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  • Writer's pictureNanditha Krishna

Presidential Outlook: Looking back on the year it has been…

Special thanks to Kenneth Guevarra (Vice President of Operations 2022), Pranav Samudre & Lorraine Luo (Incoming Co-Vice Presidents of Consulting 2023) for their contributions.

Ivan Barouline, is the current outgoing president at BusinessOne Consulting at the University of Melbourne in 2022. He is finishing off his penultimate semester of Bachelor of Science, majoring in Computer Science and working at Littlepay as a Graduate Product Manager. As an interstate student from Canberra, he found what he calls “a second family” here in Melbourne within BusinessOne.

Part 1: B1’s journey 2022

What would you say were some main events that indicated BusinessOne’s progress in 2022?

“I think that one of the key factors that helped me realise how much B1 has progressed was the introduction of our in-person events, specifically, our Welcome Nights. This year we held our first in-person event in the four years that B1 has been around. Each of the Welcome Night’s had an amazing turn out filling up the Clyde Hotel to capacity, where we held our first ever client product giveaways and showcased our projects to our general members.

Another one of our flagship events was Pathways in Consulting, where we had over 100 sign ups with 5 guest speakers; our From Corporate to Startups event with over 80 sign-ups; the Vesparum case sprint, which was the first case competition where we held the finals at a corporate office, with over 70 sign ups - in fact, two of the winners were first years from the B1 committee. Towards the end of this semester, we also hosted the in-office Accenture Trivia, a bit different from our usual events - definitely, an unforgettable highlight.

As most of our past events were online, getting involvement from the audience was quite difficult. With this year’s transition to in-person events where we could offer so much more in terms of location, catering, activities, and speakers, we instantly saw more engagement and turnout this year.

Overall, I think through our events and increased engagement with the student body B1 has promoted a more established identity. I think we really did place ourselves in between the worlds of consulting and startups.”

In essence, what would you say were some of the challenges of consulting experiences and how did we as a team overcome that?

“One of the challenges was to provide support and instil confidence in the Project Leaders, a lot of whom were leading a project for the first time. So the challenge lies in organizing and planning each of the projects based on the past experiences of our Vice President’s of Consulting. Essentially, as a team, we advise the leaders on client acquisition and project planning, guiding them to a point where each leader independently leads a project with four project consultants for around 10 weeks. We try to provide valuable training as well, by bringing in industry guests to ensure that everyone feels supported and upskilled throughout their experience.

Other challenges we faced this year included understanding the needs and wants of each project and tailoring training to help support the project consultants and project leader so that they can grow and learn the most from the project. This was especially difficult, considering we are just re-emerging from COVID lockdowns and were still trying to understand the type of support people were seeking. I think the best way we overcame this was by finding mentors who have the industry knowledge and experience needed specific to that project, and who can call upon their own experiences to best guide each team.

On the other hand, some new initiatives included increasing diversity in scopes. One of our projects Blinq focused on designing a new product, whereas the Up team utilised their design skills by producing mock-ups of new in-app features. Moving out of COVID increased in-person participation. For example, a few projects also had the opportunity to visit the offices of their clients for their final presentations. For the first time in years, we also conducted our mentor showcase live in-person on campus.

In terms of clients, we often find that by giving Project Leaders the opportunity to choose their own clients, we have, by nature, a diversity in the clients and scope of work. This provides an opportunity for our project consultants to always expand their skillset and try something new while learning how to adapt to clients of different sizes in different industries. These are some invaluable experiences for university students.”

Some of our clients this year includes: 6clicks

6clicks is the only AI-powered GRC analytics platform that enables organizations to extract transformational value. 6clicks aims to redefine how the modern enterprise approaches risk and compliance, with the goal of simplifying any assessment down to 6 mouse clicks.

Get it fast

Get it Fast offers same day delivery to customers with click and collect orders. Whenever a click and collect order is placed on GiT’s clients (Kmart & Kidstuff) site, customers can opt for same day delivery via GiT. We focused on identifying factors that influence customers experience within the delivery industry, and forming recommendations that Get it Fast can implement to enhance the customer experience Flowverse

Flowverse is an independent central hub and discoverability platform for everything in the Flow Blockchain ecosystem. It was built by the Flow community for the Flow community. Gobbill

Gobbill is a secure bill payment automation service, protecting clients from invoice fraud, improving payment control and saving time & cost in making payments. APM provides a professional and prompt plan management service to reduce the stress in managing NDIS plans. We focused on conducting competitor research and data analysis to develop marketing strategies for Aspect Plan Management Tacklit

Tacklit harnesses the power of technology and data to empower healthcare practitioners to support their clients to live a happier and healthier life. Voice of Health

