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Postgraduate study at UNSW opens new doors for high achievers

For those looking to get their career on track, UNSW is the destination of choice. Postgraduates are also finding the benefits of study are far greater than simply a career stepping stone.

Educated during the tumultuous years following East Timor’s birth, Felisbela Do Rosario Guterres will return home at the end of the year armed with the knowledge and networks she gained at the University of New South Wales (UNSW). She will contribute to better environmental management as her country develops.

“I have a passion for the environment, but in the last decade, due to civil wars, a large proportion of East Timor’s priority was focusing on looking after the security issues. Environmental issues were not in the highest priority. Now the situation is getting better and we are focusing more on actual physical development and increasing people’s wellbeing. In order for East Timor to be successful in its development, this is a critical area,” she says.

Felisbela was awarded an AusAID scholarship to undertake postgraduate studies and chose UNSW for its high reputation.

During her Master of Environmental Management at UNSW, she won a Prime Minister’s Pacific-Australia Award in recognition of her leadership potential. She plans to use the award to gain experience in environmental auditing, before returning home to oversee the management of pollution, waste and water quality.

On track to a fulfilling career
Up to 13% of international students who have completed an undergraduate degree at UNSW return to UNSW for their postgraduate studies, sometimes after first spending time in the workforce, says Aleksandr Voninski, Executive Director of UNSW International.

“Students realise after a certain point of being in the workforce that they need to up-skill or refine their knowledge base into something a bit more niche and specific,” he says.

“They know from their earlier experience at UNSW that it offers fantastic opportunities for them in terms of graduate outcomes, and by returning to study they can take their earning potential and happiness to the next level.”

A diverse mix of students from more than 120 countries also provides the opportunity for leaders to extend their networks.

“I love this course, but for me the best things about my study here aren’t just what I’m learning in the classroom – it’s also about the opportunities UNSW provides for networking and communication,” says Felisbela.

UNSW postgraduates also improve their employment potential. In fact, Australian-based UNSW graduates enjoy Australia’s highest median starting salaries, according to the 2012 Australian Graduate Survey.

More than just a stepping stone
Behrang Javerian chose UNSW for his postgraduate studies because it had Australia’s highest ranking in computer science. A graduate in telecommunication engineering from Amirkabir University of Technology in Tehran, Behrang was already working in IT as a software and Java developer and wanted to underscore his years of practical experience with an academic qualification.

The decision paid off, and since he graduated in 2006 with a Master of Computer Science he landed a job as a solution architect for one of Australia’s major media companies, Fairfax.

“Studying at UNSW meant I had a degree from Australia and the knowledge I needed to get the job,” he says.

Sometimes, however, a postgraduate degree offers more than a stepping stone to a better job. Annette Slunjski fell in love with marketing during her undergraduate degree at UNSW more than 20 years ago – and after several decades in marketing for technology companies she chose to come back to the university to complete a master’s degree.

“I was 34, my career was travelling fine, but I just had this hunger to know more,” says Annette, who is currently the principal at Lucidity Marketing Communications, a B2B consultancy.

“I knew the quality of the qualification from UNSW would carry weight, but also it was refreshing because it was flexible and you could plan the study around your life. The lovely thing at the master’s level was the teaching staff were collegiate, it was like they were mentoring you rather than teaching students. It was exactly the sort of mental nurturing I was seeking.”

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