Author: Christina Sexton
Photographer: All images used with permission.

Lidia Ivancic is a determined student with big ambitions who has spent the past four years seeking out every available opportunity – as well as creating some of her own – to ready herself for life in the business world.

“I’m a creative person, but not artistic,” said Lidia. “I just wanted to find an avenue where I could put my individuality and creativity to good use and achieve something in the world.”

For Lidia, this meant taking on a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Business Administration at ACU.

“When I was in high school and thinking about what to apply for, I went along to all the uni open days to do my research. But when I was at ACU’s North Sydney Open Day, a staff member started chatting to me about the Passion for Business (P4B) program and it sparked something in me.”

Finding her passion

Lidia applied to ACU and was offered a place in her degree through the P4B entry program, which came with the bonus of an early acceptance offer.

“Doing my HSC when I’d already been accepted into my degree changed everything. It took so much pressure off and I was able to do better in my exams than I anticipated,” she said.

Once her degree was underway, P4B continued to pay off for Lidia.

“P4B events helped create a community for me and it was somewhere to belong. It was good going to my very first class and seeing some familiar faces from P4B. It generated a network for me early on and I’m still close to people I started the program with.”

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International experience

One of the highlights of Lidia’s business degree was studying overseas in Malaysia as part of the New Colombo Plan, which is a government initiative that aims to lift knowledge of Indo Pacific countries by encouraging students to undertake internships in the region.

“When I was offered a spot in the program on a full scholarship, I jumped at the chance,” she said. “We met with CEOs, directors, and chairpeople of international companies that also operate in Australia.

Getting real world experience through meeting these people and seeing things like the day in the life of the chairman of Lend Lease was one of those times where I thought, ‘Wow, I know I’m in the right place.’”

Seeking opportunities

Back in Australia, Lidia saw two more opportunities being offered through the business school and true to form, she seized them with both hands.

“First, I did an external internship with Parity Consulting, which is a consulting and recruitment company. It really helped steer me towards events, which is what I’m thinking about doing after graduation. I came to see that there is some scope for creativity in corporate events management, which really interests me, making the internship such a valuable experience,” she said.

S0916_Lidia-Ivancic_portrait

“Then the other opportunity that proved to be a gamechanger was the Cisco Mentor Me Program, which is when women who are studying business or IT get matched with a mentor who is working in your area of interest.

“The woman I was partnered with gave me more support than I ever could have imagined and we’re still in contact a year later. She encouraged me to apply for graduate programs and is helping me with my applications. She’s been lifechanging and so helpful.

“I think learning from the source and going out and getting these kinds of experiences that you can’t get in the classroom changed everything for me.”

A new society

In between a casual job, volunteer work, studying for her final subjects, and prepping for life after graduation, Lidia still made time to leave a lasting legacy at ACU’s North Sydney Campus.

“When I was in Malaysia, I met students from the Melbourne Campus’ business society. It got me thinking, as at the time we didn’t have a similar group in Sydney. They spoke to me about how this developed a sense of community for Melbourne business students and I was inspired to try the same thing at home.

“I’m now the President of ACU’s North Sydney Business Society. What I was really doing was trying to initiate a spark in everyone and give students a new opportunity to get involved on campus.

I’ve always gone above and beyond to snap up every opportunity I could throughout my degree, and this has made such a difference to me, so I was hoping to encourage others to do the same thing. 

“Plus, I know how hard it is to stay on top of everything. And I thought if information for Sydney business students all came from one source, rather than having to go out and find it yourself, I knew it would make things easier for everyone. By creating this community, I am hoping we continue to boost each other up and lend support that continues after graduation.

 “Starting a society from the ground up taught me a lot about being a leader, as well as a delegator. I’ve learnt so much about myself – and what I’m capable of.”

The next step

While Lidia is busy completing her final year of study, planning for the future is well under way.

“For many graduate programs, applications opened in February for jobs that begin in February next year, and I have over 30 I want to apply for. I have a very detailed, colourful spreadsheet to keep track of it all! It’s a tough process, but I just need one ‘Yes’. 

Learn more about where an ACU business degree can lead.

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