Bond University commerce and law student Toby Speck has proven he is among Australia's most employable emerging student leaders after taking out the prize for entrepreneurship and innovation at the Top 100 Future Leaders Awards, run by leading student employment website, GradConnection.
Of the 100 finalists, Toby was named the winner of the Westpac Group Technology Innovation and Entrepreneur Award, earning him a coveted internship in Westpac's innovation division.
The Top 100 Future Leaders competition was a nationwide search for emerging leadership talent among Australian universities, with students undergoing a 'best-practice' graduate recruitment process that entailed submitting a resume and cover letter, psychometric testing, a group interview and individual presentations.
Toby will begin the induction process at Westpac's new Barangaroo office this Friday (February 19), with an intensive week-long internship to follow in the company's innovation division working under Westpac's senior manager of innovation strategy, Stevie-Ann Dovico.
"I am lucky enough to be joining six fellow Top 100 Future Leader finalists in Westpac's GroupTech internship program," he said.
"The program is run through Westpac's innovation division, which is essentially a division of Westpac dedicated to facilitating innovation and solving emerging technological problems within the business.”
"Westpac is Australia's oldest company and has grown to be such a progressive corporate environment with great job security, so I am looking forward to the experience and the chance to learn from Westpac's leaders in corporate innovation."
Toby said the objective of the Top 100 Future Leaders competition was to expose students to the process of a graduate assessment centre and identify future leaders in their respective industries.
"It was so interesting to take part in a real bleeding-edge recruitment process and meet other like-minded students from various disciplines," he said.
"Within the category of 'entrepreneurship and innovation' there was such a broad spectrum of students from law to communications to engineering, and it felt like a real meeting of the minds.
"The competition was very high-tech; it was great to be exposed to this level of testing so early in my degree to prepare me for the process post-graduation.
"One element of the testing required us to take part in what was essentially a gamified psychometric test called Theme Park Hero, which tested our mental agility, cognitive speed and spatial aptitude."
Toby is midway through a double degree in commerce and law at Bond University, and last year took part in the Bond Business Accelerator (BBA), an entrepreneurial program designed to provide practical skills to commercialise and teach the next generation of leaders to think creatively in a fast-changing global business environment.
Through the program, Toby developed the business model for his start-up 'Thryft' - an app designed to deposit a small contribution, between 20 cents and $2, into a savings vehicle every time users make a purchase, enabling them to save between $600 to $1,000 a year.
"The skills that I learnt throughout the BBA program were invaluable and gave me an edge throughout the Top 100 Future Leaders process," he said.
"In today's competitive workplace, entrepreneurial skills such as the ability to think creatively, adapt and make fast-decisions are essential for success and BBA really helped me to further develop these capabilities."
Toby recently returned from an exchange program at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark where he worked for an enterprise innovation start-up called 'Ideanote', an artificially intelligent network for corporations that allows for co-workers to collaborate and share ideas within the corporate hierarchy.
"In my three months in Denmark at the Copenhagen Business School I was able to work with Ideanote, drafting legal contracts for them in English before a Danish law firm undertook any amendments and translation, a process that equated to a sixty percent reduction in legal fees," he said.
"During this time, the company also successfully raised $200,000 in a seed investment round and also signed a global accounting firm.”