‘Vac’ work. What is it? When do I apply for it? How does it benefit me? These were questions I had the moment I joined UQBA. Did I miss something, how had I not heard of it before? I did some digging and tracked down a student in his final year, past president of UQBA, Vihan Muthanna, to grill him on all my questions about vacation work. His tips and hints enhanced my knowledge so much so that I felt it was vital to share with the remainder of the UQBA student base.
What is ‘Vac Work’?
Essentially, vac work encompasses three main characteristics: paid work opportunities, directly related to your degree, and offered to penultimate year students. Vihan stated that, ‘it enables students to gain an insight into the culture of a firm.’ Adding to this, is the opportunity for firms to get to know you, as a student, and more importantly how well you adapt to a work environment.
How did you find out about it?
There is no doubt that the life of a university student is busy! However, Vihan noted that it is important to stay tuned into student society events. When at these gatherings, get your network on! Chatting to firm reps can be daunting, but everyone must begin somewhere.
What was the process for applying?
Surprisingly, a vac work application is very similar to applying for a standard job: cover letter and CV are mandatory. Additionally, you are required to fill out a few short behavioural responses, followed by a video interview and online testing. Vihan mentioned that if you manage to impress up until this stage, the student will undertake testing in an assessment centre.
Do you need a killer GPA?
NO! Isn’t that music to every uni student’s ears? You do not have to have an amazing GPA, but make sure you have a cracker set of extra curricular activities! A well-rounded person in real life runs laps around someone who is perfect on paper.
Where did you apply/where did you end up completing your vac work?
Vihan applied to majority of professional services in Brisbane and ended up interning at Deloitte and BDO! Moral of the story, apply everywhere, so you have the choice of where you really want to undertake the experience.
Was it easy to assimilate to the workplace?
Entering a new workplace can be intimidating. Whether it is a new part-time job, or beginning life in the corporate world, it isn’t an easy task. However, Vihan said that both firms he interned at had structure processes that made the transition very smooth! Consequently, he slipped into working with his colleagues, allowing him to focus more on the learning process.
Biggest tip/most valuable experience while undertaking vac work
Vihan told me that he would 100% recommend undertaking some form of work experience, where his biggest tip was ‘know the service line you apply for before you actually go ahead with an application, because it would be a big mistake to do something you hate!’ Also, as the old saying goes, be yourself and get involved!
After receiving answers to the many questions I had regarding vac work, I feel more at ease with Vihan’s responses. So fellow UQBA members, go forth – do some research and apply for vac work. The worst that could happen is a firm will say no, but you will never know if you don’t try!