From Uni to the World of CX: Lessons Learned and Golden Nuggets of Advice.
It recently dawned on me that I’ve been out of uni for two years now. This was a scary reminder of how time flies, and as good a reason as any to write my first blog at Customer Science Group.
In 2021 I concluded my studies at the University of Technology Sydney, where I graduated with a Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation and a Bachelor of Business. I met some great people along the way and was even lucky enough to study abroad in Auroville, India (look it up, awesome place). Towards the last two years of study, the remaining subjects for completion in my handbook quickly dwindled and I started thinking about career steps.
When I look back on what I loved doing the most at uni, it was the project sprints with real industry partners that mattered most to me. It was my first exposure to the world of problem spaces I knew that I wanted to do something in this space after graduating. I began an internship with a medium-sized consulting company in 2021 and was quickly provided with opportunities to grow and put my preconceived ideas of consulting to the test. I assumed that consulting would be more of a solitary role than it is, when in reality it is full of collaborative ideation, brainstorming sessions and sticky notes. My first few months in the industry felt a lot like uni in this sense, just without the trackies and dodgy dumplings.
Another learning curve was the shift from industry partners to real clients. A barrier I had to overcome was that the safety net of being a student talking to an industry partner or tutor flies out the window the moment your name ends up on a real proposal. I quickly found myself face-to-face with some important people from some big organisations, and as a recent graduate, this was admittedly intimidating. I was able to overcome this with the support of my colleagues and by leveraging my communication and stakeholder management skills obtained from uni.
If I had to give any golden nuggets of advice to my “younger self” or people in a similar position kicking off their career, it would be the following:
- Ask Questions: You’re in a window where you’re uniquely placed to be able to offer genuine value from your recent studies, but also hound those around you with questions and curiosities. There’s no expectation that you come to the role knowing everything.
- Observe and learn from those around you: One of the coolest things about the professional services industry and something I still find fascinating is the breadth of experience that my colleagues bring to the table. Everybody has a unique professional background and pathway that they’ve taken to get to where they are today. They are more than happy to provide their expertise when it comes to cross-skilling and advice. For me, this isn’t only an opportunity to learn from some awesome people, but a nice glimpse into the pivoting and randomness that can occur along a career path.
- Back yourself: Override that little voice in your head that might be giving way to your impostor syndrome – you’ll be entering the workforce with years of education and diverse experiences behind you. The people around you will have your back too, and this is one of my favourite things about working in a supportive team.
- Bring your skills and personality into the team: I introduced a weekly trivia tournament to our organisation. Everybody loves trivia.
The path from university to the workforce has been a challenging and exciting one filled with valuable lessons, and I’m still very much on this journey and learning every day. I have found my organisation to be extremely supportive of my growth and career path and it’s this sort of backing that everybody should be looking for when beginning their career.
Written by Aaron Kostantakis