How a double degree opens global doors in your early career
Studying Biomedical Science taught Jodie Lynn the scientific method and fostered critical thinking. But it was her Commerce degree that gave her global business insights, practical finance skills and kickstarted her into a graduate program with an international company.
Passionate ;about science and healthcare, Jodie Lynn wants to transform innovative ideas into impactful solutions to benefit the community.
She is undertaking the graduate program at Thermo Fisher Scientific Australia & New Zealand - a two-year program encompassing three rotations of eight months in different business functions, plus a plethora of other development opportunities.
“Luckily, my first rotation was in finance, a space where I felt comfortable having been equipped with the knowledge and practical skills from my studies at Monash,” Jodie says. In that first rotation she was immediately immersed into the finance role and team, developing her business acumen and data analysis skills. Shortly after, she had the opportunity to fully own some projects which included building dashboards so the commercial teams could view data easier.
Outside the rotations, graduates are involved in cross-functional process improvement projects, attend multi-day learning courses on topics spanning process improvement to digital marketing and have regular meetings about learnings and career development.
“My current role is very ;exciting as I am part of the first cohort of graduates, which means that I have the opportunity ;to create initiatives for the current cohort and future ones,” Jodie says.
“Thermo Fisher Scientific is a remarkable company to work for and it is truly an exciting time to join the company,” she says.
“It is a global corporation, with headquarters in the USA and has multiple sites in every continent. I love how across the globe we all work with the mission to enable our customers to make the world healthier, cleaner and safer.
“(Our products are) the instruments and consumables in laboratories and in recent times, many...are significant in the immediate COVID-19 response and long-term road to recovery.”
"I think (a double degree) encourages more agile learning, as (single) degrees tend to have their own type of teaching styles, learning styles and assessment tasks."
“As a graduate, I am very grateful to have the chance to work on impactful projects and present to and converse with leaders often.”
“I especially value the breadth of tasks and projects graduates are given as I can dip my toes into many interesting roles. As a global company, I look forward to connecting with global colleagues and the possibility of working with them face to face in one of our global offices.”
Taking the first big career step: degree selection
Like many others, Jodie had “no idea” what she wanted to do at high school. Her decision to undertake the double degree came from a combination of self-reflection, information gleaned from open days and career advice from her school course advisor.
“What attracted me to Commerce and Biomedical Science was the breadth of learnings it offers,” Jodie says.
As someone who enjoyed science and the fascinating complexity of the human body and human health, Biomedical Science stood out to her. And while she had little knowledge of Business and Commerce before university, she believed that adding a Commerce degree would “provide me with the commercial skills to work in the healthcare space, without potentially limiting it to allied health roles”.
“People would often comment on how (my) double degree sounded less ‘compatible’ than other ones, like Commerce and Law, but I believe that it has equipped me well with knowledge and skills which I use daily in my current role,” Jodie says.
“Biomedical Science gave me a well-rounded introduction into many areas of health but also taught me the scientific method and fostered critical thinking which translated well into building my problem-solving skills,” she says.
“Studying Commerce, especially finance gave me an insight into business locally and globally. Finance equipped me with practical skills such as excel and financial analysis which enabled me to transition into a finance role seamlessly.”
“I loved the diversity in lecturers and tutors at Monash, with some teachers using Kahoot! quizzes to facilitate engagement in large lectures, and finance tutors who went above and beyond with their time and efforts helping students understand difficult concepts.”
“I think there are many more benefits to doing a double degree in addition to getting two degrees in a shortened time frame,” Jodie says.
“I think it encourages more agile learning, as degrees tend to have their own type of teaching styles, learning styles and assessment tasks. Going through the rigorous scientific method in the lab is completely different to a discussion about economic theories. I believe this has exposed me to a variety of learning methods and allowed me to develop key transferrable skills like communication and teamwork in different contexts.
Jodie also believes employers value the breadth of knowledge and the diversity of thought a double degree offers.
“Personally, I found my double degree in Commerce and Biomedical Science a perfect match for my current role. My Biomedical background means I understand a broad range of our product offerings and its applications which allows me to communicate its value to the market. Commerce provides the other important half which is the practical skills and knowledge to bring a product to market. Both degrees fostered my analytical and critical thinking skills, which is also a key competency in the workforce.
“The Commerce degree provides a solid foundation for graduate work or further studies in any commercial field. Learning the complexities of science and health and the rigor of the scientific method also develops key transferrable skills for future work in other fields.”
“Problems are often multifaceted and I believe understanding different perspectives can bring significant value to finding the solution.”
Developing skills outside the classroom
As part of the Commerce capstone unit, Jodie did an overseas internship at Prudential Insurance Hong Kong. “As someone with a keen interest to work internationally, this internship appealed to me as I could immerse myself into the insurance space in Asia and experience the Hong Kong hustle and bustle,” Jodie says.
“As I attended University while living at home, the experience of living in a foreign city for a month also pushed me out of my comfort zone. Thus, despite the challenge, I know I will remember Hong Kong fondly as the first place I made memories by myself as a young adult. I highly recommend students to seize opportunities to study or intern abroad as it really does broaden your perspective of the world.
Jodie became involved in co-curricular activities in the latter half of her degree, and boosted her personal development by becoming a mentor and a mentee. As a Biomed Mentor Leader for her last two years of university, she joined a program that paired a group of first-year students with a peer mentor to help them transition into university life and create some biomedical networks.
“As a leader, I had some extra responsibilities of coordinating group events and supporting other mentors. Mentoring is a good chance to dip your feet into extra-curricular activities where you have real responsibility and can put your interpersonal skills to the test,” Jodie says.
She also regularly attended networking events. “I highly recommend students to attend networking events as they are great places to learn about what your future working life could be like,” Jodie says.
Jodie’s advice for current students:
- Take advantage of extra-curricular activities to get involved into: committees, case competitions, volunteering and more! There are plenty of valuable and fun activities for commerce students to be involved with. These experiences will enrich your university experience, allow you to meet more students and helps in career searching.
- Go overseas if you can. University is a great time to explore the world and challenge yourself as a young adult. I have not yet heard of a completely negative overseas study or work experience from anyone yet.
- Don’t overlook the soft skills. These include professional writing, presentation, interpersonal, teamwork and leadership skills. Make the most of the opportunities you get to write critical analysis essays, present content, answer questions in class and be a contributing team member - these skills are great to develop to prepare you for future job interviews and working life. Monash also offers a plethora of resources for career advice, resume writing and interview preparation.