By Belinda Coniglio, current student of the University of Sydney Business School MBA program
As a child, there were many things that I had considered for a career including dance school owner and dance teacher, doctor, chef and primary school teacher. When my high school Italian teacher asked me to include my future aspirations in a presentation for my tertiary entrance exam, apart from a vision of great success, I had not defined one clear path for my career and I recall telling my esteemed teacher my two passions: writing and travel. “I see you in the diplomatic corps!” The diplomatic corps? At the time I was not aware of the field of international relations, yet the idea inspired me to travel a path that shaped the next sixteen years of my life through three degrees, study abroad, and employment in politics, marketing and law, while I submitted countless applications to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
There was no doubt about my tenacity or persistence in achieving my dream: I moved to Canberra in 2010 to understand the market and government clients as a lawyer before accepting contract positions to tailor my resume to government with a focus on international relations. In 2013, I finally arrived at the RG Casey building in Barton then, relocated to Brisbane to continue the pursuit of my dream. Did my job correlate to my vision? Sure, I had exposure to international relations, but was I free flowing, fulfilled and importantly, was there scope to reach my full potential, particularly when my employer did not support my MBA studies? In that moment, I understood Avicii’s lyrics, “All this time I was finding myself, and I didn’t know I was lost!” Confronting the answer was like admitting to oneself that a lover with excellent credentials is simply not right for you. I resigned from my position to start my own business.
Excited about my new entrepreneurial pathway, I was excited when MBA students were invited to a University of Sydney Business School alumni event hosted in conjunction with Sydney Genesis, a startup program that supports young entrepreneurs, passionate about their business ideas. The event held on 17 July 2014 was the first of the young alumni “Millennial Series”, and featured a panel discussion with Brendon Burwood, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Ipac Financial Care; Charlie Caruso, Digital Media and Social Entrepreneur; Matt Symons, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Society One; and Darren Williams, Chief Technology Officer, Freelancer.com. During the Q&A style discussion, moderated by Dr Eric Knight, Senior Lecturer in Innovation and Management, the four inspiring entrepreneurs shared their success and pitfalls. The evening was also an opportunity for me to present a ninety-second entrepreneurial pitch for my new founded business: Ideas and Impact.
If you are wondering what your passion is, Brendon Burwood suggested that you ask yourself “what do I feel excited about?” Entrepreneur Phillip Di Bella believes that “passion, vision and brand are three elements critical to entrepreneurial success.” Now free to explore my passions, I am excited about the next unit of my MBA, the International Business Project – a ten day course in Shanghai working with Chinese businesses – and realising my vision.