Whether you love to paint, live to code or blog on the side, it’s time to consider how you can harness that passion project to get you industry ready. 

As written by Jessica Chung, Bachelor of Commerce/Information Systems, Marketing, 2021, Women in Business Ambassador

What hobby do you have that you are passionate about? Many students have side projects that they love doing, yet don’t see as being strictly part of their university journey. But have you ever thought about how your passion could be combined with your degree to inform your future career in business?  

Sebastian Yves, UNSW Business School Student, Bachelor of Information Systems 2021

For one UNSW Business School student, it was his ‘side hustle’ that gave him major experience. Professional photographer and Career Accelerator @ UNSW Business School team member, Sebastian Yves (Bachelor of Information Systems 2021) sat down with UNSW Business School to explain how his passion for photography, combined with his in-degree experience with the Career Accelerator, expanded his job opportunities.  

As a freelance photographer and founder of your own photography business Sharp Corners Photography, why do you think it is important to capture and share images?

Speaking from my personal experiences of hardship and loss, what I value the most in my life is time. Time is something that I cannot earn back. Time keeps moving forward. Memories and experiences must be treasured somehow, and photography has allowed me to stop time and travel back in-time to moments that I treasure the most. 

Capturing and sharing images with Sharp Corners Photography has allowed me to bring back flashbacks of sensory memories that cannot be replaced by anything else. The way I see it is that images speak louder than words and so I want to use photography to share stories about life. 

How do you think your ‘side hustle’ has improved your employability and gotten you industry ready? What business skills have you learned?

My current career goal is to work as a business analyst, although photography and business analysis are two very different spectrums, there is a definite link between these two. 

Business analysts go to clients to find out what their requirements are and bridge the gap by pitching and implementing a solution. Photographers also aim to fulfil the customer’s needs through a medium of photos and videos. 

Initially, you don’t think about the business side of photography, such as the networking events, leadership, communication, and even the analytical aspects such as having to do your own accounting and marketing. But it does exist, and I have learnt all these transferable skills over the past few years. It’s a full circle at the end of the day. 

How did you start working with Career Accelerator @ UNSW Business School team?

Through word-of mouth recommendations from my peers, I applied for the for-credit industry experience program via one of my subjects. The program provides single or dual degree Business School students with the opportunity to gain practical experience to work with industry partners. I was offered internship positions with large well-known companies like Westpac and Nestle, but a position at UNSW Career Accelerator was most appealing to me. 

Personally, this was because it aligned with my interests to strengthen my existing skills from the creative industry. I highly recommend doing a for-credit industry experience to students who want to explore different avenues of work. There are an immense number of roles available that they can get experience doing: from marketing and finance to management and consulting. 

What is your one key takeaway from the role in the Career Accelerator team?

As the Business Content Creator of the Career Accelerator team, my job is to develop graphical content to enhance the user experience of the Career Accelerator Courses available for all UNSW Business School students. 

In doing this, I was able to improve on both my technical and transferable skills through a broad exposure to a deadline-driven, professional university work environment. 

All my previous experiences in photography or the creative industry were more colloquial and conversational, and so taking on the role of a Business Content Creator within a more formal setting allowed me to gain career-ready skills such as the adoption of a professional tone of voice. 

I was also given the valuable opportunity to learn how to use different Adobe software such as Adobe Animate and Adobe Character Animator to enhance student engagement across a series of online Career Accelerator modules. 

What would be one piece of advice you would give to current Business School students who want to start their own business or pursue their passions?

Remember that everyone starts somewhere and it’s normal to make mistakes along the way. I doubted myself so many times, but after learning from my mistakes and other people within the industry, I have learnt not to be afraid. 

My experience in this came in the form of founding a photography group called Sydney Ports Meets, on the side of running Sharp Corners Photography. Sydney Ports Meets hosts events for Australian photographers and videographers to build relationships and create content with each other. 

Initially, I saw an opportunity to create a group of other photographers and videographers who focused on community, learning and networking. So, I took a deep dive to gather a team of sponsors, models and other creative groups to be able to host photography events for creatives in Sydney. Despite it being a time-consuming and somewhat stressful experience to organise the event, over 300 people attended our first meeting in 2019.

Sebastian Yves, UNSW Business School Student, Freelance Professional Photographer

My final piece of advice would be to reach out to people through LinkedIn and seek advice or ask for their help, because learning from others is so important. Life is about networking.

Sebastian is a final year Business Information Systems (BIS) student who is currently working with the Career Accelerator @ UNSW Business School team as their Business Content Creator. He is also the founder of his own photography business, Sharp Corners Photography

You can find out more about how the Career Accelerator can help build your professional skills here

You can find out more about UNSW Business School degrees here.