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New country, new career: My journey from China to Bond University

Written by Master of Construction Practice (Professional) student Weisi Ma.

Ten years ago, I graduated from a university in China with an accounting degree, and started my professional career as a chartered accountant. I climbed the ladder at General Motors (GM), from my first position as an accountant in the finance department to financial manager and eventually, general manager of an automobile dealership. This decade of work experience taught me lots, but most importantly, it taught me that the best way to learn is to constantly challenge yourself and keep your mind ‘fresh’.

About two years ago, I became friends with someone in the engineering industry, and after a lot of discussion and research, developed a strong interest in this field as it sounded practical and interesting. Instead of pursuing engineering, I decided to chase a degree in the world of construction. I learned about Bond University and its global community of students from more than 90 countries. Its reputation as one of the best private universities in the southern hemisphere, and the high-quality facilities, got me interested.

Bond’s Master of Construction Practice (Professional) program is professionally recognised by some of Australia’s leading professional bodies and is recognised by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and the Australian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (AIQS). All of this combined with its smaller class sizes and faster delivery mode is why I decided to come to Australia and start my adventure at Bond.

Weisi Ma saw the Master of Construction Practice (Professional) degree at Bond as a way to pivot her career

Getting up to scratch on construction

My undergraduate major was accounting, and my subsequent work experience has nothing to do with construction. In the first semester of the Master of Construction Practice (Professional) program, I took the practical subject ‘Understanding Buildings’, which provided an overview of the building construction process. This subject helps students to adopt and learn how to use construction terminology.

One thing that made the transition into this degree easier was the friendly staff who are always willing to help. We usually add our professors on Teams, which means they can assist us and answer questions quickly – even at 10 o’clock at night. They’re that dedicated! Their professionalism and patience definitely win students over easily.

Bond also has the Academic Skills Centre to support students with writing essays, grammar, presentation tips, time management and exam preparation. Students are always welcome to contact the ASC and they will provide free guidance. Bond’s small teacher-to-student ratio meant I didn’t have to worry about accessing free English tutoring, either. As long as you’re willing to participate, all the resources are right there, waiting for you!

Receiving a scholarship to Bond

I studied at Bond University on an International Excellence Scholarship. When I was applying, I noticed that Bond had a range of scholarships not just for domestic students, but for international applicants as well. The scholarship meant I could focus on my studies, especially during the difficult COVID-19 period.

For anyone looking into scholarships at Bond, I’d firstly recommend you check the website or contact the Office of Future Students to hear more about eligibility criteria. There are a range of scholarships available to international students, so there will likely be something that suits you. When you apply for the scholarship, ensure you really showcase yourself and the things that make you stand out. Last, but not least, be confident and prepared!

I chose Bond to stand out in my construction career

My advice for future and prospective Bondies

For those wanting to study the Master of Construction Practice (Professional), here are a few things you should know:

  • The teachers are experienced industry leaders, who’ll teach you not only professional knowledge, but give you a well-rounded industry education
  • Small class sizes mean teachers know their students well, and give you the opportunity to interact and engage in class
  • The course content keeps pace with the times, meaning you’re always learning the latest industry software and staying competitive and up to date with the job market

If you don’t have any relevant experience in the construction industry but are interested in studying this degree, don’t worry – in your first semester, you’ll complete subjects that will lay the foundations for the rest of your course. As long as you’re willing to work hard, your teachers will be there every step of the way to provide you with advice and guidance. Actively participate in class discussions and communicate with your teachers and fellow students for the best possible experience.

On a personal note, the global opportunity Bond provides is like no other. Be an active member of the community, take part in activities and get to know people around you – after all, they may be your lifelong colleagues or friends.

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