This post was co-written by Anna Nordon and Amanda Sampol.

Ever wondered what our students take away with them when they start working in industry? We were curious, so we asked UTS graduates that work at Telstra, KPMG, Jigsaw (Fighting Chance) and Uber about their student learning experience. In particular, we wanted to know how they put their learning into practice and their words of advice for teachers and their fellow peers.

How can we ensure that what we are teaching students is industry-relevant and useful for their professional developmentWith this in mind, we asked recent graduates to provide honest feedback about their university education with hindsight gained through their experiences of working in industry. What we discovered was the profound impact universities have not only on educating, but inspiring students, as the future thinkers of tomorrow.

In the interest of improving learning and teaching practices in the higher-ed space, we’ve collated these insights below to offer actionable advice to both students and teachers.

Aim to inspire your students

Students do not want to sit and listen to case studies that have been repeated year after year. To truly engage your students, be creative with how you deliver course content and the case studies you use.

“Teachers need to also understand that while it is the students responsibility to make the most of their education, teachers still need to be motivational, interactive, aspirational and take responsibility.”

Provide students with real world learning experiences

Many students crave experience – they want to be able to see how the theory they learn works in practical applications, “more workshops, placements and excursions”. Gaining experience with real clients allows students to understand how different world views and personalities can shape their professional practices.

“A part of my law degree involved working in a legal centre which exposed me to a multitude of clients that experienced stress, anxiety or trauma. Learning how to carefully frame my questions, my tone and my demeanour has been particularly useful in business settings where I deal with clients that may exude similar traits.”

Encourage your students to be proactive about their education

“Be self-driven and do not let the limitations of your assessment/course dictate what you gain from your degree. No-one is going to encourage you to do what you want, other than you.”

Encourage your students to seek different kinds of opportunities and look at what the university experience can offer them beyond formal course requirements. Encourage them to compliment their course studies with external workshops e.g. General Assembly to enhance their skills, or join a society to expand their professional networks.

“I learnt the importance of giving without the need to receive, through my volunteering experiences with The Big Lift (A student society at UTS). This has been valuable in my professional life as it has provided me a lens to understand my value to others and myself in the non-for-profit sector.”

“Joining 2 societies I’ve met some really smart, intellectual, driven and ambitious students who have inspired me in so many different ways.”

This blog post was co-written by Anna Nordon and Amanda Sampol

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