Date posted: 30/09/2020

CA student rep Emma Tibballs on why it’s important to get involved at university

We speak to Emma Tibballs, CA student rep and recipient of Monash Business School’s 2020 Future Global Leader Award, about why it is important to make the most of every opportunity at university.

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“Being at university is a fantastic time to learn as much as humanly possible. Of course, learn from your degree but also from others who are in your shoes or are working in industries that you might be interested in,” Emma says.

From her first year at Monash University, Emma Tibballs has felt passionate and excited about participating in student-led initiatives and extracurricular activities.

She knew these experiences would not only be fun, but could also help her build strong friendships, experience international cultures, and prepare her for life after university. So, she motivated herself to get as involved as possible.

“As well as undertaking internships and studying international units during my degree, I’ve been involved in four different student societies taking on various leadership roles. I was the Sponsorship Director of Monash Accounting Students’ Association, Vice-President of Monash’s Beta Alpha Psi leadership program, and I was on the subcommittee for Monash’s Gender Equality Club. I was also a project consultant at Global Consulting Group, which provides pro bono consulting services to not-for-profit and social enterprises,” Emma says. 

“For me, it is about seeking opportunities that align with my values and passions.” 

If you thought studying a Bachelor of Commerce at Monash University, with Accounting and Behavioural Commerce majors, and actively involving herself with student life made for a busy schedule, Emma also added the role of a CA student rep into the mix. She says that becoming a rep gave her opportunities to grow as an individual, both personally and professionally.  

“Being a CA student rep helped me build on the skills and confidence I was developing in my other extra-curricular activities. It provided me with opportunities to talk to a diverse range of people in different situations and from different industries,” says Emma. 

“For me, one of my biggest takeaways is that if I have an idea, I should always voice it knowing that others will, more often than not, support me in its implementation. Having this autonomy and sense of responsibility allowed me to develop and use my skills and network to turn my ideas into reality.” 

As an active member of extracurricular activities and student societies, Emma says that she has gained many skills that have been strengthened by being a CA student rep.

She cites an exciting experience while being a CA student rep where she facilitated the first industry sponsorship for Monash University’s Gender Equality club with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand. 

“The partnership with CA was definitely well-aligned due to the values held by CA and the way in which the organisation shows that they prioritise equality, whether it be gender, racial, sexual orientation, age, or any other facet of diversity,” says Emma. 

“I immediately thought of CA for the partnership, as their motto is ‘become a difference maker’. The idea of making a positive difference in the world is definitely what triggered the idea of connecting CA with the Gender Equality club. I also know that Chartered Accountants are agents of corporate social responsibility and social impact. Rather than focusing solely on the bottom line, today’s world needs a combination of profit, people, planet, passion, and purpose.”

Surround yourself with people who inspire you, motivate you, challenge you, and uplift you. If you find these people, and if you are the same for them, you can go into any area and make positive change.

For Emma, participating in student societies and other extra-curricular activities while studying at university presented her with an opportunity to grow and develop both personally and professionally. She says that her involvement in such activities helped her discover where her passions and interests lie, meet like-minded people, and find opportunities to put her learnings from uni into practice. 

“I think being involved in as many areas of Uni as possible allows you to meet and work with like-minded people who end up becoming your really close friends given the amount of time spent bouncing ideas with each other and working together to achieve a common goal. You also get to learn about yourself, your passions, and your values which can help you when deciding what areas you might like to explore when starting your career,” says Emma. 

“So many extra-curricular activities provide the opportunity to apply the skills and learnings from Uni to a real-world context. You can use your skills to help others, whether it be the community or the wider world.”

As Emma waves goodbye to university life, she enters into two new roles: one as Director of Finance at Oaktree, a non-profit youth-run organisation, and the other in a strategy and operations role at entrepreneurial education program, Illuminate Education Australia. 

Emma is excited to continue making the most out of the new opportunities and challenges ahead of her. She encourages other students to consider partaking in a range of diverse experiences and being as involved as possible while studying at university. 

“Surround yourself with people who inspire you, motivate you, challenge you, and uplift you. If you find these people, and if you are the same for them, you can go into any area and make positive change.”     

Considering becoming a CA student rep?

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