Voice of Health is a preventative mental health organization that has developed a platform that provides a safe place where users can talk one-on-one with a trained Active Listener and can assist them to develop strategies to self-manage their own mental well-being. We focused on developing an integrated and robust financial model to support a startup in assessing funding requirements in preparation for capital raising. Blinq

Sharing information is a timeless need which requires clever execution. Blinq implements this by using QR codes and NFCs for their e-business cards. This allows for easier storage of information for consumers, while also being more aesthetic and affordable than printed cards. Nimo

Nimo is a digital lending platform that automates the complete lending experience, from acquiring customers, collecting customer data to loan management and settlement. Their vision is to simplify the online lending process so that lenders can provide a superior lending experience to their customers.We focused on evaluating the regulatory and commercial viability of international expansion into the UK to automate the digital lending process through its SAAS platform SoundSmith

SoundSmith is a marketplace for artists, labels and distributors to automate their influencer marketing on TikTok, connecting musicians with a global network of influencers that can promote their music. SpendAble

SpendAble’s aim is to make financial safety and inclusion available to every person in the world. By eliminating the vulnerability that exists with current payment solutions, everyone has access to their money when they need it and are protected when they rely on somebody else to purchase on their behalf. We focused on validating a new product offering in the My Aged Care sector by assessing product market fit, regulatory requirements, feasibility and impact potential. Up Bank

Up is an Australian mobile-only digital bank. Up is designed, developed and delivered through a collaboration between Ferocia (a software company) and Bendigo Bank. Up runs on your smartphone, and provides you with an app and a debit card linked to a real bank account. We focused on conducting an analysis into the current perceptions of Superannuation in 18-23 year olds, and designing a new Superannuation product accordingly to increase the number of interactions and retention in this demographic. Vimi

Vimi is an online video production platform for scalable and affordable marketing videos through process driven automated workflows. Through their platform, you can create a video brief, schedule a shoot with a local videographer, give real-time video feedback collaboratively, and track your video status. We focused on developing a product lifecycle that ViMi's product managers, designers and engineers can use to bolster innovation and reduce risks.

How about the Operations teams? What were some of their highlights and lowlights?

“With the transition to everything being in-person, it required flexibility to adapt quickly across several teams. Events was an obvious one, as I mentioned earlier.

Sponsorships, for example, were now required to do in-person meetings, after becoming accustomed to Zoom meetings. Whilst this at first posed as a challenge, it really pushed students to develop their interpersonal skills etc. By implementing new strategies, we were able to acquire 11 including companies like Atlassian, Kearney and Accenture.

Marketing has done a fantastic job. They really developed an authentic personality across all our online platforms. Our content was very easy to digest and engage with, through our new Instagram filters, TikToks and Facebook posts. Everyone looked forward to seeing what was next. I believe it really created its own voice and was a whole lot of fun for the team to come up with creative and trendy ideas. I really have to commend the marketing team and the marketing director, Liam, for having personalized our online presence. In fact, this led to us winning an award for UMSU’s ‘Funniest Visual Marketing’ club.

In terms of our Human Resources team, they have done an incredible job processing over 450 applicants this year. They also played a key role in organising the Consulting Olympics with other UMSU consulting clubs, with B1 taking its first win this year. We had a series of amazing social events organised as well; for example, ice skating, a dumplings night, movie nights, karaoke, golf hits at the driving range and day trips to Mornington and Daylesford. Funnily enough we actually had a group of 40 attend the Biomedicine Ball, which might just be the last place you’d find a commerce club! As for the retreat, it was the largest it has ever been this year, with 53 people in attendance!

One example of the challenges that we faced was the teething periods that come when a club tries to expand.It took a while to really find out place with our podcast team, deciding on the content, branding, and format. However, we found a way to make it unique and informative and now, we have a new content medium that we are proud of with the momentum to carry it into the next year."

Part 2: Ivan’s B1 journey

How would you say your B1 experience challenged you as a leader and as an individual?

“Ivan has dedicated himself whole-heartedly to everything he does. Through his leadership he has inspired many people to follow in his footsteps ~ Carlie Yung, Incoming President 2023

“I think the answer is in the question itself. It is about finding the balance between being a leader and being someone tries to get to know everyone individually. It is something that I try to push myself to do, to apply this friend-first approach. But, in essence, I do find it difficult at times to establish those boundaries and make the right calls when necessary. With that being said, I still think I’d rather be a friend and approachable as I can’t really see myself as a ‘put-your-foot-down’ kind of guy.

