Embedding career development learning and industry content in curriculum

Academia meets industry, two worlds successfully combine.

Professional Practice III is a well-established core course in the School of Mathematics for Maths and Computer Science students. This year, course coordinator Sally Selway collaborated with careers educator, Michelle McKinnon to redesign the course to include an industry case study from PwC Australia.

Given the course’s focus on professional skill development and employability, this six-week project provided an excellent platform to improve students’ industry capabilities as well as explicitly develop their project management, report writing, research and presentation skills.

PwC (Aus) were chosen as the final industry partner given their passion and capacity for developing graduates. The PwC technical advisory team assisted with the course design and industry case study, which had 310 penultimate and final year students work as professional consultants for the final stages of the semester. The project case study sample is available for staff to view: Case Study the World Museum.

The students had a six-week timeframe to deliver a project update, presentations and a formal business report. Due to the complexity and broadness of the ‘consultant style’ work, as well as the realities of academic requirements, these assessments certainly challenged the students. Graduate attributes underpinned the assessments, all of which the students will use in their future pathways whether in academia or industry. This case study also provided students with relevant examples to utilise in applications and interviews for future graduate positions.

PwC student group

Left to right

Sally Selway (Course Coordinator), Jason Beh, Sousan Rezaee (PwC), Jonti Ching Li, Melinda Frazer ( PwC), Zhenhang Dong, Timothy Howard

At the conclusion of the assessments a small team of consultants from PwC (Aus) came to campus to review student presentations and provide some technical insights and guidance, which was a valuable opportunity for all.


Multiple students received direct invites for employment in addition to forming valuable industry contacts.  Students were also able to develop important employability competencies and attributes which they will require if they are able to succeed post-graduation. Overall, regardless of the challenges and breadth of the topic, the Industry based project was a regarded as a great success!   

I am very grateful for the changes you have made for this year's PP III. In particular, the final project was changed to a real case, and I really learned a lot and had a lot of fun – Student feedback

Plenty of resources provided and links to further information. The consulting project is unique content and different to assignments in other courses - Student feedback

Additions being considered for future years include broadening the industry choice for Maths and Computer Science students within the Professional Practice course with a mix of Defence, Technology Industry Experts and Consulting. This will provide students with a variety of sectors to investigate and will extend their undergraduate knowledge.

Sally Selway and Michelle McKinnon would like to acknowledge the immense support received from Dr Danny Stevenson and Professor Finnur Larusson in the School of Mathematics who were champions of this initiative.

Are you interested in how to improve employability within your student cohort? Feel free to get in touch

Tagged in employability, #student Employability