12 April 2016: James Ricupito's commitment to internships and study abroad opportunities in the final year of his Bachelor of Communications in Public Relations degree allowed him multiple options for his future.
Mr Ricupito completed internships at superannuation provider Future Super and the Commonwealth Department of Education and Training, leading to offers of employment, but his dream of kicking off his career in a hotly contested grad program with a leading advertising agency won out.
Mr Ricupito finished high school in Melbourne and was accepted into an international relations degree at another ACT-based university.
He became weighed down by the theory-heavy course, and was disillusioned as to how his studies would prepare him for a job in the real world, so decided to switch to a Bachelor of Communication in Public Relations at the University of Canberra.
"I felt a lot more nurtured by my lecturers [at UC] and didn't feel like I was just another cog in the machine," he said. "It was more practical, hands-on, real world stuff as opposed to theoretical. I wanted to make sure I would be able to get a job after I finished."
After taking out a Dean's Excellence Award for Academic Merit in 2014, he decided to broaden his horizons even further in his final year of study by embarking on the Advertising and Communication in Indonesia study abroad program.
Mr Ricupito said his participation in the faculty-led program was the highlight of his time at university and gave him a taste of the advertising world.
"We visited some multinational companies like Coca-Cola and Nestlé, some universities, and we got to do some workshops with Indonesian students," he said.
"I walked away from that with an understanding of how the industry that I want to work in functions and the further exploration of how it works from an Asian perspective was invaluable because there are cultural nuances that you need to be aware of."
Enrolling in the short term program over the winter break allowed Mr Rucipito more time in his final semester to prepare for life after university.
As part of his final semester, he completed his work placement unit in the communications branch of the Department of Education and Training. It resulted in a job offer, but unfortunately this offer clashed with his other ambitions.
"I now work for BMF, an advertising agency in Sydney, and I got this role through a graduate program run by the Communications Council," he said, referring to the industry body that represents the broader communications industry with a focus on advertising.
"They run a competitive graduate program, where you apply for a graduate role and if you are successful you get a job with an individual agency. At BMF, we work with companies as diverse as SportsBet, Football Federation Australia and the Australian Government."
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