, make breakfast, go for a run, read! It doesn’t really matter what you do, so long as you get up and do something. If you nail that first hour of the day, you’ll nail the rest of the day. I promise.

3) Work Smarter, Not Harder

Working smarter, not harder is a lesson that took me at least 2 years of university to figure out. For example, as a student I spent my first 2 years of Uni skipping the “Lecture Aims” slide. Do. Not. Do. That. It’s probably the most important slide there is. It’s an easy and quick way to decipher what you really need to hone in on for study. Essentially, working smart means finding little tricks that add time back into your day, without compromising the quality of the work you produce. Some of the tricks I use are super simple: anything from walking away from my desk and going outside for 10 minutes, using the meditation app headspace and trying to eliminate distractions.  Find what works for you. If you have a day where you say “wow, I was really productive today!” Think about what you did or didn’t do that helped and try to replicate again and again.

4) The Interview: Preparation is Key

So what do you do when you actually get one of these coveted graduate interviews? Preparation is key. All invited graduates will look up the company that your interviewing for, so knowing their 2016 annual profits probably won’t be all that impressive. What will be impressive is your industry knowledge. Companies like Deloitte and PWC often produce industry specific reports that break down the current trends and anticipated future states of almost every industry. Give them a really good read and find a trend that you are particularly passionate about. Articulate your research in your interview - explain why it's relevant to the business and why it’s important to you. This will let them know you know the market they work it and it’s something you are interested in.

Secondly, be able to tell your personal story really well. One stock standard interview question you can expect to hear is “So, tell me about yourself”. The last thing you should say, is “well, I’m a business student.. I study at..” They already know that. Chances are, they have your resume sitting in front of them. Tell them something that they can’t find in your resume. Are you a passionate soccer player? A Swans fan? Theatre enthusiast? Absolutely keep it really professional, but don’t be afraid to show your personality and enthusiasm. These are the things that will stick in their minds long after you leave.

5) What to do once you’ve landed the Job

So now you’ve landed your first grad role! Congrats! Now the work truly begins.. Take the time to learn the business. The best way to do this is to approach people who are in your team, people you report to and people you're inspired by and have a meeting with them. Ask them for half an hour and ask them questions about their story, what is their role? How did they get that role? Why do they like it? What is their “secret sauce”? What advice do they have for you? They’ll appreciate that you appreciate their experience, you’ll learn a whole lot in the process and it shows to your manager that you are taking your role seriously, taking initiative and looking for more opportunities to learn. My second big tip? Book one - on - one meetings with your manager, and/or mentor that can spend time with you on a regular basis. Create a google doc to document any questions, ideas or thoughts you have between meetings and add your manager/mentor to the document. This is a great way to express feelings about your role, hear some feedback, ask questions and to start planning career progression.

The transition to from student to professional is hard. However, there are so many opportunities to learn about your strengths, weaknesses and goals throughout the process that will, in the end, make you a better professional. Hopefully you found value in one of the above!!

Feel free to reach out to me on Linkedin, I’m more than happy to answer more questions or give any advice (also, Hubspot is hiring! So if your looking for a new role, get in touch!). If you want to check out what I’ve been doing during these 3 weeks of training, check out my training project! Essentially we had to create our own business. I founded Capture Tours - a Travel Tours Company aimed at budding photographers wanting to improve their photography while they are travelling- I’m presenting it to our Australian Director of Sales on Monday! (Wish me luck!) 

Your Hire Purpose

How important is your degree when applying for a job? Which jobs are in high demand and what kind of job should you aim for after graduating? How do you impress a potential employer without ‘tooting your own horn’? These are all questions that were answered at BusCom’s latest professional event, ‘Your Hire Purpose’.

On Thursday 11th May, a friendly group of students and professionals alike gathered at the stunning ‘Dash’ co-working space in the busy commercial hot-spot of Charlestown. The impressive setting played the perfect host as attendees enjoyed some light canapes and a warming beverage. After some informal introductions and a wee bit of chit chat, guests were invited to equip themselves with another drink and a pen and paper before making themselves comfortable while our speakers for the night were welcomed.

Newcastle’s very own Michelle Crawford was the first to speak and began by asking the crowd a few questions about what they would like to get out of the night. Michelle is the founder and Chief conversationalist at Being More Human, a HR consulting company who believe that people are a firm’s most precious resource and that a business’ quest for efficiencies must not dilute the value of their human resources. Michelle offered an insight into the world of HR including some helpful tips when looking for a job, “It is much like looking for a man really, before Tinder was available”. Her analogy was continued by stating “some options are not for the long term and are stepping stones to your end goal”. As well as some helpful dating advice, Michelle left the audience with a well-rounded idea on what employers are looking for and how to shape your image to meet their need. With so many students wanting to know more, the audience were asked to hold any more questions until the end.

