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City study a gateway to opportunity for business student

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Only four days after his final exam, University of Tasmania graduate James Holland was already starting his post-University career just an elevator ride away from his classroom.  

A third-year Bachelor of Business student at the time, James’ journey to working for one of the biggest accounting and consulting firms in Australia started with an invitation to a networking event on the top floor of the Hobart KPMG building – a city location for the College of Business and Economics.

"The event was tailored for Uni students in their second last or final years, and I was really blown away with how friendly and accommodating everyone from KPMG was."

“It was definitely my first preference of somewhere to work after Uni, and after the event, I immediately applied for a graduate position,” James said.

James went through a rigorous recruitment process and came out on the other side with an advisor position waiting for him at KPMG after he graduated.

 James Holland winning the 2021 UniSuper Prize
James Holland awarded the 2021 UniSuper Prize

With his post-University employment secured - and at one of the Big Four firms - James was able to focus on his studies and go on to win the 2021 UniSuper Prize for his performance in undergraduate finance.

An unexpected perk to finishing his studies so close to his soon-to-be employer was the opportunity to form connections with his future supervisors and colleagues.

“It worked well being able to study in the same building as KPMG. It allowed me to have small conversations with some of the employees I had met at the networking event and through the interview process,” he said.

James decided to study a Bachelor of Business at the University of Tasmania after spending a gap year travelling and working in hospitality.

“While I thoroughly enjoyed my gap year, it made me realise that I desired more. I felt that my best option to feed that desire was to attend university,” James said. “Picking business was a no-brainer. I had enjoyed the subject in college and had a passion for learning about investing, economics, and overall accounting and finance.

“Choosing UTAS was also a straightforward decision. I had a strong support network of friends and family in Hobart, as well as a part-time job, so being able to keep those while studying at Uni was essential.

"The fact that I had an internationally recognised University in my own backyard was also a massive bonus. It made enrolling at UTAS a very easy choice."

James started his undergraduate journey at the University of Tasmania’s Sandy Bay campus but transitioned to the College of Business and Economics city location at the KMPG building in his second year of study.

“While I did find the move to the city a bit of a change, I quite enjoyed it. It was nice being based in town with plenty of options of cafes and eateries to visit.

“Another bonus of studying in a building with people in the same discipline is that it’s easier to interact with class members and make connections with people who hold similar interests to you.”

Now, as an Advisor for KPMG, working just a stone’s throw away from where he studied, James credits his university experience for giving him the building blocks for his career.

“I think my time at UTAS provided me with a really strong foundation to start as an Advisor at KPMG. It provided me with a well-rounded understanding of accounting and financial concepts, and these are things I leverage on a daily basis.

“While KPMG has been a steep learning curve, I think my time at UTAS provided me with a great base to start my career,” James said.