Building networks has helped Manni Deol forge a bright future in logistics and supply chain management.
While working at a logistics distribution centre, a workplace mentor encouraged Manni to head to university. He didn’t know then how much this advice would change his life.
Manni is in the final year of the Bachelor of Business (Logistics and Supply Chain Management) (Applied). The four-year program has a strong focus on the global marketplace and real-world experience.
Last year Manni participated in the Cooperative Education Program – a 12-month paid work placement that he describes as invaluable.
“The Co-op year not only gave me industry experience in the real world, but helped me develop professionally and personally,” he said.
“I now have a clearer picture of where I want to go and can select my electives based on the career path I want to focus on.”
The prospect of undertaking an industry placement was initially daunting, but Manni said thorough preparation eased his nerves.
“During my first two years of study I attended workshops that were run by RMIT staff to get me prepared for my co-op year,” he said.
“I was learning how to write resumes and getting myself ready for interviews.
“While undertaking my work placement I had to step out of my comfort zone a fair bit and deal with people who had different skills and who were at various levels of management.
“It was a big cultural learning curve.”
Throughout his studies Manni has worked in part-time roles and has lived away from home. Teamwork has played a key role in his life at RMIT and he has found support through the Student Learning Advisor Mentors, the university counselling services and the teaching staff.
Last year he secured a job with pharmaceutical company GSK, working as a Procurement Associate in their Boronia manufacturing facility.
The job has allowed Manni to put knowledge learned at RMIT immediately into practice.
“The role is extremely hands-on in a manufacturing environment,” he said.
“Things are always changing from one day to the next week. So you have to be really agile and ready to troubleshoot.
“My team is small and it’s important to have clear lines of communication. We also need to be able to feed into senior management in Australia and throughout the Asia Pacific region.”
Manni’s studies have been complemented by his volunteer role at the Victorian State Emergency Service, which he says have strengthened his interpersonal and leadership skills.
He hopes to build on these skills and extend his industry knowledge through RMIT’s global mobility programs. These include exchange and cross-campus studies with partnering universities as well as study tours and international internships.
After graduating Manni has his sights set on finding a job in the procurement and supply chain industry.
For those hoping to take on the Bachelor of Business (Logistics and Supply Chain Management) (Applied), he suggests developing a network of contacts through industry experience.
“My tip is to get any work experience either volunteer or through a placement,” he said.
“Don’t burn any bridges. Build on connections and stay in touch.”
Story: Kate Jones