Global Discovery Program interns share their experiences

Eight talented Monash students are in New York as the successful applicants of the University’s first Global Discovery Program. The Global Discovery Program is an initiative of the US arm...

Eight talented Monash students are in New York as the successful applicants of the University’s first Global Discovery Program.  The Global Discovery Program is an initiative of the US arm of the Monash Global Leaders Network.

Benjamin Campbell (Law); George Kennedy (Arts); Kate Maxfield (Medicine/Arts); Emma Moore (BusEco, Law, Arts); Neha Patil (Arts); Mari Smith (Engineering/Art Design), Tony Tan (Science/Arts) and Christopher Tham (Medicine) will visit the United Nations, New York University, Bloomberg, and NBC and lunch with a senior advertising executive during their eight-day internship.

Here the students share their experiences and the highlights of their eight-day adventure.

You can view pictures on Facebook and watch a video about what they learned from the program and their plans for the future.

George Kennedy (Arts)

Sunday

It's crazy to think that a 30second video has landed me here, typing out a blog in the window seat of a bustling Starbucks on Broadway. It’s been a whirlwind visit. A rockstar inspired, drop-in-and-out trip that has been consistently stimulating, yet at times overwhelming.

The opportunity to meet incredible thinkers and doers from all professional fields has allowed me to think laterally about my own future developmental work. To consider how we can collaborate better in development to achieve sustainable poverty alleviation. Yet, the greatest influence upon my time in NYC has undoubtedly been the seven inspiring individuals I’ve shared my time with.

Whilst it may be easy to define these people by their chosen fields of study, be it medicine, law, architecture or engineering, it is their values and integrity that have challenged my thinking most. I hope that in my future career in international development I will be able to mix in similarly diverse environments in collaborating on global challenges like gender, the environment and sustainable economic development.
 
From an academic and professional perspective, my time in New York has permitted me unique insight into fields that I may have otherwise neglected. The immense power of private enterprise must be recognized by the humanitarian industry.

Whilst capitalism has undoubtedly contributed to inequality and poverty perpetuation in many developing contexts, the opportunity to turn this around in the contemporary economic climate must be critically examined. With brands becoming more conscious of social responsibility, branding and public perception, the opportunity arises for humanitarians to engage in a dialogue with these companies in pursuing real and sustainable change.

The ability for Coca-Cola’s global distribution networks, telstra’s communication infrastructure or Qantas’s transportation systems to assist humanitarians in times of crisis is only limited by imagination. I think its important that we as humanitarians engage with private industry to strategically tackle the worlds greatest challenges, engaging in mutually beneficial programs to lift those most vulnerable out of reproductive poverty.
 
I am incredibly fortunate to be here now. In this amazing city. Drinking this amazing caramel frapachino. Reflecting on my incredible experiences. Now, I guess, there is a responsibility on me to get out there and use my newfound knowledge.

I am grateful and humbled by my time here and I would encourage everyone at Monash to get out there and travel. Mix in circles you wouldn’t normally connect with. Learn from creators in all fields. Talk to strangers in far off places. Hear their stories and learn from their knowledge.

Emma Moore (BusEco, Law, Arts)

Monday

Bloomberg: from a Koi pond with exactly 22 Koi, representing the exact number of original terminals, to quarterly results updated on every glass-encased conference room, the confident professionalism of the place matched the sleek open-plan office space. Katherine Oliver didn't fail to match, if not top, an excellent first impression - clear conviction and an engaging manner meant that the meeting was a highlight of my day.

We are 8 offices: Sue Fennessy in her vibrancy framed the Monday perfectly - I loved her passion for we are 8 - and her drive to clear the way for everyone to start making an impact where it's needed.

Tuesday

The day isn't even over and yet I know that I'll take away many key lessons from a fantastic breakfast (and not so simply because of the top notch SoHo fare). I related in many ways to his own background, myself being a Monash commerce/law student like Mike.

A few favourites: hire people not only with the skills, but with the curiosity that pushes them above and beyond, being young is the time to be courageous and really explore what you want to do, and a plethora of down-to-earth tips about working for top-tier international firms, moving and working overseas, and exploring options after finishing up an undergraduate degree.

