Solving Problems with Nikko Riazi

By Seth Robinson

Nikko Riazi wants a career that tackles the big problems. Now, she’s on the way as a BCom and French Student, and a Global Voices Scholar.

Nikko Riazi came to the University of Melbourne eager to learn and develop a skillset that would allow her to take on major, global challenges in her career. This desire led her to the Bachelor of Commerce, with a focus on Finance and Economics, and a concurrent diploma in French.

‘I knew I really liked solving problems, and I really liked the economics subjects I took in high school, so that was my jumping off point. Once I got into the degree, I realised that this was the kind of knowledge I could use to help people and tackle those major challenges we all face in society. I have a very logical and numerical kind of brain, so Finance and Economics worked really well as a vehicle for me to do this, where I can address issues A, B, and C in a logical order,’ says Nikko.

Nikko Riazi
BCom student Nikko Riazi.

‘I think the Diploma in French has added to that as well, as it’s another way to use my brain. I also think it’s really important to be socially and culturally aware, and having another language under your belt is a great asset in thinking about your career.’

Nikko has been selected as a Global Voices Scholar for 2021, and has just returned from a briefing in Canberra, where she was able to connect with high level officials and politicians. She’ll also be joining this year’s OECD conference online.

‘It was a hectic three days. We met lots of different politicians, diplomats, consultants and think tank representatives. It was essentially a crash course in a very broad spectrum of current global and economic issues. One take away I had in particular, is that with the current climate every country is in a very different place. If you look at Australia, you could say we’re in a period of recovery, whereas countries such as the United States are still coming to grips with their present stages of the pandemic. It made speaking with people, and understanding their perspectives at this time particularly interesting. I’m looking forward to attending the OECD forum online as well, it’s going to be an incredible experience, however I think I’m going to need to prepare myself for some late nights. It’s going to be in Paris this year, so I’ll be dealing with the time difference and meeting with these dignitaries by Zoom at 3 am.’

Now, Nikko is working on her research project, a unique area of interest she pitched as part of her Global Voices application.

‘I’m really interested in addressing youth unemployment, which is still exceptionally high in Australia, about double the normal national unemployment rate, and much higher than the OECD average. I’m exploring how we could restructure work experience programs in high school, to give students an opportunity to not only zero in on what they want to do, but start developing work-ready skills and build professional networks. There are examples of programs in Europe where students complete 300 hours of work experience in years 11 and 12, which far exceeds anything we have here. I want to see what it would take to implement a model like that in Australia, from a policy perspective, and give students that kind of opportunity to learn in that professional setting.’

The Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) equips students with the skills and knowledge to understand and solve key business challenges. Make a difference to society, policy, and organisations while forging a pathway to a global career. Choose from majors including Accounting, Actuarial Studies, Economics, Finance, Management and Marketing.

Find out more about the Bachelor of Commerce now.

Nikko isn’t exactly sure what the future holds for her upon graduation, perhaps an application to Melbourne’s Juris Doctor (JD) program, or a graduate role with the Australian Public Service, but no matter where she goes, she wants to continue thinking about policy solutions to our generation’s greatest challenges.