News & Stories

Starting the conversation at the College of Business and Economics

Study | Lifestyle

For many people, starting a conversation with someone new can be intimidating and awkward and will often push them out of their comfort zone. Add topics like career or networking to the equation and it can be game over.

However, networking is an essential business skill you can learn at any stage in your career. Using networking, you can build connections, leverage relationships, and create fantastic opportunities, but it takes practice.

At the recent Executive Dean’s Career Conversations events in Hobart and Launceston, alumni and students from the College of Business and Economics came together to share stories and experiences on building successful careers. It was also an opportunity for alumni to reunite with their peers and form new connections.

Before launching into the Q&A panels, the College’s Executive Dean, Professor Stuart Crispin, welcomed attendees and shared his career journey from retail shop assistant to Executive Dean.

"Your career is a journey that doesn’t always have a clear destination, but sometimes all it takes is a simple conversation to open a world of opportunity," Professor Crispin said.

The Q&A panels focused on “Environmental Sustainability: What does this mean for your career now and into the future.” This topic reflected the College’s commitment to sustainability and allowed attendees to examine the evolution of environmental sustainability business practices and their importance for businesses.

Career Conversations Panel in Hobart

As attendee and Lecturer in Accounting Dr Mitali Panchal noted, “There are real opportunities for new graduates to move into the environmental sustainability space in business.”

Panellists included alumni working in small business, regional development, primary industries, and government. They shared how environmental sustainability has affected their roles, the challenges and opportunities it has created, and the preparations students need to make to enter a workforce increasingly committed to sustainability.

For accounting student Chunshan Li, this event brought the importance of networking and sustainability to life.

"The conversations I had with the alumni from different industries in the real world opened my mind. Sustainability is everywhere in business, not only in accounting and financing, but also in marketing, strategic planning, and behavioural economics."

"I believe all business students, including myself, should be aware of the existence and importance of sustainability in the areas we are studying," she said.

Following the Q&A sessions, facilitated by Naomi Walsh, Employability Lead for the College, students and alumni had the chance to speak one-on-one and share stories of triumphs and tribulations.

"Success stories are wonderful, but it is even more valuable for students to hear stories of failure and perseverance, where people have overcome hurdles and embraced opportunities to realise success."

"These are the stories that inspire the next generation of leaders," Naomi said.

Are you interested in connecting with the University of Tasmania or participating in upcoming events? Please contact the Alumni Relations Office at or visit our Get Involved webpage for more opportunities.

A special thank you to panellists Ben Daley (ERC Australia), Jen Newman (Regional Development Australia, Tasmania) Dr Steven Rust (IMAS), Tara Howell (Blue Derby Pod Rides), Kevin Turner (AusIndustry) and Cameron Oakley (Hydrodynamica), for sharing their expertise.