Guests were then treated to an encapsulating presentation from the delightful Alli Baker. Alli is the CEO and co-founder of Workible – an online platform to link job seekers with job providers. Alli is also involved in the Jobs Agenda – an initiative to unleash the potential of Australia’s workforce by tackling the challenges that hold people back from getting work. Some of the stand out points from Alli’s talk included an insight of what types of jobs are in greatest demand around the Newcastle region and how to find the jobs that will help in the development of your end goal and dream career.

Following Alli’s presentation, the floor was then opened for questions, of which there was no short of supply. Each question became more and more relevant to students nearing graduation and all were pleased by the helpful advice that Alli and Michelle were able to provide.

Guests were incredibly humbled by the presence of two successful women in a growing industry of technological change. BusCom would like to thank both Alli and Michelle for contributing their precious time to share some wisdom at ‘Your Hire Purpose’.

A huge thank you also to ‘Dash’ for hosting our event on Thursday. If you are a small-business owner or looking to begin a start-up, do yourself a favour and check out ‘Dash’ – A functional co-working centre which boasts 450 square metres of innovation-inspiring office space with a range of options available to suit any small business, or innovative purpose.

You can also browse the photos from ‘Your Hire Purpose’ on BusCom’s facebook page!

The BusCom Ball – A Night to Remember

Well, what a night! The festivities kicked off at around 5pm when those dedicated enough arrived for those special sunset photos overlooking Merewether beach. It wasn’t until around 6pm that the masses began to arrive as the sun set, hand in hand, looking as fine as James Bond and Octopussy themselves.

Upon entering the Merewether Surfhouse, it was like walking into a scene right out of Casino Royale, with casino chips littering the tables and a roulette wheel against the far wall. Guests began to drink and laugh, and before we knew it, entrees were lining the tables.

As the night progressed, so did the good times. People flocked to the dedicated photo-booth using all the props they could find, while others put it all on red at the roulette table. I think most of us are glad they were fake chips!

Mains and desert came and went and with them a few more beverages, before the DJ began to turn up the heat. Before long we were wishing we’d provided a bigger dance floor as 100+ people gained the confidence to get down and boogie.

In what seemed like only a matter of minutes the clock struck eleven and the beer taps were turned off. But that didn’t stop the crowd!

The DJ kept the bangers flowing and the party continued right up to the chime of 11:30pm. By this stage there were 190 sad faces with no one wanting the night to end. And why would you? Good tunes, good vibes and good friends all celebrating that (questionably) hard work we do called university.

Thank you to all that attended such a special night this year, with a special thanks to Jordyn – our Exec Director of Social Events – for almost singlehandedly making this event possible. We hope to see you all again next year!

Managing Partnerships & Athletes

Wow! What an evening. In partnership with The Hunter Young Professionals, UoN BusCom were delighted to introduce attendees to the world of sport and management of professional athletes. Over 80 guests enjoyed a glass of wine and a beer in the Kotara-room corporate box at McDonald Jones Stadium where Mr Darren Rankine, Partner at Sparke Helmore “kicked us off”, by explaining to guests how as a community we can achieve great feats through collaboration. Mr Rankine described how and why Sparke Helmore sponsor organisations and how this sponsorship supports community development. Mr Rankine also touched on the fact that this development model is required in the management of professional athletes. Seconding that was Dr Paul Stolk, lead academic in Sports Management studies at the University of Newcastle. Through his research and teaching, Dr Stolk has built successful connections between students and the local and international sporting community. Dr Stolk was present at the Hunter Coast Regional Experience and echoed the previous event’s catch phrase that along with tourism, sport is also everyone’s business.


Our first speaker for the evening was Newcastle Jet’s CEO, Lawrie McKinna, who is currently recovering from recent surgeries relating to his days playing professional football in Scotland. Lawrie immediately filled the room with a tangible warmth and soon had the crowd in stitches. Mr McKinna shared his experiences relating to the international world of sport, both from a personal, business and community perspective. CEO of Northern NSW Football, David Eland, took the stage as Mr McKinna was ushered out the door with a bottle of wine in his walker basket. Mr Eland educated attendees on the competitive and multidisciplinary nature of the sporting world, challenging attendees to pursue careers and positons outside their comfort zones and skill sets.


Kick off!


