Vivien Tran

Vivien Tran

Vivien Tran

  • Student type: Domestic
  • Degree type: Double Degree
  • Year commenced: 2018
  • Degree(s): Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Information Technology
  • Specialisation: Business Information Systems and Business Analytics

Delight and deliver

I’ve been drawn to STEM subjects all throughout high school – particularly the way technology can be harnessed to help people on a global scale.

When I attended Monash’s Open Day, my mind had been set on a different degree entirely. However it was the Faculty of IT’s presentation – showcasing all the opportunities on offer for an IT student during and after their degree – that made me reconsider my decision.

I knew I’d made the right decision when the subject I’d been dreading the most in semester one turned out to be my favourite of them all!

Choosing to future-proof

I chose Monash because its IT courses are structured in a way that offers you the most job security after graduation. It also has far-reaching double degree options that broaden your skills and allow you the flexibility to explore different disciplines.

Further, Monash has a renowned Industry-based Learning (IBL) program which provides students with the opportunity to gain practical work experience as part of their degree.

As I was unsure what career I wanted to pursue after graduation, these two factors were major selling points for me when deciding on a university.

Acquiring coveted work experience

I completed two work experience programs during my undergraduate degree.

The first was an internship at Deloitte as a Summer Vacationer in its Tech Strategy and Transformation stream. Given that it was my first professional role that related to my course, the internship was an invaluable learning experience. Over the summer break, I contributed to a major project, met many new people and learned the nitty-gritty of consulting.

I also completed my IBL placement at ANZ in its Tech Assurance team where my role was to report on the organisation’s risk position. I learned the ins and outs of executive reporting, risk management and dealing with regulatory engagements.

Best of all – I secured a full-time position within my team when my placement ended. I’ve been studying part-time at Monash ever since until I complete my undergraduate degree.

Monash Clubs – the icing on the cake

The highlight of my course has been the student clubs I’ve participated in – the Monash Association of Coding (MAC), diversIT and the Commerce and Computing Association (CCA).

Monash ran its first virtual hackathon while I was in MAC! I assisted with marketing and we managed to achieve an amazing turnout of over 200 participants. The hackathon itself was lots of fun. Over the course of two weeks, students built a tech product in groups of four to six while being mentored by experts from Canva, Atlassian and NAB.

I’ve loved meeting like-minded people while doing my bit to make the university experience more enjoyable for other students. And in many ways, the student club experience simulates a work environment because you gain exposure to soft skills like teamwork, strategy planning and taking meeting minutes. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve drawn on these unique experiences during a job interview.

My only regret is that I didn't think to get involved sooner! I was quite shy at the start of my degree, so participating in student clubs would’ve been a great way for me to step out of my comfort zone.

Leaning on world-leading researchers

The biggest challenge of my undergraduate degree was starting it with no technical or coding experience. It was a steep learning curve for sure, but I found a lot of support and empathy from my tutors.

My goal after graduation is to explore other areas in tech. I've gotten a taste of consulting and risk management, but there are still many other intriguing avenues – such as business analyst roles and project management – that I’d like to dip my toes in.

Safe to be yourself

It can be intimidating studying in a male-dominated field, however Monash is proactive in creating opportunities for women in IT to get to know and support one another. One such opportunity is diversIT, a student club whose mission is to support underrepresented students studying a tech degree. It runs social and career-related events to provide safe spaces for students to meet like-minded people.

As a woman in IT, I was also given the opportunity in 2019 to attend the inaugural Hopper Down Under conference in Brisbane which aims to empower women technologists in the Asia-Pacific. It was an inspiring experience meeting students like me all the way to established women CEOs.

Pearls of wisdom for future students

My main advice for anyone starting their IT degree is to be proactive, but know that you don't have to have everything figured out from day one. There will be many opportunities to learn about different career paths. What captivates you will become clearer the more you explore.

A double degree of Bachelor of IT and Bachelor of Commerce is a great starting point for someone who generally enjoys STEM subjects, but isn’t the greatest fan of science or maths. The degree is broad, so you get to try out many areas of interest before deciding on your major.