I think I always tell myself that it comes back to the idea of giving back. The club was essentially like my first home in Melbourne, when I moved interstate. It helped me step out of my comfort zone, develop a lot of skills, and form the majority of my friendships. Beyond that, it gave me guidance and a direction to follow for the coming years. The club did so much for me and I truly think it comes down to the culture of sharing the best experiences with others in the club. It always seems like anyone will jump at the opportunity to help others, which not only instils confidence in yourself, but allows you to try new things that you might not have had the courage to try in the first place. This was honestly the easiest part of the leadership, seeing my passion for the club be reciprocated and a general sense of belonging made me think that anything could be achieved.

I think it all comes down to the fact that people want to do work in a place where they care for others and feel comfortable enough to contribute. Everything I did in B1 was striving to create this environment, which came to become a very rewarding experience in and of itself.

I think that, as university students, we are all navigating through an uncertain time in our lives, how did B1 help enrich your university life – academically and socially? More importantly, how do you think you helped improve everyone else’s image and confidence?

“ If Ivan was the only person that believes in you, that’s all that matters, because he instills so much passion and warmth in people” ~ Seonaid McDonald, Human Resources Director 2022 “The first thing that comes to mind is that when you surround yourself with people who are driven, it is very easy to fall into that mindset yourself. In B1, I am constantly surrounded by talented people who push you to always put your best foot forward. I like to think that there’s a strong mentoring culture, where the older members want to share their experiences and advice with the younger members.

The other aspect is that almost wherever you go in B1, you develop these very unique experiences that extend beyond an academic background. It really comes into play especially at job interviews, because it teaches you to tackle different scenarios and gives you a breadth of perspectives to talk about.

In university, there are a lot of times when uncertainty creeps upon us. For example, a lot of us are struggling to navigate how to plan our degrees, what to look for in a career, or how to pursue our passions. However, I believe B1 provides an environment where no one thinks twice about asking for advice from members of the committee - or by extension, alumni, as there is a strong culture around supporting eachother. And even in a day-to-day setting, just having a room in the FBE where you can pop by and study and hang out with B1 students has really created a warm and welcoming atmosphere for everyone. Whenever I am having a tough day, I usually find someone in the room to chat with and cheer me up.

When it comes to instilling confidence in others, I realized that the better you are at giving them space to do something themselves and grow in the role, the better it is for them. It is about promoting individual ideas and initiative. I believe that, due to the competitive nature of commerce, and specifically clubs a lot of people feel inadequate and may face imposter syndrome. My attempt at addressing imposter syndrome is to remind each other that everyone is in the same boat by sharing similar experiences where we’ve struggled. Through focusing on the failures alongside successes, you break down these barriers and take the focus away from past accomplishments and place it on their willingness to learn and grow.

I think it really matters when the executive team shows up to events and communicates with people on how they have failed and overcome barriers, and still became successful. It might seem like something small, but reminding people that nobody is perfect goes a long way.

You once told me that every semester in B1 is new and unexpected, but always takes a turn for the best. How do you think you contributed to the club culture today and what do you hope to see in the future?

“From working with Ivan for over two years now, I can definitely say that he has been instrumental in building the club to what it is today. This club would be completely different without him” ~ Kenneth Guevarra, Vice President of Operations 2022 “Very early on, the leadership team developed an obsession with feedback and improving people’s experiences. Many of us on the team are often stressed at social events early in the semester as we are always trying to look around to see if everyone is enjoying themselves. With that in the back of my mind, I always try to find ways to include as many people as possible in activities to help them make those friendships and break out of their shell.

To be honest, I can’t really say a lot of the social initiatives were planned. They were just things that I wanted to do with a group of friends. Now, B1 basketball, brunches, dinners, and roadtrips have taken off as a regular club activity where most people get involved. A big focus of mine was trying to encourage initiatives like this from the bottom up. Like, if I heard someone was interested in playing dodgeball, I’d tell them to sign up a B1 team for the UniMelb dodgeball league. If I heard someone wanted to go to the driving range on weekends, I’d get them to make a group chat with anyone interested. Just saying ‘yes’ when people say, ‘let’s go play golf’, or ‘let’s go karaoke’, or ‘let’s go on a road trip!’ really goes a long way in making people feel connected. It really only takes a few people to pitch an idea for others to want to get involved and try out, and it’s really the best way through which the culture builds.

It almost like a domino effect, because once one person gets involved, then they invite their friends and start thinking of other things to do. More and more people start turning up to events and by the end of it, the social events become part of people’s weekly routines. Seeing how engaged everyone has been this year, I am confident that it will continue into the future.”

As a first-year biomedicine student who joined BusinessOne this semester, I was scared at first. Yet, Ivan found a way to make this one of the most enriching aspect – academically and socially – of my university experience. I’d never thought I’d be friends with the president – but he is the most approachable person in the club. He was the spirit of B1, our biggest supporter, but most importantly our friend. You will be missed, Ivan.

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