A Commerce Homecoming

By Seth Robinson

Millie Ribeiro was born in Melbourne, but a childhood spent overseas and attending international schools meant she never felt particularly connected to the city. When it came time to pursue her undergraduate studies, Melbourne called, and Millie decided it was time reconnect with her Australian Identity.

When I first met Millie, I made the mistake of assuming she was American, because of her accent. She met this with a knowing smile and a nod, then gracefully corrected me with the practiced response of someone who’s had this conversation many times before.

‘During my first semester, I think someone would ask me if I was on exchange from the States at least once a week. Actually, I was born here, in Melbourne, but we left when I was four. My dad was an expat, so we moved to Singapore, where we lived until I was nine, then to Thailand. I lived there until I graduated from high school. I did all of my schooling overseas. I loved living overseas, but it meant I didn’t really feel Australian, or have a connection here. My brother had come back previously to attend boarding school, and I decided that I wanted to come home for university.’

Millie decided to pursue her interests in marketing, exploring different course options, before deciding to pursue the Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne. She applied to International House, which became her home for the next two years.

Millie Ribeiro
Millie Ribeiro.

‘Living at International House was amazing. I met so many people with similar stories to mine, and it was a chance to make friends from around the world, places like the Philippines and Indonesia, as well as from Australia. The latter have taken me up and down the east coast, and we’ve explored a lot of Australia together visiting their hometowns.’

The BCom has given Millie the opportunity to dive deep into her passion for marketing, as well as giving her a taste of the broader range of commerce subjects.

‘I really enjoy HR classes, we did a few of those. I’ve also taken Advertising and Promotions, and the core business subjects, like Micro and Macro Economics, Finance, and Accounting. At the moment I’m taking Digital Marketing, which is probably the subject I’ve enjoyed the most. It’s also coupled really well with an internship I’m doing through the Students at Work program,’ she says.

‘I’ve been placed with the University’s Social Media Team since April, which has been an incredible opportunity. They’ve been fantastic when it comes to identifying and developing skills I want to learn, things like Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), scheduling social media campaigns, reporting and analytics. I get to learn a lot by doing. There’s a whole new perspective when you’re working with social media from the business side. It goes beyond the social natives who know how to Instagram and use a hashtag, into understanding things like tone, the nature of message, and the way it’s received.’

Now in the final semester of what has been a very well-rounded university experience, Millie is thinking about what comes next after graduation.

‘First, I’m going to take a couple of months to travel and go visit some friends overseas, then I’d like to come back and continue working in the digital marketing space. I never considered myself a particularly “techy” person before, but as I’ve gone through my studies and had these experiences, I’ve realised how much I like it. It’s also the way the world is going. I’ve loved working for the University, so I’d be open to something like that, or maybe working for a creative agency.’