In Conversation With Our 2022 Top100 Winners

Posted by GradConnection

Applications for our annual Top100 Future Leaders Awards are now open! We had a chat back in March with our 2022 finalists about their Top100 experience. Read on for insights, tips and words of wisdom for your own application.  

Why did you apply for the Top100 Competition?

Arnav Bharadwaj (FINEOS FinTech Award, 2022 Winner): I think the main reason why I applied to the Top100 Awards was basically just to get myself out there. I knew I'd heard from a couple of people who had done it previously that it was a really good way to meet people within the workplace who are already working and have experience, but also to develop yourself and go through those recruitment processes.

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Nicholas Boal (BP Commercial Award, 2022 Winner): It was really to get a gauge of how competitive I was in the applicant pool and get some feedback on the application process in particular. Things like the psychometric testing that you do for a lot of graduate roles and group interviews, it's difficult to know how you're performing - you don't often get good feedback. So, I was looking for any feedback possible really, and from SOVA Assessment we got that, and from the group interviews we got a fair bit of feedback. 

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Raramai Purazeni (CA ANZ Accounting Award, 2022 Winner): I've always known about the Top100 and within my first year of university, I did apply for the Top100 Competition and I unfortunately did not make it to the finals. Obviously I'm now in my final year of university and I knew that this would possibly be my last chance of actually applying for the competition, and I saw that there was no harm in getting myself out there. Even if I didn't make it all the way to the finals, it would still be great experience for me. 

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How did you find the application process?

Adam Karayiannis (Westpac Banking, Insurance & Financial Services Award, 2022 Winner): I really enjoyed how each stage of the competition was tailored towards a different stage of the recruitment selection process...It really helped me prepare for that so that there's no surprises when it comes to entering the workforce and actually doing the real thing. 

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Calum Ireland (Goodman Fielder FMCG Award, 2022 Winner): I think it's very indicative of what's actually happening with grad applications at the moment. I think the fact that it was online really reflected what is happening with the grad application processes that I've definitely been applying for. The steps from the start to the end are all very similar to what you'd expect from a grad application. So, from that perspective I think it's worth applying for because it is quite accurate. 

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Was there anything you found particularly surprising or enjoyable about the process? 

Esmond Ye (Clifford Chance Social Impact Law Award, 2022 Winner): I was able to see other participants and other candidates from the other awards as well, and what I can say hand on heart is the fact that these folks are real leaders right now, they're not emerging leaders, they're not emerging talent, they're real leaders. 

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Calum Ireland (Goodman Fielder FMCG Award, 2022 Winner): I also probably didn't consider just how large the award is, like how broadly recognized it is within Australia, both on the student front, but also on the like employer side of things. I got a lot of press afterwards and I definitely didn't expect that - so that was quite surprising. 

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What was the most valuable thing you learnt from the Top100 process? 

Brandon Zheng (Ashurst Law Award, 2022 Winner): I think it's all well and good to have a good resume and a great background. But in my view, when you're applying for jobs, applying for graduate positions, that's only half the story. You need to be able to perform well in assessment centers and interviews as well. So I think whole experience there was very valuable. 

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Arnav Bharadwaj (FINEOS FinTech Award, 2022 Winner): The most valuable thing I learned was to be confident within my abilities when it comes to the recruitment process. I think before I did it, I was very much a little bit hesitant on what my interview skills were like and whether they would be good enough for when I eventually applied for jobs. But over time, going through the group activities, through all the interview processes, even attending the workshops, it really renewed that confidence in me that I was able to do this. 

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Maria Jamal (Coles IT Award, 2022 Winner): I've been able to identify some of my strengths and some areas of improvement based on the feedback that I've received from the sponsors of the award and in general, while speaking to different students, I understood some of the areas where I could improve. So that is one of the main things that I try to focus on from any experience, is take down points where I can improve. And I make sure that I give my best shot in the next thing that I do. 

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What is one piece of advice you’d give to future Top100 applicants? 

Margarita Psaras (Quantium Data Science Award, 2022 Winner): The key thing is to be able to leverage your own accomplishments in however much or little it is, because you can talk in detail about your experiences and they can get a lot more meaningful depending on how you talk about them. I think it's not the quantity, but rather the quality of your experiences that will make you shine through the competition. So just don't be scared that you haven't done enough or that your qualities are not good enough because someone one else will definitely disagree. 

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Maria Jamal (Coles IT Award, 2022 Winner): It would sound cliche, but just give it a go. There's nothing to lose from this opportunity. There's always something to gain from every opportunity...so I would say don't give up this opportunity, apply for it, every single person should apply for this award. 

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Esmond Ye (Clifford Chance Social Impact Law Award, 2022 Winner): Have a go and you’ll learn a ton out of this experience and you won't regret it. 

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The Top100 Future Leaders Awards are open to ALL students studying at an Australian university into 2023, including international students. This year we have 13 unique award categories for a wide variety of disciplines. 

Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to kick start your career and connect with top graduate employers - find out more and apply now! 


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