Last Wednesday we launched our very first BizTech Meetup event at the Otago Polytechnic Auckland International Campus (OPAIC). Featuring four industry speakers, the purpose of the event was to share technology insights from a business, academic and recruitment perspective. The speakers also shared their career journeys and were candid about what worked and what didn’t work for them.
More than just being an attentive audience, the students had an opportunity to mingle and network with the guests, staff, and their fellow classmates. It was a deliberate move to factor in these opportunities, as it is inherently important for students to effectively to communicate with others in social and professional settings. Graduates who are highly employable have the confidence, social etiquette and nous to positively present themselves to others.
Our panelists featured:
Dr Mahsa Mohaghegh, She# Founder/ Lecturer – School of Engineering, Computer & Mathematical Sciences at AUT.
Timothy Bonalos, Marketing Manager at FDG – Fasteners Direct Global LTD.
Ariff Khalid, Internship & Workplace Experience Consultant, Otago Polytechnic.
Dasham Bedi, Talent Matchmaker for the NZ branch of the Fortune 500 company, Deloitte.
Here are some of the key messages from the discussion:
- Embrace failure and try again. When she first arrived in NZ, Mahsa was rejected for 2 scholarships but was successful a third time. She went on to be nominated for the New Zealander of the Year Award in both 2018 and 2019!
- Avoid a scatter-gun approach. Tim is originally from the Philippines and he applied for many jobs online when he came to NZ. He advised it is much more effective to carefully research roles of interest, and to ensure your CV and application is tailored to suit.
- Connect and grow your confidence. All the speakers agreed that attending networking and social events is important for building potential opportunities. Dash says events like ‘LinkedIn Local’ and ‘Ask a Recruiter’ are a great way to meet people from industry first-hand.
- Manage your expectations. Ariff has studied and worked in numerous countries and he says to be realistic about navigating opportunities in NZ. Do not expect to walk straight into your dream job, or to be able to do the same level of work you did back home. Start small and appreciate all opportunities.
- Nurture an interest or passion. With a strong interest in technology, Mahsa developed a passion for encouraging young women to engage in the IT sector. She initially formed the group ‘GirlGeek’, then went on to create the collaborative initiative She# where the mantra ‘We can change things; if we work together’ is a key focal point.
- Qualifications are flexible. As an IT graduate from OPAIC, Tim originally began with a digital design role, but progressed to become a Marketing Manager for the same company. He said he didn’t expect this to happen, but found his skills and experience allowed him to flex and develop into new and exciting areas.
- Know your evidence. In a competitive job market, it is important to know what makes you stand out from others. Ariff says it’s good to reflect on your projects and assignments so you can readily articulate and recall the positive outcomes from them.
- Internships are useful. Dash says internships are a great way to learn and understand a new role or industry. The employer knows you are in a learning phase and will not expect you to be an instant expert.
If you are interested in contributing to a future BizTech event, then please get in touch with me.
Here’s to many more successful BizTech events to come!