Placement Course delivers dream jobs for graduates

12 May 2008

Two UQ Business School graduates have proven the value of the School's Business Industry Placement Course after scoring dream jobs with PricewaterhouseCoopers, the world's largest professional services firm.

Erik Ekevall, 26, of Fortitude Valley, began the placement course (RBUS3999) at PricewaterhouseCoopers in the first semester of 2006, while Kalan Douglas, 24, from St Lucia began in early 2007.

The two young men impressed their temporary bosses and were offered full-time jobs, in Mr Ekevall's case, even before he finished the course, allowing him to finish his studies part-time. "I was given the opportunity to work with great people on a very interesting project and apply some of the skills I had learned at UQBS into a real-life situation," said Mr Ekevall, who is now a Senior Consultant in the Strategy and Operations Team in PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory practice. "I was very happy with the academic rigor of my Bachelor of Business Management degree, and the placement course really appealed to me because it allowed me to apply some of the tools I had developed as well as giving me the opportunity to work alongside some of the most talented business leaders in Australia," he said. Mr Douglas agreed, saying: "The business degree gives a solid theoretical grounding - and this course really builds on that framework by letting you get involved in real and practical problem solving for real clients".

Mr Douglas was invited to start at PwC as a Consultant in the Strategy and Operations Team just a month after graduating from UQ with a dual Bachelor of Business and Bachelor of Economics degree. He has no doubt he has the placement course to thank for his position. "Being offered this job was a direct result of doing the course," Mr Douglas said. "It was fantastic, and was an experience I couldn't have arranged by myself. "I had to do some hard work while I was here (at PwC), but the fact that I had my foot in the door was one of the most important aspects the course provided."

UQBS academic and course co-ordinator Liz Ferrier said the placements enabled students to gain greater insight into the realities of communication and management in organisational settings. Dr Ferrier said PricewaterhouseCoopers was a good example of a top-level company that had recognised the win-win nature of programs like this and, as a result, had formed a strong ongoing partnership with UQ which would see more placement positions available in the future. "This placement course is an important and valuable part of our degree, not just for the students but also for the employers," she said. "You can do all the interviews and psych tests you like, but there is nothing more valuable than having a potential employee embedded in your company for five weeks where you can see how he or she interacts with other employees and just how capable and intelligent they are at what they do. "For the students, the hands-on experience is wonderful, allowing them to build on a solid theoretical framework and put all their knowledge into practice as well as making important connections in the relevant industry."