Needless to say, I'm finding myself enjoying every minute of this, not just with the experts and alumni lined up, but the excellent company. From huddling in hotel foyers to execute group strategy to banter in the Starbucks line (for necessary caffeine) - this has been a very promising start to the global discovery program.

Sunday

It hasn't really sunk in, that everything is finishing up. Everyone is currently on the bus to the airport, and you can tell that through these eight days, our collective experiences have not only allowed us to individually grow, learn and reflect, but also to develop exponentially as a team and group of eight.

I so look forward to going back and seeing where we all end up in the future. I know that I'll have to take a lot of time on the plane to consolidate everything that I've learnt and going through all the experiences that I've been lucky enough to have.

I can confidently say that even when asked for feedback, I don't think that any one visit or meeting could have been taken away.

From self-reinvention, to self-discovery, self-confidence to self-growth, the global discovery program has inspired a lot in me that I know I want to go away and apply to everything I do in the future.

As I go forward pursuing a career in the law, I've now been able to solidify my ambitions to also use my skills for sustainable development for Australia and the Asia-Pacific, but also have really taken away the important life lesson in that everything is really possible - I have to be open minded and ready to take on any unexpected challenge.

Finally - a huge thank you to the Monash University teams who put in so much time organising the trip, from Yvette, who was a fantastic mentor and leader to learn from, to Damien and his team at ERDA, and the brilliant Monash alumni who made everything possible, including Sue, Karl, Patrick and Ann.

Mari Smith (Engineering/Art Design and Architecture)

Yesterday was a whirlwind of emotions and inspirational awe.  A strong advocate for the empowerment of women, meeting Sue Hennessy, Anne Valentine Andrews and Katherine Oliver was particularly indelible. 

The Bloomberg Headquarters were phenomenological to say the least! As a Civil Engineering and Architecture student, the building embodied the mission statement of transparency and community. The 'pantry' concept of the communal sixth floor was particularly appealing.

Simon Assaad, founder of Heavy, offered invaluable advice in regards to meeting industry demands and contingency planning.

Lunch with Patrick Loftus-Hills (one of our most generous sponsors) at the Harvard club was a luxurious affair and observing the pride and compassion of Monash alumni was truly enlightening. Lastly,our recreation appetites were satiated by a visit to the Yankee Stadium and plenty of culture emersion was to be had!

I greatly look forward to working in collaboration with Sue, the team at We are 8 and the Monash alumni.

Sunday

The last eight days have been a whirlwind of experiences and I have barely processed it all. The opportunity to have met with such a diverse range of phenomenal people has truly shaped my goals for the future.

Originally entering the week with expectations of transformation, I am honestly amazed at the undercurrent of themes that pervaded each meeting.  The financial and consultancy world has thus far been quite foreign to me and meeting with Bloomberg, Illustro Trading (on the floor of the NYSE) and BlackRock was particularly enlightening. The concept that financial incentive is the future of humanitarian development was surprisingly endorsed by everyone. 

The United Nations, Charity Water, R2P, NYU Public Health Department and Akilah Institute, were particularly engaging in respect to my charity objectives for the future.

I have always aimed to work in the Non-Profit charity sector and this trip has enlightened me to the fact that a business model should be adopted for greater effectivity. My values have been strengthened greatly by this trip and I believe I have gained invaluable insight and confidence to make a noticeable change in the world.

The Monash alumni in New York have taken excellent care of us and provided an unprecedented framework for each of us to pursue our goals and the development of the planet's future.

Neha Patil (Arts)

Monday

If I was only able to use one word to describe yesterday, inspiring is what first comes to mind. Although in all honest, that term alone cannot do our day justice.

I could not think of a better way to start our day then to meet with Sue Fennessy, whose radiance, bubbly personality and positive energy quite literally made me feel like 'everything is possible.'

I didn't think the day could get any better, but alas I was wrong. Our group of eight, all-star eyed stumbled into the Bloomberg Office Headquarters. We were met with the most stunning modern architecture, an array of friendly stuff and most importantly a pond of 22 fish, representing good fortune and exuding positive vibes.

Perhaps the highlight of the day for me personally was our meeting with Sue's good friend Katherine Oliver, principal at Bloomberg Associates. As a strong advocate for diversity, Katherine's professional story resonated so well with me. I found myself drawn into her journey and absorbing every word, with the hopes that I too will be able to emulate such strong and successful diversity initiatives on such a large scale, with my own flavour of course.

