MBS Graduate Rachel Rafael on how her experiences here have shaped her to take on a solar-powered music festival, prepared her for success at landing a graduate role at software applications giant SAP SE, and the Imposter Syndrome trap.
As one of the largest enterprise applications software companies in the world, SAP SE’s vision is to change the world and enhance people's lives by solving complex problems with simple and intuitive solutions. Recent Melbourne Business School graduate Rachel Rafael will soon be joining them as a Graduate Account Executive Associate, following the completion of her Master of Management (Marketing) at Melbourne Business School. She is excited about the opportunities ahead of her in SAP SE’s outstanding graduate program, and being part of a multinational organisation that embodies two qualities she holds dear: simplicity and adaptability.
Her journey so far has been a collection of multifarious experiences: she started her university years majoring in creative writing, before moving on to complete her Masters at MBS and spending her final semester at Copenhagen Business School, where she shifted the focus to explore entrepreneurship, neurolinguistics and improvised theatre. She then helped to launch the inaugural OFFtheGRID festival (a fully solar-powered music festival) in December 2015, before taking time off to travel in the lead-up to her commencing graduate position.
Rachel graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Creative Writing) at the University of Melbourne, and still calls writing her lifelong passion. She credits her former studies at MBS for preparing her for her upcoming role, and shares her experience and future plans with us here.
We take the world around us for granted, often not realising the genius that lies behind everyday interactions with businesses, organisations and institutions. I'm excited to be part of a company that is literally changing the world, simplifying and improving human lives. Rachel Rafael
Rachel with FBE Young Alumni Committee Member, Sunny Chow, at the MBS Graduation Dinner, 2015
Tell us about your student experience at the Melbourne Business School
I treasure the time I spent at MBS. My expectations were high and they were exceeded. My time at MBS carried me through a critical point in my life, enabling me to make better and more informed decisions about my future. The facilities were outstanding and accessible. My professors were experienced, deeply engaging and generous with their time. The curriculum was intense and rewarding and I was motivated to challenge myself and develop my skills. There was a wealth of extracurricular activities to become involved in. Networking and internship opportunities were frequently available. My peers – the most enriching feature of the MBS experience – were intelligent, friendly and diverse. I developed strong and meaningful relationships with many classmates, which will no doubt grow into lifelong friendships.
How has your degree shaped you as a young adult?
MBS refuelled my intellectual capabilities, broadened my global perspective and exposed me to leading insights and best practices from a wide range of industries globally. It opened entire new disciplines and revealed that I am capable of learning and understanding new information at an accelerated pace – a critical skill in our day and age.
I gained immensely from the discussion-based learning and team projects, which, while at times chaotic, provided an accurate representation of and effective preparation for working life.
You were recently highly involved in the inaugural OFFtheGRID music festival. Can you tell us how this came to be?
While I was enjoying my break between completing my studies and commencing my graduate position, I was approached by a friend who thought I might be interested in some project work for a social cause. I met Eyal Halamish, founder of OFFtheGRID, and was inspired by his mission to help Australia become a leader in sustainable practice and renewable energy. OFFtheGRID was Australia’s first solar powered, zero waste music festival, held here in Melbourne in December 2015. All the profits from the event are directed toward building a renewable energy project in the city. OFFtheGRID has big ambitions to become an annual and national festival attracting incredible artists and performers, progressive partners and most importantly, innovative young thought leaders. It would be my delight to be involved in future events and help realise the mission!
OFFtheGRID Festival, Melbourne
How did your degree contribute to your work at OFFtheGRID?
As OFFtheGRID’s sponsorship manager, I was responsible for developing strategic partnerships with a curated collection of innovative and socially-driven organisations who are committed to sustaining and protecting the planet’s resources. My degree helped to refine my professional vocabulary, interpersonal skills, adaptability and understanding of business situations. It also provided me with an invaluable network of young professionals who believe that social value and life quality can and should go hand in hand. This gave me the confidence and ability to approach multiple organisations and get them involved with OFFtheGRID.
What are your next steps now that you have graduated?
In April, I will be commencing my role as an Account Executive Associate at SAP SE. The first year will involve several months of intense, collaborative training in California and on-the-job learning and mentorship in Melbourne. The recruitment process for the job included an application, phone interview and group assessment day. Interestingly, I believe that the collaborative group work and discussion-based learning at MBS greatly contributed to my success at the assessment day. Group work helps exercise creative powers and brainstorming abilities, teamwork and leadership skills, active and non-judgmental listening (a true superpower) and empathy.
What are some of your passions or hobbies?
I adore sport and art – both watching and doing. I train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at the Carlson Gracie Academy in Melbourne, which provides the ideal blend of physical exercise, self defense skills, philosophy and endorphins. I also love to run, practice yoga – and this summer I am learning how to surf. I am a big fan of improvised theatre, comedy, music and film. When I have the time and am feeling creative, I also enjoy painting and photography. My lifelong passion, however, will always be writing.
Do you have any words of advice for our future students?
Don’t get caught up in the Imposter Syndrome trap. Everyone seems a lot smarter and put together than they really are. Learn how to trust yourself, your abilities and your potential. Be proactive and learn outside the curriculum. Speak up. Ask for things. Be unapologetic. Listen to people. Accept compliments and accept help.