Armed with their laptops, four MBS Students brave the London tube on a grey winter morning. This is nothing unusual for many university students across London, however, these four students are enrolled in a subject that is a far cry from the usual. These four Masters students from the University of Melbourne are completing the Global Business Practicum, an experiential learning subject that has brought them 16,891 kilometres from their home campus in Australia to experience a snapshot of professional life in London.

For Issy Tobin, Iris Xia, Yolanda Han, and Irfan Fadhiel, the Global Business Practicum was a chance to immerse themselves in the day-to-day activities of National Australia Bank’s London office. The importance of experiential learning opportunities for university students is well documented, and increasingly expected as a part of a well-rounded business education. Students relish the opportunity to experience concepts first hand and gain a more meaningful understanding of how classroom theory applies in the real world.

“The Global Business Practicum provided first-hand business experience that has enhanced my confidence in being able to take on the professional workplace environment. The level of autonomy we were afforded forced us to take initiative and rely on our own knowledge and skills to solve a real-life business challenge. It was a wonderful opportunity to apply skills acquired through our tertiary studies to a real business environment.” says Issy.

Aside from academic content, the subject provides students with an opportunity to demonstrate employability skills that are transferable across industries, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, and global citizenship, all of which are widely acknowledged as sought after graduate attributes. For GBP participant Irfan these skills were a tangible takeaway from his experience.

“From the get go, it was very clear that the Global Business Practicum set a different standard to what we’re used to at university. A challenging task awaited us; not just any task, but a task with professional expectations to work on a real business issue. That is a differentiating source of value that I expressly felt compared to the average subject or a group project. I greatly appreciate the opportunity provided by National Australia Bank London, for I have become a better student, a more experienced professional, or soon to be, and a more employable individual having experienced a diverse set of professional cultures from a global workplace.”  –  Irfan, Global Business Practicum Participant

The practicum program is not only highly rewarding for students but offers opportunities for their host organisations and academic mentors. Students selected for the GBP are among the best and brightest, who combine their academic clout with passion and enthusiasm. A practicum subject entails daily meetings between academic and student teams; this close, frequent interaction fosters a collaborative learning environment. Academics often remark how the subject is a very rewarding one to teach, providing the opportunity to see how experiential learning can transform the student, academically, professionally and personally.

Cornerstone to the experience is the host organisation. The team at National Australia Bank London was a partner in creating the learning experience for the student team. Creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for the students.

“It was an absolute pleasure hosting the students in National Australia Bank London Branch from the Global Business Practicum. Their ability to take on a task and hit the ground running exceeded our expectations, demonstrating high standards of capability to grasp complex themes and frameworks.” – Simon Nye, Chief Risk Officer, National Australia Bank London

The overarching aim of the Global Business Practicum is to provide students with an opportunity to couple their strong technical skills with marketable soft skills, and global exposure. With many studies reporting that job market demand for soft skills far exceeds the supply, subjects that allow graduates to enter the market with demonstrable soft skills are highly valued by students.

To learn more about the Global Practicum Subject and opportunities to get involved, please reach out to the Chamber team at hello@australiachamber.co.uk for further contact details.

A University of Melbourne, Melbourne Business School – Faculty of Business and Economics insight by Sharon Soltys 

Melbourne Business School (MBS) is the University of Melbourne’s graduate school in business and economics. The University of Melbourne is Australia’s #1 ranked University.