All in all I went to bed with a full heart and well fed entrepreneurial spirit that I am absolutely positive with will be further driven in the upcoming seven days.

I can not thank We Are 8 and the Global Discovery team enough for this opportunity.  Only once I arrived have I realised the magnitude of the agenda being presented to us.

Sunday

As I sit here eating a classic NYC pizza in the domestic terminal of JFK airport, the thought of leaving this phenomenal city and my amazing group, including Yvette, is sadly dawning on me.

However, ironically I'm not nearly as upset as one would think after an abrupt end to a life changing eight days. Why? The answer is simple this in no way, shape or form is the end, in fact it is the beginning. The beginning of endless possibilities, a life time of friends, a newly established professional network, and most importantly a reinvigorated passion and spirit towards creating global and positive change and impact, collaboratively.

On that note, the word 'collaboration' has taken on a whole new meaning to me. Throughout our meetings with people from all different industries, sectors, backgrounds and histories, collaboration was the key theme stood out and was consistently reinforced across the eight days. Perhaps it was my previous naivety, but it was quite honestly mind blowing how interconnected and reliant all industries are on another and how partnerships can and will serve as mutually beneficial.

Working in a humanitarian context, I've always felt the field was heavily isolated. Well I was wrong and I couldn't be more grateful to have taken on such an important lesson that I can now apply to my personal vision, with a much broader and worldly perspective and work towards creating a more collaborative framework in the industry.

Words can't express how life changing this experience was for me, on a multitude of levels. Beyond the success of the industries and companies, I really took note of the personal success of the individuals.

Meeting people just like me, who have and continue to lead such extraordinary lives was entirely the motivation I need to discipline myself and focus on my vision, creating positive impact and change in the world. Honestly above everything else, these eight days have taught me 'Everything Is Possible.'

Prior to the program I would casually toss around that phrase, but now, I believe it wholeheartedly and want to spread this ideal far and wide.

Tony Tan (Science/Arts)

Monday

Katherine Oliver was strong and inspiring woman. Her loyalty to her colleagues and innate ability to pick the right course of action during hardship, and how patriarchal norms form no barrier to a determined woman.

Highlights: When she spoke about increasing cultural diversity within the media industry and the method of introducing them from the bottom up.

Tuesday

Mike Salvaris was a very rational person to speak to. He spoke of the need to gain some experience in different areas and how it wasn't necessary to love every bit of your work. He was a strong change from the other speaker on the trip who seemed to center in the possible whilst he was centered in the pragmatic.

The New York Stock exchange was great to experience. Whether it was from the numbers flowing across screens or the people constantly picking up their phone to buy 10,000 new stocks, the experience was invigorating! Moreover, speaking to Redhot and his colleagues showed us that invest brokers had a very interesting life.

Greeted with a smiling faces and words of welcome, the experience at Charity Water was one that will always be remembered. The decor of the office was beautifully inspired with many different interesting ways to keep people excited and passionate about what they were doing.

Microsoft had an interesting approach to innovation providing us with a hands on feel of their products. This was then accompanied by revolutionary LiveTiles experience which showed us the possibilities of data communication.

Benjamin Campbell (Law)

Over the past three days I've been fortunate enough to be involved with the Monash University Global Citizenship Program, an alumni-led initiative to engross current students into global culture and opportunity.

So far, travelling as a group of eight students, we have visited the offices of Bloomberg, dined at the Harvard Club, strolled along Wall Street and met with industry leaders, including Sue Fennessy, who is in the process of launching her own social network, a digital platform with a charitable arm at its core.

Throughout these inspiring meetings, we have discovered so much about the business world, and the skills required to succeed within it.

We have been pushed, intellectually, to consider a range of brand ideas that have been, or are in the process of, being deployed to market.

We have uncovered the personal characteristics of leaders, and how they have gathered the support of their troops to support them on their journey.

But most significantly, the eight of us have learned from each other. We have practiced the important, bipartisan principles of collaboration and patience. We have experienced the best and worst of group dynamics, and have supported one another in working towards one singular, unified campaign.

Together, we embark on another new and exciting discovery tomorrow, as we head to the United Nations. With an agenda that includes policy discussion with influential figures, we must band together to raise the issues that matter to us.

