This article has been adapted from the Australian Geographic.
Australians can be an ingenious bunch. Here are some of the best inventions to have come out of the nation.
Read the original article here.
|Shane Dillon is the co-founder of the International Alumni Job Network, an employment group focused on career outcomes for international students who have graduated from Australian, Canadian, UK, New Zealand, European and US higher education institutes.|
I was recruiting and building a team in Vietnam and trying to find returning Vietnamese international student graduates to employ. I could not find them and after some research realized that returning international students from all over Asia do not have a resource that connects them with top employers or a community to join that will connect them with one another so they can build a strong professional network.
I then met some returnee alumni by chance and after speaking with them heard that they too saw this as a major problem they faced when returning home after completing their international education. The idea for the International Alumni Job Network (IAJN) was born.
I was working full time, raising two young children and completing my MBA and could not figure out how I could successfully launch this idea by myself and that is when I had some incredibly good luck. I was introduced to Kate Harden in December 2015 who was looking for a new job in Vietnam after working for an NGO for the last 4 years. Her background was in HR and after some initial meetings and a signed NDA we started working on the International Alumni Job Network together. She came on as the CEO and co-founder, we raised $125,000 USD from two angel investors in Q1, 2016 and we started the company together. Kate works full time on the business and takes a salary and I work part-time on the business without a salary. We currently have 5 full-time employees and an office set up in Hong Kong and Vietnam. We launched the ecosystem of online communities and social media pages on the 31st May 2016 and have so far had over 20,000+ alumni register (It’s FREE for alumni to Join) with our community and placed several hundred jobs. We currently have international alumni communities in 15 countries across Asia and grow between 500~1,500 new members a week.
Starting a business is lesson after lesson after lesson. We had great feedback from alumni, employers, universities and government groups from day one, however this did not equate into any business support. We joked that everyone told us they loved us but no one would ask us to dance.
A huge lesson we continue to learn is that people, businesses and stakeholder groups may praise you constantly however to engage with you and actually pay to use your services takes a lot longer. The expression “Cash flow is KING” is so true and Kate and I have struggled with trying to balance the rapid growth of our alumni communities and employer networks while maintaining the high standards of service we strive towards with limited cash flow.
Releasing regular media kits has also been very beneficial for us. Sending out regular updates on what we are doing to the press has had IAJN featured in Forbes Magazine, PIE News, Study International and in the local press in Vietnam and Malaysia so far.
I did not have a mentor however at the time I was completing an executive MBA at RMIT and found the professors and classmates were always willing to offer advice and thoughts on business ideas. A huge thanks to great professors like David Robinson, Christine Murphy, Mark Leenders, Anthos Yannakou and Darryl Coulthard who were all very generous with their time and knowledge with me.
It helped that a few weekends a semester I would be surrounded by a great group of business leaders and entrepreneurs who were studying the MBA with me. A huge thanks to the fellow executive MBA classmates who I studied with in 2015 and 2016.
1. Start – I have had so many people ask me what it takes to start a business (while working and studying) and I tell them you just need to start. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” and you need to take that first step and just START. There is never a perfect time to do an MBA or start a business.
2. You need passion and pragmatism and in my case a co-founder. Do not be greedy, get a good team around you who are also passionate and pragmatic and then share the up side with them. You succeed together or fail together.
3. Look at problems to find the solution not just to point out the problem. The world is full of people who love to point out problems and offer no solution. Starting a business you will discover problems every day, every week, every month. You need to have a team with a solution orientated attitude and understand their is always a solution to every problem.
|Shane Dillon completed the RMIT Master of Business Administration (Executive), 2016. He is willing to answer your questions about starting a new business. Find him in the Members section.|
Tens of thousands of young Vietnamese head abroad every year to pursue university studies in foreign countries. There are more than 30,000 Vietnamese students in the US at any one time, even more in Australia. The UK and other ASEAN countries such as Singapore are also popular destinations for Vietnamese students.
The impact of this generation of Vietnamese educated internationally is having a significant impact on the local labor market, and on the students themselves. Positions at multi-national companies that once would have been filled by expatriate employees and now more often than not staffed by internationally-educated, bi-lingual locals at a fraction of the cost.
While that education can certainly open up opportunities, it also comes with its challenges. That exposure to different ways of thinking can cause some frustration when they return. I was recently speaking with an acquaintance who studied at an Australian university, who was chaffing at the behavior of some of her colleagues and their more traditional mindset. It seems an international education has many advantages, but in some ways it can be isolating.
It was just this kind of scenario that brought about the creation of the International Alumni Job Network (IAJN), which was recently officially launched in Vietnam and now has a presence in 15 countries across Asia. Founded by Australian pair Shane Dillon and Kate Harden, the idea for a network of international alumni came from a chance encounter at a resort on the island of Phu Quoc.
Dillon, who works in the insurance industry, ran into a young graduate at the resort who had returned from studying overseas but was feeling a sense of dislocation and felt he was unable to leverage his education into a suitable job.
“That was the starting point, we thought ‘how can we make a social group and employment group for these guys?’,” he says. “They want to be connected to good jobs and they want to connect with each other because they have become almost third culture.”
The IAJN membership has grown organically in a few months to around 8,000, with up to 200 new registrations per day. They are aiming for 100,000 members by the end of the year.
Harden, who runs the IAJN’s day-to-day operations, says the strength of the concept is backed up by the fact many of their members are working for companies that are looking to recruit local staff with an international education.
“We are finding we have got a lot of buzz in the community in general because [our members] are referring us to their HR managers, or they are the HR manager or the owners of the business,” she says. “There is a really interesting synergy we’ve got with this cycle of education to employment.”
Some of the companies tapping into the IAJN pool of talent include Microsoft, Zalora and Prudential. Companies post their vacancies on the network’s site, or organizations signing up for the premium service can make use of a candidate matching service. There are also plans to begin a series of social events for the alumni, allowing them to connect with those with similar experiences.