Having completed 14 Business Advantage workshops, it would be fair to say that I have become a devout disciple of the program. I first heard about Business Advantage towards the end of 2017 and was immediately interested. It was a great excuse to get out of lectures and eat free food; who wouldn’t be keen? Tentative yet curious, I went to the ‘Designing your Life’ session run by Business Model Inc. I was immersed instantly. The session provided a framework on how to live a rewarding life through design principles and challenged my thinking in a way that my traditional classes didn’t always do. I vowed to attend every Business Advantage session I could.
Since then, I have participated in Design Led Innovation, a session focused on design-thinking with Lime Scooters that involved role-playing and innovative thought. My second workshop was the Psychology of Self-Management run by Organisational Psychologist, Jordan Reutas. Being aware of my tendency to procrastinate and sometimes struggle with organisation, I had high hopes for the session and it certainly delivered. By scoring high for a trait called openness, I learned that I have an innate need for novel ideas, so I should aspire to careers that allow for creative thinking and variety. I also discovered that scoring moderately low for a trait called conscientiousness means that I need to implement routines to get things done! We further explored our individual values and learned mindfulness techniques to develop greater psychological stability. The session was highly engaging. Everyone left feeling as though they had a better understanding of their individual personality and renewed confidence in achieving their academic and career goals.
Next up was Interview Skills and Professional Communication with Amy Jackson. As a high energy facilitator, Amy immediately made everybody feel comfortable and relaxed as we worked through a series of fun ice-breakers. It turns out that finding something in common with everyone is harder than I thought! We discovered the importance of body language, vocal tonality and personal branding in interviews. The session was highly interactive, with mock group interviews and some very interesting speech topics like The potential uses of a rubber duck. There were plenty of laughs shared and, most importantly, we all felt assured of our capacity to communicate throughout our working lives.
My final session was run by Business Advantage regular, Mark Creyton, one of the most interesting and intellectually stimulating people I have met during my time at University. Safe to say, I was buzzing with excitement! Mark started by getting everyone to clarify their expectations of the session – we all wanted to understand how to work effectively in teams and develop the ability to manage people. Finding out that I am a natural Visionary was enlightening, as it allowed me to gain a greater understanding of the strengths I bring to team environments. For example, I have the ability to connect ideas and devise strategies. We then challenged to use our non-dominant group working style to developed solutions for a hypothetical problem involving a financially vulnerable Dinosaur Park. This was challenging. However, developing the capacity to work in a way that felt unnatural to us was highly rewarding; the ability to jump between different group working styles is essential in today’s working world.
We were enamoured by Mark’s facilitation ability, as he was able to influence our self-perceptions by subtly allowing us to recognise our inner capacity for leadership and adaptability. Mark achieved this by connecting with us on a deeply personal level and then challenging our thinking of what an effective team looks like and how best to operate within a team. At the end of the session, we completed a group activity in which we had to communicate a message non-verbally to other group members across the room. Despite my group losing, we all felt that we had the ability to operate effectively with a variety of different personalities in teams.
All in all, I highly recommend the Business Advantage workshops! It has been very rewarding to be involved in a program that is not only personally enriching but has also helped me develop excellent soft skills that will aid in my professional development. The sessions have seen my confidence as a student soar, and I firmly believe that the Business Advantage program has provided me with a set of professional skills most relevant to my working life. Give it a try! I promise you that the lessons you learn from Business Advantage will permeate throughout all facets of your university and working life.