From School to the Zoo

By Seth Robinson

Sometimes a moment comes when you realise it’s time to shift focus, whether that’s in your career, personal life or studies, these shifts are always a challenge. For Cici Liu, the decision to change career paths brought her to Melbourne, and eventually, to the Business Practicum at the Melbourne Zoo.

Cici Liu travelled from her home in China to California, where completed her undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley. There, she majored in nutritional science, but as she neared the end of her degree, Cici decided a career as a nutritionist wasn’t the right fit for her.

‘Food is a very personal thing, and often it’s really closely tied to someone’s culture. I think something that came from me leaving China and moving to the United States for study was that I developed a bit of a Third Culture Kid Identity, and I didn’t feel like I wanted to be someone that was encroaching on that cultural side of things. We also spent some time discussing what the realities of working as a nutritionist or a dietician were, and I decided I didn’t really like any of those options. I didn’t want to work in a hospital, or spend time trying to persuade others to change their habits.’

With that in mind Cici shifted her focus for the last year of her undergrad and used it as an opportunity to gain some pre-requisite experience that would help her pursue post-graduate business studies.

Girl at Zoo
Cici Liu

‘I decided to pursue the Master of Management (Accounting), because I felt like with the experience I had, I’d be able to transition into that relatively well, and accounting opens up a lot of career options. I was glad I’d had that international experience in the States already, because it meant when I came here I was able to find the rhythm, and adjust to the new learning style quite quickly. It’s been a very different experience again, but it’s been an incredible opportunity to come and meet new people, learn new skills, and explore the Southern Hemisphere.’

A highlight of Cici’s experience was the Business Practicum subject she completed earlier this year, which saw her and a team of her peers tackle a real-world business problem for Zoos Victoria.

‘The project we worked on for Zoos Victoria was basically broken up into two tasks. The first was looking at workflow, which involved us looking at their processes and the systems they had in place. We ended up building six flowcharts and designing new processes, which meant I got to put some skills into practice I’d just learnt in class. The second part involved looking at the way they manage their invoices. They were still using paper copies for most things, so we researched new electronic management systems, and provided recommendations for automating the payment cycle,’ she says. ‘It’s interesting, because these are the sorts of issues all businesses deal with at one time or another. The Business Practicum gave us this really practical, real-world experience that we can take out into the market once we graduate.’

Now, as she nears the end of her studies Cici is thinking about the next step. With a return to China on the horizon, she is exploring industries where her accounting skills will open up opportunities.

The Master of Management (Accounting) equips students with the skills they need to be leaders in technology, data analysis and accounting systems to develop and communicate fundamental insights that add value to firms and organizations. The skills that you will learn in the Master of Management (Accounting) include applied software skills and the latest data analysis techniques to enable identification of the key drivers of business profitability.

Find out more about the Master of Management (Accounting) here.