Knowing Yourself is the Key to Your Study Choices and Career Path

| 27 Nov 2020

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Careers expert Blair Slater says that knowing yourself is crucial in the career planning and decision-making process. You might be fully aware of some things about yourself, like hating peanuts or preferring lakes to beaches, but let's dig a little deeper to find your future path.

Blair Slater

“The job market will always be different from when you choose your degree to when you graduate. It is too risky to base degree decisions solely on industry trends, because as we are seeing now, industry trends can quickly change. You have much greater control over your values and interests so it’s important that students prioritise these in any career or study decisions.”

Blair Slater
Portfolio Lead, Student Career-Ready Connections, UNSW Careers

To recognise your values and interests, take a moment to consider the following:

  • What are you good at, or what do people tell you you’re good at?
  • How do you prefer to interact with people?
  • What jobs or activities would you prefer to not do?
  • What is really important to you in life?

Blair says these are just some of the questions that the professionally accredited career consultants at UNSW Careers can help you figure out. You’ll be able to discover the key skills, personality, values and interests to begin career planning from your first year at uni. For inspiration, we spoke with ambitious industry experts about who they are and how their personality influences their careers.

Christina Chun


Christina Chun
Entrepreneur, Director at Walker Advisory
UNSW Bachelor of Psychological Science & UNSW Master of Commerce Alumna

Christina Chun found she had to adapt her personality to succeed. Her start-up, 1Scope connects students with free personal and professional development opportunities and has led to her being honoured as a Forbes 30under30.

“I’m naturally an introvert but being a CEO meant having to constantly go out and engage with new people, networking, interviews, pitching, selling – which was incredibly draining for me. But sometimes you have to wear multiple hats to move the business forward,” she says.

Christina’s personality has been shaped by coming from a financially disadvantaged background, raised by a strong single mother who had survived both being a refugee and domestic violence. She says it is strikingly clear that many people are born into disadvantage.

“The passion to level the playing field is so ingrained, that it drives who I reach out to for partnerships, the conversations I have, the activities I commit to. I attribute a lot of my success to date to the free opportunities that I managed to secure – from my UNSW equity scholarship, through to start-up programs, mentors; stepping stones that made the playing field a little more equal.”

UNSW offers a wide range of Equity Scholarships, Awards and Grants to assist students to undertake full-time study for the duration of their degree program.


Nicolas Chu


Nicolas Chu
Founder & CEO, Sinorbis 
Professor of Practice, UNSW Business School 


Nicolas Chu says his whole career is a reflection of his personality. The global digital thought-leader is CEO and founder of Sinorbis, a revolutionary digital marketing platform that navigates the complex Chinese online environment.

At university, Nicolas studied history and computer science. His career has involved incubating start-ups and reaching executive roles for global tech organisations based in Europe, America, and the Asia-Pacific – he’s also a Professor of Practice at UNSW Business School.

“What attracted me most to roles was the ability to learn new things, to improve myself, and the organisation’s willingness to take calculated risks. Although my tendency is to be more on the safe side, I learned to force myself to take risks – I realised you need to do that if you really want to progress.”

Nicolas’ ability to take measured risks is underscored by his love of learning. From teaching himself the piano as a child to completing his Master of Business Administration at UNSW’s AGSM, Nicolas strongly values acquiring new skills and information.

UNSW offers full-time, part-time and flexible degrees, and industry relevant short-courses that develop your skills and knowledge at every stage of your career. Explore your options on our Degree Finder.


Sapna Patel


Sapna Patel
Founder & CEO, ImmiAdvisor 
UNSW Bachelor of Commerce/Law Alumna

Even though Sapna Patel studied hard and became a lawyer, she had wanted to start, run and grow her own business since she was a child.

“My brother and I started a car wash business at age seven and our collection of Pokemon Cards along with my sticker-book became our shop front at age nine. I would sell, trade and monetise wherever I could,” she says.

During her corporate career she came to realise that she thrives on the adventure, challenge and excitement of starting a business. Sapna yearned to reconnect with her childhood dream.

Sapna fused her passion for entrepreneurship with her immigration law experience to develop an online marketplace that connects visa applicants and migration agents. In 2015 she launched ImmiAdvisor with the vision of it becoming the pinnacle of online migration agent ratings and reviews.

“I love being creative and solving problems and have always been extremely passionate about business, technology and entrepreneurship. As a hardworking person, who is always trying to capitalise on my strengths and address my weaknesses, it was a natural progression to start my own business.”

Come find out why UNSW ranks within the Top 30 worldwide for graduate employability*. Our degrees include real-life work experiences and our students are supported with free career services and professional development opportunities.

*2020 QS Rankings