You've got to give more than you take

By AnnMaree Murray

Yue Peter Deng's philosophy is, "the best way to create the most happiness is to make most people happy."

It might surprise you to learn that Yue Peter Deng is a third-year Bachelor of Commerce student. On the surface he is a high-achiever on an upward trajectory, look a little deeper and you'll discover a happy, balanced budding philanthropist.

An early start

Deng’s journey at The University of Melbourne began earlier than most. In high school he was accepted into the Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholars Program which supports high-achieving secondary school students, and attended a number of exclusive events on campus.

Transferring from public school to a select-entry secondary school to complete his VCE, Deng's hard work paid off when he was offered a place in the Bachelor of Commerce and received the Commerce Opportunity Bursary, made available through the generous support of an alumnus donor.

Putting in the effort and then getting rewarded for it is a really good feeling. Yue Peter Deng
Yue Peter Deng in Melbourne
Yue Peter Deng in Melbourne

Now in his third year, Deng has an impressive list of highlights, largely through participating in enrichment programs offered by the faculty. Everything from Management Consulting and Case Competitions, to study abroad in London and Singapore. He felt it was important to make the most of every available opportunity, “working very hard is the best way I know to say thank you to my benefactor and acknowledge their contribution," he says, adding, "experiences like the Future Leaders Forum, have taught me to take a wholistic approach to my development in and out of the classroom - to not only have a successful career but to be a good person".

Being fortunate enough to receive a scholarship has taught me the value and importance of giving back. Yue Peter Deng

The Abernethy Scholars Program provides opportunities to network with like-minded students at exclusive events. Deng thrived in this environment, successfully transitioning from finding his feet in first year to being a mentor to new students coming through the program. "It is good to know that others might benefit from my experiences and they will become mentors to the next group of students," he says.

Yue Peter Deng in London
Summer School at London School of Economics

Competing in touch rugby at the 2016 Australian University Games in Perth, is the most "fun" Deng had at university, despite having no previous experience in the sport. "I loved being part of the team," he says. He liked it so much that he was asked to captain the men’s B team at the State Championships in Sale, Victoria. His selection as captain speaks to his teamwork and leadership qualities and Deng admits with a smile that “the best captains are not necessarily the best players”.

When is enough enough?

A non-residential scholarship at Ormond College allowed Deng to engage with the college community through their sporting, social and personal development opportunities. "Interacting with a diverse group of people from around the globe challenged and expanded my world view and I learnt a whole lot more from the experience than I expected," he says.

There was lots to be learnt informally as well.  Deng recalls a conversation over lunch that still resonates with him. "We talked about a study that measured the relationship between income and happiness. The results showed that beyond a certain level of income it does not equate that the more money you have the happier you will be. It got me thinking that defining yourself in terms of a dollar figure really doesn't mean much. When you have enough to look after yourself and your family then the best way to make an impact is to help others. Social values are hard to measure but very important. Helping others to achieve their potential is something I want to do that can't be measured in dollars."

I have been able to have such great experiences because someone else has paid it forward. Now I get the chance to do the same. Yue Peter Deng

What next?

The final chapter in his undergraduate journey finds Deng on exchange at Washington University in St. Louis. “I’m looking forward to spending my final semester of study overseas and immersing myself in college life,” he said before departing for the U.S.

Yue Peter Deng in Yosemite National Park, USA
Hiking in Yosemite National Park CA, USA

Deng has secured a graduate position with EY next year, after completing an internship with them over the summer. "I am looking forward to joining EY and gaining some experience and may consider further study sometime in the future," Deng says.

Whatever he does, it will be with a smile :-)

Yue Peter Deng was offered his place in the Bachelor of Commerce through Access Melbourne, which can offer assistance to eligible students.

Discover more about the range of enrichment programs available through the Bachelor of Commerce.