From India to Australia – Atharva Desai’s Masters at Swinburne University


Do you have any special friends and teachers at Swinburne that you want to share?

“All my friends are special, but I want to name a few who have walked with me in my academic journey. They are Dr Mark Dale, Dr Paul Scifleet, Dr Michael Shumanov and Dr Ashir Ahmed. They have given me tremendous support and encouragement throughout my course, and we remain good friends. They were always available to answer any questions I may have, and our relationship was not only about the two hours in the classes, but they would sit down with me and help me plan for my future work. When I had any doubts, they would go out of their way to help me find the answers.

“I’d also like to mention Olivia Doyle here, she is the International Student Advisor who played a vital role in setting me up to find part-time and full-time employment. I scheduled multiple sessions with Olivia where she was phenomenal in helping me understand Australian job market and formulate both long-term and short-term employment plans and ensured I was ready whenever an opportunity arose. Olivia helped me to create a strong resume, put me in touch with a few really influential people in my line of work, and also conducted demo interviews and feedback sessions. Her encouragement & support has gone a long way in my journey down under. This was much appreciated as when I jumped into the working world, I realised that all the things my teachers helped me with were very relevant to the things I have to deal with at work. One thing I learned from the university is that the relationship between teachers and students can be built beyond that line, and you do feel like they are more like friends. The fact that I am an international student didn’t mean I received less support. I felt they paid a great deal of attention to me and were always asking how I was doing or how my family was back at home. They were interested in how I was adapting to learning and living in Australia. You know when you are living far away from home, this kind of support helps you feel less lonely and it made my life here a lot more meaningful.”

Did you work part-time during your studies?

“Yes, I did. I started working in the hospitality industry to start with, and then I worked in a retail shop and finally landed a part-time job at Swinburne University as customer service support before obtaining full-time employment after graduation.”

Did you do any voluntary or community activities?

“Yes, here in Melbourne there is an op-shop called the Holland Foundation. It’s a type of not-for-profit organisation where they have their own retail op shop, but they also run it as a business to help on-board international students, hire people who are in career changes or mothers returning to work after maternity leave.  They train them in retail and administration aspects, managing the shop, managing the accounts, dealing with finances and its run to a great program which essentially empowers them. So, when I started there, I was doing some regular work in the store, and then progressed into a shop manager and team leader. At the end of the program, they gave me a certificate of appreciation. While I was volunteering my time, I was also able to meet a lot of people and learned a bunch from different backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities which further developed my communication, leadership, and management skills.”

Tell us about your achievements

“I was the recipient of the “Swinburne Emerging Leader Award” for successfully demonstrating seven exemplary employability skills across five categories.  And the second award was the Tableau Award for being the highest achieving postgraduate student in the Data Analytics and Visualisations subject.  One of the units we had was taught in collaboration with Tableau company and the ceremony was celebrated in the town hall. It was quite a big one and I feel very proud of it. Last year, our organization participated in the world’s first ever “DACathon”. (A hackathon focused on blockchain technology). I was able to showcase the entrepreneurial skills I learnt during one of our industry-based units and lead our team to deliver a project pitch to win the “people’s choice award” for the tournament by getting maximum votes from the audience. This event was broadcasted live all over the world on YouTube.”

How did you find your first job after graduation?

“In my last semester at the University of Swinburne, I was doing an internship with a company called Parsl Pty Ltd. After I finished my internship and graduated from university, the company offered me a Business Analyst position. It was interesting the way it happened because I completed the internship as my elective unit as it was not offered in my course. I requested the university to give me the flexibility to do that internship because I wanted to have the opportunity to work in the industry in Australia. I was lucky my GPA met the requirements and I’m grateful to Dr Isaac Balbin (CEO) and Zachary Lang (COO) for giving me an opportunity to undertake an internship and offer me a full-time role after that with Parsl.

“Parsl is an organization utilizing blockchain technology to implement an efficient, transparent and safe supply chain. I love my job! My main responsibilities included formulating and documenting business requirements, gathering and analysing requirements, and developing functional specifications of the system.  I also create system specifications for design and development using data and process modelling, acting as a central reference and information sources between business and technology units, and stakeholder management. The more I work, the more I appreciate the skills and knowledge I have acquired during my master’s degree at Swinburne.”

Top 5 things you love about Swinburne?

  1. First is the industry collaboration. I cannot stress enough on the importance of this kind of engagement! Almost all our units have great industry collaboration. I remember for two subjects, we went into the industry to spend two days a week to study with the people who are actually working in the organisation. That provided us with a real picture of what working in the industry looks like.
  2. Second, the level of student support from Swinburne. Every time I encountered difficulties, I would have someone visit on campus to seek help.
  3. Third, the number of extra-curricular activities that were conducted by Swinburne were pretty good. There were so many events happening before, during and after each semester. The university campus was enjoyable as well, not always just concentrating on studying.
  4. The openness of the staff. Every unit, I always met with the professor to discuss learning. I remember one time, even though it was around 8:30pm after teaching time, my professor was still happy to stay back and had a chat with me on some of the questions I had.
  5. Last but not least, there are so many opportunities available for me at Swinburne. Based on what I was interested in, there was always something there to choose from.

Top 5 things you love about Melbourne?

  1. The cultural diversity and inclusiveness of the people. Everyone is warm, welcoming and there are simply just good vibes floating throughout the city.
  2. I’m a sports fanatic and Melbourne is home to some of the world’s most famous sporting events including Australian Open, the Boxing Day Cricket Test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, AFL, Formula 1 racing and so much more. There’s something for all sports fans!
  3. The city’s interlocking laneways; with an eclectic range of restaurants, street art, hidden cafes. Not to forget some famous festivals like the Melbourne Comedy Festival, the Melbourne International Film Festival and the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Also, the beach is close by which is great.
  4. Outstanding theatres, museums, art galleries, libraries and some beautiful wineries are only a short drive from the city. It’s so easy to get away on weekends and make the most of your time.
  5. Numerous parks and open public spaces like Fitzroy Gardens, Royal Botanic Gardens all which provide ample opportunities to relax, get some peace and solitude along the tree-lined pathways. I made the most of this during some study breaks!

Overall, Melbourne is a great city to live, work and study!