Career success depends on your network, says UNSW alumna

By Lori Youmshajekian  Thursday, 18 April 2019  @Business School

Sometimes it’s all about who you know when it comes to succeeding in industry, says marketing executive and UNSW Sydney alumna Amanda Lee Duvall.

“Your success isn’t necessarily to do with your technical skills. They can only get you so far to actually succeed, especially in leadership,” the AGSM @ UNSW Business School alumna says.

“The biggest thing I’ve learnt from my career is playing to your strengths and learning how to get on with others.”

Ms Lee Duvall’s marketing career spans more than 10 years across institutions such as the Sydney Opera House and Fairfax Media.

“I’ve come to realise that some of the things I’ve enjoyed the most are when I’ve mentored others,” she says.

“When you're at university you want to advance your career and if you don't already have a network, a mentor can help you create one using their network,” Ms Lee Duvall says.

Ms Lee Duvall applied to become a mentor in July 2018 through UNSW Business School’s Career Mentoring Program.

She was paired with Master of International Business student Karla Mortel, who applied to develop her networking and interpersonal skills.

“Through Amanda’s advice, I've been to around eight networking events and coffee catch-ups and I gained confidence to do that during the three-month duration of the program,” Ms Mortel says.

“Amanda has always been telling me to pursue something that I'm really passionate about, it’s not just about landing a job for the sake of having a job.”

Ms Lee Duvall says seeing somebody who you invest in succeed is the most rewarding part of mentoring.

“I think you need somebody cheering you on, somebody who is on your side,” she says.

“What I really loved was being on the journey with Karla and sharing her excitement … it was lovely to see her progressing and coming out of her shell.”

Ms Mortel received multiple job offers after the program using Ms Lee Duvall’s career advice.

“Amanda taught me how to create a career plan which helps me slowly tick off boxes as I enter the real world,” she says.

“With her advice and tips, she helped me tailor my resume based on different industries that I want to apply for – it definitely helped me a lot and that's why I got multiple offers from companies.”

Ms Lee Duvall says the structure of an official program simplified the mentoring process.

“You might be thinking you want to have a mentor but it’s difficult to approach somebody, so this is actually a structured way in which to try something new,” she says.

“One introduction will lead to something else, and here we are today sitting here talking about a great relationship.”

Ms Mortel says: “I'm looking forward to the day that I can be a mentor as well to apply all the things that Amanda has been helping me with and to be of help to others.”

The Career Mentoring Program connects students with alumni who are experienced business professionals, supporting their career development and helping build their network.

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