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In the last two decades our lives have been affected by massive tech disruption, two recessions and a global pandemic. If you're reading this, you've already experienced more economic uncertainty than your parents did at your age.
More changes are coming. We know about advancements in life-changing technologies from UNSW research and industry connections (think artificial intelligence, quantum computing and solar power). Now more than ever, it's critical to develop a future–proof mindset.
What is a future–proof mindset? It's a resilient way of thinking. It means when you face challenges in future – and you will – you'll know how to make good decisions, to adapt and innovate with intelligence.
We asked our graduates how UNSW prepared them for success in their careers. Their answers reveal five elements of a future–proof mindset, which our academics and assessments help develop.
UNSW will challenge you to question what you are told and what you believe. You will learn to judge issues with objective analysis and evaluation skills. This skill reveals strengths and errors in your opinion, giving you the confidence to move forward in the right direction.
"Almost every assessment in both my Music and my Arts degree required a high level of critical thinking along with either writing extended essays or doing some kind of presentation or performance. At first, I semi-dreaded it - basically everything that you thought you knew at school had to go out the window. I had to spend time, and A LOT of hard work and dedication, to really discover my own style, my own opinions, and way to clearly articulate them. By the end you're well-and-truly practised, and before you know it you're writing theses!"
Music Programmer, ABC Classic
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Music (Hons)
Creativity is the root of innovation and entrepreneurialism, recognised as the essential skill for the future. The ability to bring about something from nothing or to think differently about what already exists is vital for a future-proof career.
"Firms are on the lookout for skills they can't teach you at work, such as being able to communicate well, being naturally curious, and having organic creativity. Those are the skills you really need to focus on developing over the next several years because they are the things that are really valuable to firms. UNSW offers programs specifically tailored to these skill sets."
Management Consultant, PwC
Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Media
When you understand the big picture and go with the flow, you can see what you need to modify so that you can thrive. This is the skill of adaptation and it’s how we evolve throughout careers and throughout life.
"The best thing UNSW did was help me think in the ways the working world needs. It's that unique ability to apply all of your previous understanding in a way you didn't dream possible. It's not saying no to something in your life or job just because you haven't been taught how to best meet that requirement. UNSW taught me how to adapt to new uncertainties and address what’s coming next."
Technical & Innovation Lead, Australian Financial Crimes Exchange
Bachelor of Social Science
A good reputation will precede you, and you can't build a good reputation alone. Understanding the people you work with, and being able to bring out their best, is a teamwork skill that pays off whether you're changing careers or building your own team.
"Within my professional career I have been able to apply problem solving, communication and stakeholder engagement skills that I developed during my studies at UNSW. These transferable skills were refined and adapted based on the feedback I received from my peers and professors. This experience at UNSW allowed me to improve my empathy and interpersonal skills while making me more aware of the different perspectives people may have of a single situation. This has assisted in broadening my understanding of the complex issues we face today and my own view of the world."
Consultant in Operations Advisory at KPMG
Bachelor of Arts
Stay curious. This essential skill creates new opportunities. Your critical thinking skills will reveal the knowledge gaps that you can fill, so you can then adapt, innovate and create.
"Studying at UNSW challenged me to be a self-directed learner (which is something you need in the workplace), encouraged my desire to continue learning, showed me how well I perform under pressure (i.e. leaving all assignments to the last minute, but never submitting late), and encouraged me to think outside my own bubble."
MERIT Clinician, Drug Health Services
Bachelor of Social Work (Honours)/Bachelor of Criminology & Criminal Justice
Unlike generations before you, a job probably won't be for life. With a future-proof mindset, you'll be able to recognise opportunities and carve out a niche of your own. UNSW can build upon what matters most to you and develop your future-proof mindset. Explore our degrees.