The Jets v Wanderers match was underway. Not before guests had been given the opportunity to grab some food and top up at the bar! At half time guests were treated to a talk by ex A-League Jets player, Joel Griffiths. Mr Griffiths gave a thoroughly entertaining overview of his career and how sport has shaped the person he has become. Finally, guests enjoyed the second half of the game, despite the full-time result.


A huge thank you to our sponsors for the evening: Sparke Helmore and the University of Newcastle Faculty of Business and Law. Thank also to the Hunter Young Professionals for collaborating with us on this event – hopefully we can do it all again next year!


If you missed this event, our next professional event is “Your Hire Purpose” at DASH Co-work in Charlestown on the 11th of May. We also have the UoN BusCom Ball coming up on the 28th of April, make sure to purchase your tickets at uonbuscom.com! 

Hunter Coast Regional Experience


What an INCREDIBLE evening! On Thursday the 16th of March, BusCom held their first ever tourism event – The Hunter Coast Regional Experience. We took a huge punt on the weather and it certainly paid off! Guests arrived and enjoyed a glass of local wine and canapes before taking their seats in the outside courtyard of the historic Fort Scratchley barracks. Our MC for the evening, Matt Anderson – General Manager of Newcastle Crowne Plaza, invited University of Newcastle Pro-Vice Chancellor, Professor Kevin Lyons to the stand to say a few words before introducing Doctor Tamara Young – Senior Lecturer in Tourism at the University of Newcastle, Tim Askew – City Revitalisation Coordinator at Newcastle City Council, and Will Creedon – local tourism and hospitality advocate. Dr Young explained the concept of tourism and the future of tourism in the Hunter region; Mr. Askew presented an update on Newcastle Council’s visitor services and Smart City initiatives; and Mr. Creedon provided an insight into the transformation of a destination. Our speakers were able share different viewpoints from an academic, government and professional perspective, however, they all touched on the important notion that tourism is everybody’s business.

Following our three speakers, a panel of four, involving David Fellows – incoming Chairman of Sydney Surrounds North Destination Network, David Brown – Business Development Officer at Port of Newcastle and incoming Chairman of Newcastle Tourism Industry Group, Peter Cock – CEO of Newcastle Airport, and Will Creedon, took questions from the floor. Guests were interested to know the positive and negative impacts of tourism on the Hunter region, particularly in relation to the upcoming V8 Supercars and international expansion plans for Newcastle Airport. Panelists were excited about the overall prospects of tourism in the Hunter region and supported the local council’s Smart City initiatives.

Matt Anderson officially wrapped up proceedings before our special guests and speakers were presented with gifts, generously donated by local winemaker, Draytons. Guests replenished their glasses at the bar before spending the rest of the evening chatting and networking with fellow attendees.

A huge thank you to our sponsors – Port of Newcastle, Newcastle City Council and the University of Newcastle Faculty of Business and Law; Stuart Ford from Fordtronic Video and Sound for providing and managing the audio and visual components, MC Matt Anderson, photographer Jackson Brunner, Blue Star catering, our speakers, special guests and attendees for your involvement

Didn’t get to go? You definitely missed out, but that’s ok, there are still more awesome events coming up.

Stay tuned…

Women in Business Breakfast

Wow, what a morning!

On Friday the 21st of October 2016, BusCom held its second annual Women In Business Breakfast event where two professional entrepreneurs spoke about the challenges of working life to a sold out audience of over 75 students. The morning began at 7am with a cup of coffee and a beautiful early morning sun rising over the Newcastle Harbour. Marina View Function Centre was an ideal location for the event, boasting a stunning outlook over the Port of Newcastle Marina.

As formalities ensued, Founder and Director of Fresh Marketing Sarah Dennis spoke about her early career and how she has thrived as a novocastrian entrepreneur. Following her presentation (and smashed avo for breakfast), Senior Human Resources Executive and Principal of Productivity Through Leadership, Maree Slater brought yet more interesting insights of her career to the table. One particular note that out of her presentation was that we as young professionals should never feel awful for not always knowing the way to solve a particular problem, or better yet; to have the confidence to admit it! In her words, ‘never be sorry for asking a question’, for without the learning process how can we begin to become proficient?

As the morning wrapped up, many stayed to enjoy the last of the early morning sun while others rushed off to jobs. Yet another cup of coffee saw most people off to another stressful day at uni, but not without a new perspective on how to approach their professional self.

Thank you to both Sarah & Maree for sharing their experiences, and thank you to Heidi Kelly & the other BusCom board members that brought this event to our members. Be sure to look out for us again this time next year!