Millie Macleod

Millie Macleod

Millie Macleod

  • Year completed 2017
  • Current position Senior Policy Officer, Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
  • Degree(s) Bachelor of Global Studies

Career summary

Millie Macleod completed a Bachelor of Global Studies at Monash University in 2017. Following the completion of her degree, she successfully obtained a position in a graduate program with the Department of the Environment and Energy. Upon its conclusion, Millie was offered a permanent position as a Policy Officer. Millie now works as a Senior Policy Officer at the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment where she works in global ocean policy development.

Career pathway

2020 – Senior Policy Officer, Australian Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment
2019 – Policy Officer, Department of the Environment and Energy
2018 – Graduate, Department of the Environment and Energy
2016 – Exchange to University of Copenhagen, Denmark
2015 – Exchange to Shanghai International Studies University, China
2015 – Bachelor of Global Studies (International Studies & Chinese Studies)

Why did you choose to do a Bachelor of Global Studies at Monash?

When I finished school, I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted to be or what career path I wanted to pursue. I wanted to do the course that would allow me to learn more about the world and to travel while studying. With campuses around the world and a truly global reputation, I knew that studying this degree at Monash would allow me to do that.

In 2015, I was amongst the first cohort of students to enter the Bachelor of Global studies. Being part of something new was incredible. The breadth of what you can study in the degree means you have so much opportunity at your fingertips – and that excited me.

What did your career path look like after graduating?

I started applying for graduate programs in the public service in March of my final year at university. The recruitment process is quite long, so I'd encourage anyone trying to line up a job for after they graduate to start applying for them about a year beforehand. I went to an assessment centre in May, was offered the job in October, and then moved to Canberra in February of the next year when the role started. The graduate program went for a year and a half.

After, I secured a position as a Policy Officer in global ocean policy, and then was promoted to Senior Policy Officer at the beginning of this year. This area is a really interesting mix of international law, environmental science and policy analysis and development. My day-to-day work involves research, working closely with other Australian Government agencies, writing ministerial briefs and strategies, and sometimes representing the department or the country at international meetings.

Working in the international environmental policy space is challenging but also extremely rewarding. Even if just on a small scale, I feel I am making a meaningful contribution to the world we live in.

What advice do you have for students who want to enter a graduate program?

The biggest piece of advice I would have in applying for competitive jobs is to be your authentic self. I had a good GPA and I did some volunteering at university, so I looked okay on my CV. However, I don't think that necessarily made me stand out.

I think what sets you apart is not just who you are on paper but who you are as a person. A panel wants to employ a diverse group of graduates, with a range of strengths, experiences and backgrounds.

How have your majors in Chinese Studies and International Studies given you an advantage in your career?

In this globalised world, studying any language is going to be an asset wherever you go.

Even if you don't use it on a day to day basis, studying foreign languages improves your communication on so many levels.

You're also learning about the country’s history, culture, music, political systems and much more.

The benefits of having studied something as broad as International Studies are also endless. It wasn't just beneficial because of the interesting subject matter - it was also about learning how to learn. I apply the skills I learnt – including research, critical thinking and writing - to my own work every day now.

What were the best parts of completing two exchange programs whilst studying at Monash?

Millie in HuangshanI decided to go to Shanghai because that is where the intensive language program was held every year. Over six weeks, I did two units of Chinese that went towards my major and accelerated completing my degree.

I would highly recommend doing any intensive units because it frees up your workload a little bit in your final year, plus you get to travel and have a great time with your classmates.

The two-week intensive program in Shanghai was a very different experience to going on a semester long exchange to Copenhagen. I wanted to go to Denmark to learn more about Scandinavian society, history and political systems as part of my International Studies specialisation. Getting to know some of the local Danish students was one of the most rewarding parts. I lived on my own as well which was a unique experience for me. I studied Danish language, sociology and gender studies when I was in Copenhagen.

What is the most rewarding part of your career?

The most rewarding part of my career is feeling like I am doing my part to create a better world and protect the environment. I did a unit on the ethics of poverty and climate change at university which made me realise how much human wellbeing, cultures, the economy and many other things are dependent on a healthy natural environment. I became passionate about protecting the environment, and now I get to do that every day.

Article written by Georgie Kibel, Arts Journalism intern, 2020

Image description: Millie in Yellow Mountains (Huangshan), China