7 reasons why joining a student society can help your career
Getting involved in a student society while you complete your university studies is not only great for your social life, it can also help you develop skills, experience and networks that are invaluable when it comes to finding a job and building your career.
Nina Frost, President of the UTS Business Society (BSoc) says to get the most out of your university experience, it is important to be open to the new situations, people, ideas and experiences.
“BSoc is a society run by students for students, so we offer career related events, upskilling opportunities and social events to give students a holistic university experience and take learning beyond the classroom,” Ms Frost says.
“In semester one we really focus on first year students, so we have our first year’s guide, which was released last week, and an orientation camp at the end of March for three days, which we tie in with our mentoring program,” she says.
Ms Frost is completing a combined degree in business and engineering, and says she took part in a number of activities held by BSoc before signing up to become a member. She then decided to run for president at the end of her second year at university.
“The past two years at UTS have been some of the best of my life. I have learnt and experienced so much more than just the readings and questions in textbooks,” she says.
“Being part of a society definitely helps your career prospects because it shows that you are willing to get involved and make the most of your time at university. It has already helped me.”
Along with BSoc, other UTS Business School affiliated societies include the UTS Postgraduate Business Society, UTS Microfinance Society, UTS Investment Society, UTS Economics Society and UTS Beta Alpha Psi, as well as many sporting and other special interest groups.
Beta Alpha Psi is an internationally recognised organisation that offers the opportunity for students to travel and compete in international case study competitions. UTS students recently travelled to both Hungary and the US for competitions.
Seven reasons why joining a university society can help your career:
Develop soft skills
Soft skills include things like communication and organisational skills, confidence and attitude. Ms Frost says just coming along to social events and networking opportunities can help students build their confidence.
“There are many opportunities to develop communication and written skills, including the BSoc blog, as well as building public speaking and presentation skills through BSoc events and workshops,” she says.
Knowing how to work well with a team is an essential skill for any career. Ms Frost says BSoc offers lots of opportunities for teamwork, as there are more than 40 committee members and seven portfolios, including in areas such as sponsorship, social justice, sports and innovation.
“The society also runs case competitions, which require teamwork skills, and we host more than thirty events a year so there is always something going on,” she says.
Build your network
Meeting fellow students, making connections, and building relationships will all help when it comes time to look for a job. The UTS Business Society has strong connections with industry including more than 10 companies that sponsor the society each year.
“We host networking nights with individual companies such as Macquarie Bank, where students can meet and hear from professionals working in the field. Our mentoring programs and careers guide launch night also offer great networking opportunities,” says Ms Frost.
Practice skills you’ve learned in class
Students can take the skills they have learnt in the classroom, whether it’s accounting, marketing or events management, and grow and develop them in a safe and nurturing environment, unlike an internship, which can be a bit daunting, says Ms Frost.
“They can put their skills to the test in real-world situations, and learn what works and what doesn’t. This includes navigating the different systems, from reimbursements, payments and invoicing, to liaising with established firms,” she says.
Engage with diverse groups
Diversity is a big focus for us, says Ms Frost. “This is the first year we have had 50% female representation on our executive team, and we have people from all different cultural and ethnic backgrounds,” she says.
Learning to interact across cultures helps students to become more effective leaders, and prepares them for a diverse workforce,” she says. “Taking part in international competitions can also lead to great cultural awareness.”
Gain leadership skills
There are lots of leadership opportunities when you become involved in a student society, and it’s not just about titles, it’s about seeing what needs to be done and taking the initiative, says Ms Frost.
“People who are prepared to take initiative often end up in leadership positions, because you need people who are going to get things done and be accountable for themselves and their work. Leadership within BSoc is about planning and interacting with fellow students, as well as with faculty and industry partners,” she says.
Expand your resume
Everyone is at university for a similar length of time, so it is about making the most of it and getting involved, and that is what can help you stand out from the crowd, says Ms Frost.
“It does look good on your resume. Being part of a society shows that you are willing to get involved, work hard and take responsibility outside of the classroom and the requirements of your degree.”