UOWx Feature - Brianna Townsend

How does a vibrant 21 year old girl from the University of Wollongong cut through thousands of applicants to attain the highly sought after graduate position at EY - one of the ‘Big Four’ global professional services organisations? You study hard, strategically build your resume with UOWx and get involved in every opportunity you can – that’s how.

Right now, Brianna Townsend is mixing, mingling and working hard in the EY Sydney office. She is one of 260,000 employees, spread over 700 offices, in over 150 countries. Together, this team of people strive to build a better working world on a global scale. In Brianna’s words, she has "secured her dream job."

To get there though, she had to transition from being quite nerve wracked when she first started at the University of Wollongong, to a confident, knowledgeable professional ready to solve the toughest problems on the planet at EY. Brianna achieved this with inner tenacity and intelligence, and demonstrated that she had made this transition to EY through UOWx.

"I first heard about UOWx recognised activities when I became a Peer Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) Leader. I thought it was a great way to add various experiences to my resume with formal recognition through the UOWx Award upon graduation. I do not believe I would have had such a diverse experience in learning so many different skills if I had not participated in this program."

Brianna was clearly motivated to get involved in co-curricular activities but the importance of UOWx is that it formally recognises what is achieved outside of the classroom. It’s not just a tick of a box either – it is recognition of experiences, involvement and skills that employers have specified they want in graduates.

As Brianna excelled in the accounting and finance majors of her Commerce degree, she also went above and beyond helping other students academically and socially in various UOWx recognised programs.

"I worked with the PASS [Peer Assisted Study Sessions] team quite frequently as my first UOWx recognised activity was a PASS Leader, which I continued with until I finished university. It was a great experience being able to work in collaborative environments by being able to assist other students. I additionally worked as a PASS [Peer Assisted Study Sessions] Senior Mentor, ITAP [Indigenous Tailored Academic Program] Tutor and a Student Helper at the Southern Sydney campus. These experiences have all been incredibly valuable to me as I was able to learn how to work effectively in group environments, and improve my time management and communication skills. I believe that such opportunities have really assisted in preparing me to step into the workforce." 

These roles and experiences were recorded on Brianna’s UOWx Record, alongside the skills that were formally gained by completing them. She also did a summer internship at EY to really get a taste of what working there would be like and after that, she knew it was exactly where she wanted to be.

When the time came to apply for the EY graduate program, Brianna had her Commerce degree near completion, an internship under her belt, the UOWx Award and a solid UOWx Record of co-curricular achievements to really demonstrate what she was about. She had mentored students with their written communication skills and meeting deadlines, so completing her own application on time and to a high standard was assured. She had also attended networking evenings, given speeches and run workshops with large groups of people on a regular basis honing her oral communication skills and confidence for interviews.

So we say again - how does a 21 year old girl from UOW cut through thousands of applicants to attain the highly sought after graduate position at EY? By building a resume and record of experiences and skills that cannot be ignored.

A final word of advice from Brianna, “Take part in work experiences that come your way and enjoy your time at university as it goes very quickly.” Brianna Townsend Bachelor of Commerce (Dean’s Scholar) (Accountancy & Finance) - EY Graduate

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