Elise Giles attended Griffith University in Brisbane to study her undergraduate degree, Bachelor of Business. At the end of her studies she was awarded the Business Achievement Medal for the graduate with the highest overall achievement – truly embodying their maxim to ‘Be remarkable’. Elise now works as the Capability Development Manager for Asialink Business, Australia’s National Centre for Asia Capability in Melbourne, Australia.
Growing up in rural Queensland, I saw the fundamental role that small businesses play in the local economy and I aspired to do just that – create my own business. I knew I needed to undertake tertiary education to provide me with appropriate foundations, skills and experiences. I was looking for a program that would help develop a unique and competitive skillset, and one that could easily be transferred into a work context and relevant in specific industries. I was attracted to Griffith University as it offered a number of business specialisations that were of great interest, and also due to the Griffith Honours College, a program designed to help high achieving students who display leadership qualities and commitment to their communities, reach their full potential. Ultimately, I chose the program because I knew it would help me achieve my goals.
As a whole, I felt my program at Griffith was actually more practical that I expected, and found that I learned much more effectively from these pragmatic components. From work integrated learning, to community engagement and real life examples presented by leading academics, I could genuinely translate these learnings into the real world. It has prepared me for my engagement in government, and the private sector.
At Griffith, I was able to develop very strong relationships with academics as I had a real interest in the content being delivered and their research interests. I am still in contact with many academics at Griffith University who helped me throughout my studies and now continue to provide guidance to me in a professional setting.
One particular academic I stay connected with is Associate Professor Peter Woods, Director (International) of the Griffith Business School. In my first year of University, Peter delivered a course called “The Social context of Asian Business” and coincidentally I undertook the elective course. To this day I still remember the stories Peter told of how to engage with Indonesia – Australia’s closest neighbour, to the importance and value of South Korea’s chaebol in their economy. The cultural complexities were intriguing, and I just wanted to learn more about the Asia region. I had never stepped foot out of Australia, however this course really planted the seed for me to begin this engagement. Peter’s teaching really helped to pivot my career – from a pure domestic focus, to thinking globally and how to capitalise on the opportunities Asia presents.