Landing the dream job

18 November 2015

It’s that time of year at Crawford where new students are applying to study and current students are ready to graduate and start the next adventure. But what does life at Crawford look like and what will it mean for your job prospects when you finally graduate?

For Crawford Alumna Zhenzhen Xu studying at the school set her on the pathway to success in water policy.

Originally from Shanghai, Zhenzhen studied Environmental Engineering at Tongji University before coming to Crawford and completing a Master of Environmental Management and Development in 2005.

She was drawn to ANU because of its elite reputation in China and among international organisations, and upon graduation she was confident she made the right choice.

“The knowledge, research and analytical skills I learnt at Crawford helped me a lot in my working life because the courses are strongly linked to the real world context,” she said.

“Lecturers and tutors were able to provide specific support to individual students, and give suggestions on time management, choosing selective courses and advice on future career prospects.”

Zhenzhen said the ability to apply academic knowledge in a real context was a key part of her educational development.

“While I was at Crawford we had a field trip to the Murray Darling River Basin Management Authority, talked to various stakeholders, and had a role play after coming back.

“We also visited a national park to gain an understanding of natural resource management and eco-tourism.”

Studying in a small multicultural city like Canberra also had its benefits.

“Canberra is a nice place, and very good for postgraduate students as it is more peaceful than living in a large city. Plus, ANU has very good facilities compared to other universities in Melbourne and Sydney. They even help you organise on-campus accommodation.

“I also liked the class diversity in terms of nationality and background. It gave me a strong advantage in my later career working with international organisations.”

After graduating she soon got the opportunity to put her new skills into practice.

“I got my first job at a French consulting firm in China called SOGREAH. I worked as an environmental engineer/consultant on a World Bank project, mostly in Guangdong and Yunnan Provinces.

“I landed my first job through the ANU alumni. I was working for the executive training program as part-time assistant, and I was assigned to assist Dr Liu, a SOGREAH employee who was attending the course at Crawford.

“I discussed my study interests with Dr Liu and she later recommended me to her boss - landing me a great first job.

“Because the university has a lot of visiting fellows, guest lecturers, and programs for executive training, there are good opportunities for students to get access to future employers.”

Since then Zhenzhen has continued to develop her career in the water management sector, working for Veolia Water, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and most recently for the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS).

“At AWS I work as a regional representative based in Shanghai. My main responsibility is to promote AWS water stewardship standards, enhance local capacity on sustainable water management and build the local platform for water stewardship in China.”

Zhenzhen said the skills she learnt at Crawford helped advance her career and develop her ability to critically think about complex issues – but it was challenging at times.

“The school provided very good courses on research methods, skills (such as data collection/analysis) and critical thinking. But since most programs at Crawford relate to solving complex issues and governance be ready for a challenge,” she said.

You don’t get a reputation for being the best without a little hard work. What are you waiting for? Apply to study at Crawford School of Public Policy today.

By Kelly Hayward

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