Business and commerce graduates are found in the most unexpected of places. They lead marketing teams in the tourism industry, empower women in tech to reach their potential overseas, and are even responsible for hospitality revolutions. There are no limits to the industries and organisations seeking out business and commerce specialists.
Studying commerce was the perfect fit for Susan Saldanha, a student with big aspirations for a career in the health sector. Back in India, most of Susan’s family work in healthcare, and she knew she wanted to work in the sector. However, she knew she didn’t want to pursue the traditional route of studying medicine.
A natural leader with great management skills, Susan considered a future career in management within the health sector. She began researching degrees in Australia, and landed on a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Health Sciences double degree at La Trobe. By combining degrees in commerce and health sciences, Susan knew she’d be setting herself up for a bright future with an in-demand skill set. Just like her family, she’d be able to establish a career in the health sector, ultimately helping to improve the lives of others.
“La Trobe provides such unique courses that really give you that competitive advantage when you go out into the field,” she says.
“I also love the support here at the University. It’s enabling me to turn my passion into my profession. We’ve got such fantastic tutors, lecturers and guest speakers that you can always rely on.”
To build upon her global experience, Susan travelled to Mexico City to complete a short course. She also undertook a business placement in a hospital setting in London—a real-world experience that opened her eyes to another country’s medical system: the NHS. There, she helped to identify opportunities for improvement within her placement hospital.
Outside study and placements, Susan has been gaining plenty of experience in health promotion as the 2019 President of the La Trobe Public Health Students’ Association. The volunteer position has seen Susan heavily involved in campaigns on campus.
Susan has also seized opportunities to volunteer within the wider community. Through CHASE, she manages a team of five volunteers all working together to improve the health literacy of high school students.
“I love how many opportunities there are to go on placement, volunteer and get involved at La Trobe. It has allowed me to develop outside of my academic studies as well. It’s a great way to put the knowledge I learn in my course into practice.”
Susan has also thrown herself into assisting international students to settle into life in Australia and find their place at La Trobe. And, she’s been recognised for her efforts.
Her dedication to supporting new international students landed Susan the top prize in the Higher Education category at the coveted 2019 Victorian International Education Awards.
Despite her accolades, international experiences, real-world placements and volunteering gigs, Susan acknowledges the ‘soft’ transferable skills she’s developing along the way will be key to making her irreplaceable in her future profession.
“As a student, I’ve spent a lot of time working on certain skills that I can take out into the workforce,” she says. “One of these is emotional intelligence. It’s so important, especially as a manager. It’s about putting yourself in someone else’s shoes when you’re working, and thinking about things from a different perspective. That ability in leadership is what makes you irreplaceable.”
With ambitions bigger than most, Susan hopes to one day shape global public health policy. After completing an Honours year in public health, she plans to begin her career managing health promotion projects. She’ll then pursue clinic management with the aim of becoming a medical administrator.
She knows the world of business within the health sector is rapidly changing. The growing presence of digital solutions within the sector are shaking things up. But La Trobe is home to world-leading digital business and analytics experts. And as a student in La Trobe’s digital-first business school, Susan feels prepared for the changes that lie ahead.
Equip yourself with the skills you’ll need to adapt to the changing future of business and commerce at La Trobe University.