Through collaboration comes outstanding outcomes. Working with seven likeminded peers makes us near unstoppable.

Sunday

So, it's over. Done. After eight days, we're heading home.

It's always hard to summarise an experience so soon after it has finished. As eight students, with backgrounds spanning architecture, design, law, science, the humanities, international development and medicine, we have limped to the finish line of an exhausting and comprehensive journey that cannot yet be quantified, nor properly understood without allowing adequate time to reflect. It's all positive, but it's going to take a while to piece together the elaborate undertaking to which we have been exposed.

Mindful of my own heavy eyelids and sweaty palms, I will instead serve to summarise a few of the raw moments that mattered most. Less about the operations, but more about depth, this entry will shed light on some of the experiences that excited and inspired me.

1. The unexpected empire of Monash University's global footprint.

With campuses across the globe, it doesn't take a rabbit out of a hat to acknowledge that Monash is a truly international player in the education game. With students from all corners and walks of life, the university has invested in harbouring the diversified academic prowess of the world's citizens.

It does come as a surprise however, just how connected Monash remains with these students, years, and even decades after graduation.

Throughout the eight days, we have met dozens of Monash graduates, all kicking goals in their respective industries, and continuing to attribute their success to their Monash education.

The University prides itself on being part of this ongoing process, and through alumni engagement and events, it's clear that graduation is no longer the conclusion of a students relationship with the University. In many respects, graduation is just the beginning of an ongoing partnership with the University, one that has obviously blossomed in the development of the New York Alumni Charter.

2. People are people.

On this trip, we met with a collective of individuals that manipulate more than 50 billion dollars of the world's wealth. These men and women include the head of an advertising empire, a senior board member of one of the world's biggest media conglomerates, the men behind Wall Street, and the people behind a successful asset management company that survived, and rebounded from the GFC.

What amazed me the most about these men and women was that despite the elaborate amount of zeroes on their balance sheets, they maintained a down to earth persona that made them relatable, friendly and approachable. They all smile, laugh, made time for others and they didn't take themselves too seriously.

It was refreshing that despite their obvious successes, and the importance of their day-to-day, they didn't lose their ability to interact with others. Arguably, it was probably this likability that made them successful. It made their respective hierarchies want to follow the and share their successes.

So, people are people.

3. Being humbled by the UN.

Whilst my workplace has a coffee machine, a vending machine and a coffee shop, the New York United Nations just had a piece of the Berlin Wall sitting there. It didn't really do anything. It didn't have a plaque. It was, in all its ridiculousness, just part of the furniture.

You realise, walking around the UN, that this is a place that is infinitely bigger than you are. It represents, in its many arms, an institution whose daily agendas are more important than anything we may ever accomplish in our combined lifetimes.

That's a pretty spectacular feeling, and a reminder that we all need to be humbled by occasional bursts of greatness in our lives to help us see the bigger picture.

And that picture, is very big.

Chris Tham

During my trip to New York I have experienced many things; but the experience that touched me to my core happened Thursday night.

We were out in south east Manhattan exploring the night life of New York. We had just exited the cab and it had left when I realised that I had left my phone in the cab.

I grab my friends phone, opened the 'find my iphone' app and found out it was three km away. Without thinking I bolted down the road after the cab.

Upon realising that i would never catch the cab, in hollywood fashion hailed a cab to chase after this one. In an exasperated voice I explained my situation to the cab driver, Samwell, and we drove off following the little dot on the phone.

I noticed that he didn't start the fare and told him to start it, but refused until I found my phone. Upon catching the other cab, the other cab driver asked for a 10 dollar finding fee. Flabbergasted, I pulled out my wallet only to find a measly dollar. Unable to pay, the other taxi driver was unwilling to return my phone.

At that point Samwell stepped in and paid the 10 dollar 'ransom' fee. I was once again reunited with my phone!

I hopped back into Samwell's cab and asked for him to take me home. I demanded for him to start the meter but he wouldn't. I kept insisting that the least I could do was pay for the 20 minute ride home but all my attempts were thwarted.

He said: "I am a good Muslim and for what I did for you, Allah will look after me." This memory will be treasured because it showed me three things. 1. There is generosity and kindness everywhere. 2. Never give up because it seems impossible. 3. Give back because it makes world a better place.