Girls in Business: How can alumni support the next generation of female leaders?

UNSW Business School alumnae shared their wide-ranging career experiences at this year’s Girls in Business Camp, inspiring attending high school students about to embark on their own career paths. 

| 05 Aug 2021

As part of this year’s 2021 Girls in Business Camp, several prominent UNSW Business School alumnae and a UNSW Business School Professor of Practice were among volunteers who acted as mentors to the participating high school students. 

Running since 2019, the Girls in Business (GiB) Camp is a high school outreach program that supports the next generation of female leaders through a series of interactive workshops, alumnae showcases, and industry panels over two days.

After this year’s online GiB camp, four volunteers shared their thoughts on why programs like GiB are invaluable for the female business leaders of the future and their own personal takeaways from working with the students. 

See also: Are you a UNSW Business School graduate? You can join our LinkedIn group here. Or are you an AGSM graduate? You can join our LinkedIn group here.

 

Christine Chong, Head of Finance at Eco Outdoor Group (BCom/Laws, Accounting, 2007)

Christine Chong, Head of Finance at Eco Outdoor Group (BCom/Laws, Accounting, 2007) 

Why is the Girls in Business Camp valuable to students?  
  
“Growing up and landing a career is something that many senior school students will be thinking about as they approach the end of their high school journey. Most will be armed with information from their career advisor at school and trusted advice from their parents. Some may even have formed a view on what they want to do when they grow up, and how they will achieve it.   

However, the pathway isn't always clear cut and knowing what you want to do for the rest of your life isn't something easy to fathom. Particularly in business, there are so many aspects to the business world and the many professionals that form part of it - actuaries, accountants, auditors, sales, payroll specialists, you name it! 

That is why the Girls in Business Camp is a valuable platform for gaining insights into the business world from the perspective of business professionals. The program provides a safe space to interact with those who have willingly volunteered their time.   

In sharing their career journey and what it's like to work in their part of the business world, we hope to better equip the young leaders of tomorrow in the decision-making process and provide an insight into life beyond high school.”

What is your takeaway from working with the students?  
 
“Working with students is extremely rewarding. The questions I've been asked as a mentor resonate with me, as they were the same questions I had myself as a high school student. Except programs like ‘Girls in Business' Camp, which would have provided a forum to hear genuine responses from industry professionals, weren't around.   

Being reassured that your ATAR doesn't define who you are in the professional industry, and that career changes are indeed possible, would have taken away a lot of pressure and uncertainties I felt as a student.  

I applaud the students for stepping up and participating in these programs.”

 

Elaine Collins, Non-Executive Director at Zurich Insurance Company, Professor of Practice at UNSW Business School

Elaine Collins, Non-Executive Director at Zurich Insurance Company, Professor of Practice at UNSW Business School 

Why is the Girls in Business Camp invaluable to students?  
  
“The UNSW Girls in Business Camp is valuable to students because it inspires these schoolgirls to continue with higher-level maths. The camp gives them insights into how this can prepare them for fascinating courses at UNSW and how these translate into exciting job opportunities.
 
In fact, the more mathematical your job, the more likely the employer is to grant opportunities, as well as flexibility, because you are more valuable and less replaceable.”

What is my takeaway from working with the students? 
 
“My personal takeaway from working with the students is that they are talented, engaging, and keen to learn. It inspires me to continue challenging myself.”
 
 

Jennifer Bismire_BCom, Marketing, Information Systems & Management, 2018

Jennifer Bismire, Analyst at Westpac Group (BCom, Marketing, Information Systems & Management, 2018) 

Why is the Girls in Business Camp valuable to students?    

“During my early years of high school, I would never have imagined myself to be where I am today, working in analytics at a bank. I found out that I could not only belong, but excel, in this industry when I did programs like Girls in Business Camp during years 11 and 12.  

These kinds of programs open possibilities for young women to discover endless opportunities, even if the girls don’t study business, IT, or coding. They shed light on how you can take your interests into the workforce by making the first steps into choosing your future career direction, and by talking to alumni who can share the secrets they wish they knew in the beginning.”

What is your takeaway from working with the students?  

“I’m passionate about ensuring the next generation of young women entering the workforce are informed and given the right tools to pursue a career that best suits them.”

 

Shirley Bowles_AGSM MBA, 2004

Shirley Bowles, Senior Manager, Product Solutions at HSBC (AGSM MBA, 2004)

Why is the Girls in Business Camp valuable to students?    

“The Girls in Business Camp is a great program from UNSW. I would encourage all high school students to make the time to attend. It may reinforce what you already know about your next choice, or it may encourage you to try a different path.”

What is your takeaway from working with the students?  
“Students showed an eagerness to learn not just about life at university, but also about the greater opportunities out in the world. It was encouraging seeing the next generation of leaders as they are forming.”

 

Designed for female high school students in years 10, 11, and 12, Girls in Business (GiB) Camp is created for those who want to explore a future in business. 

It seeks to equip young women with the skills - and to get them excited about - studying and working in risk and actuarial, information systems and technology management, and banking and finance.   

 

Find out more about Girls in Business Camp here, or discover more opportunities for mentoring at UNSW Business School or AGSM @ UNSW Business School as an alumnus on our LinkedIn groups.

Looking to do further study? Check out our AGSM programs here.