What is it that goes into choosing the place you want to live, work, and study? When you’ve been all around the world, what makes one destination stand out above another? How does a place keep you rooted, when your feet start to itch? For globetrotter Shivani Shah, it was the University of Melbourne, and the opportunities that came with the Master of Management (Finance).
Shivani’s a little late to our meeting, which is fine, because she’s also sent me an e-mail with a very exact heads-up: “Sorry, slightly delayed, I’ll be there in seven minutes”. It’s the “seven minutes” that resonates for me, I would’ve been happy with the suggestion of five, but I suppose in the world of finance consulting, there’s a big difference between a five and a seven. When she arrives – exactly seven minutes later – we get right down to business, Shivani is on her way to work, and she has a story to tell.
“I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Mumbai. When I finished there, I knew I wanted to go on and continue to expand my knowledge. I travelled quite a lot with my parents when I was younger, so I was fortunate enough to have had the chance to scout places. I knew what I was looking for. I wanted to go overseas, so I did my research and came up with a list of universities I would be interested in. Apart from being a reputed university, diversity and course content were very important factors. I’m a big foodie, so there had to be good food, especially ice cream and coffee, and I had to like the culture, the weather, the essentials. But the thing that ultimately attracted me to the University of Melbourne was the Master of Management course itself, and the flexibility it offers.”
According to Shivani, the duration of the Master of Management is what sets it apart from its international counterparts; being two years in length as opposed to one. For her, this offered the chance to become immersed in a program where she could not only learn new skills, but put them into practice.
“I had done a little bit of finance during my undergraduate degree, and I wanted to broaden my knowledge in that field, but I was also very much interested in the management side of things. When I found out about the Master of Management course, it was a perfect match and I just thought ‘I would love to do this’. I started out in the Master of Management (Accounting and Finance), but after a semester I realised that I wanted to do more of those management electives that would increase my business acumen, so I switched to straight finance."
The Master of Management (Finance) equips students with the skills they need to enter the world of finance, building on a strong foundation of business acumen. The degree offers training in areas such as financial and investment management, derivative securities and corporate financial policy.
Amongst the electives that came with that change, was the opportunity for Shivani to enrol in the Global Business Practicum (GBP). Shivani was part of the first GBP cohort to travel to London.
“We were given the opportunity to work with Unilever, in London. It was one of the best experiences of my time at university, incredibly practical, and so intensive. It also gave me a chance to really bond with the students I travelled with, we were staying together, working together, experiencing all of this, together,” she says. “We were working on a strategy based project, developing an understanding of Unilever’s place within the market, and what their competitors were doing. My GBP experience left me feeling confident about the immediate value I could bring to my future employees. It was the first project in my consulting career.”
The first of what is sure to be many. Since graduating, Shivani has joined BDA Marketing Planning, a business planning consultancy that provides integrated demand information to help companies grow.
“I’ve been there for around a month. So far, it’s been a learning curve, about our different clients, their needs, and understanding the company itself. Every consulting organisation has different approaches, different methodologies and ways of tackling different problems, so I’m learning and understanding those things. I love it so far, it being a boutique company, you meet and interact with everyone, which allows me to learn from the most experienced and skilled professionals. It has given me an opportunity to take on greater responsibility alongside expanding my knowledge and expertise in the consulting field. It’s non-stop, but it’s the kind of role I can learn from, and continue to grow.”
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