Masters of Memories

Suchita Goswami (MMgt '20)
08 Dec 2022

When I started my master's at The Australian National University (ANU) I was curious as to why an institution of such prestige and history would have a building named 'Toad Hall'. New to Australia, having moved from India to undertake a two-year master's degree in management, I was intrigued by so many things in and around ANU. While I never officially lived there, the enigmatic Toad Hall - under the willow trees near Sullivans Creek - would soon become a place of comfort, especially in the first semester thanks to a few of my friends and classmates.

We would meet there before class, talk about our day on our walks through campus, and retire back to the first-floor kitchen to debrief after lectures and group assignments. We would gather and discuss upcoming assignments, the challenge of working and studying for exams and, for a couple of weeks or so, we talked rubbish - or garbage disposal to be more precise.
The garbage discussion was part of a fun and practical project management assignment where we had to present a new management opportunity to a local government for the city garbage and recycling collection program. I often wonder what other 'Toadies' must have thought when they overheard us debating the benefits of sending out multiple trucks to cover the same suburbs.
It was our first group assignment and I still often think about it; the collaboration, the motivation, and the commitment to ensure our project plan had considered every theory in a practical, logical, and deliverable sense. Working into the early hours of the morning to finish it off with my peers at Toad Hall, that 'garbage' assignment is one of my fondest memories of my first few months at ANU.
Thinking about those memories also reminds me of the connections I've made through ANU and am still making. Those connections seem to continue wherever I am in Australia, and almost any time I meet someone and get talking about my studies and career. When you graduate from ANU, you soon find how quickly things are networked and connected, and often that connection comes back to the University.
I chose to study at ANU over other Australian universities because I wanted to establish and build connections. I also hadn't had much of an opportunity to travel at that point, so I wanted to choose a university where I could travel and meet people from different cultures, as well as come across and understand different kinds of diversity. I did a lot of reading while I was still in India and read all about the ANU alumni network connecting people around the world. So, I decided ANU was the place for me and I'm so happy that I did.
It was also great that even before my studies commenced, staff at ANU had reached out to see if I needed any help with accommodation and other information on Canberra. For me, making the move alone to a new city in a new country, this was very helpful and another reason why ANU was the place for me.
I chose a Master of Management with the College of Business and Economics (CBE) because I had heard great things about the professors there, and in those first few weeks it really stood out how they encourage you to work as well as study, and tailor classes accordingly. Such flexibility really helped me build my career and understand where I wanted to see myself in the future.
To have lecturers actively encourage us to speak up in class and present ideas, sometimes in front of 100 or 150 people, was also good for my public speaking, my personal growth and my confidence. I also really enjoyed the group learning and group assignments. I currently work as a project coordinator with Minter Ellison in their technology consulting area, and with my role I often talk to people from many different backgrounds, present ideas and concepts, and must ensure everything is well coordinated. Gaining the confidence to do this during my master's at ANU has been crucial to my career development.
I still have fond memories of some lectures and activities I undertook. One leadership course had Gretchen Gagel and Sally Curtis as lecturers - who were entertaining and really made you think. There was a lecture with Sally, where the undergraduates and master's students from many different walks of life and ages came together to develop a strong collaboration of ideas on leadership. I often think about that lesson and how important it was now, when looking at different types of leadership in the workplace.
The good thing about Gretchen and Sally was they didn't just say, 'this is a textbook you need to go off with'. Instead, they said that if you are in a leadership course you need to stand up and talk, to get in front of the class and present something, and to make sure that your ideas are well thought through - because that is the essence of leadership. I still follow them both on LinkedIn and love listening to their amazing podcasts.
There are so many reasons why ANU continues to leave a lasting impression on me and strangely, it's not just about my time there, but also after graduation - when a whole new world of opportunities and perspectives opened. I feel very fortunate to be part of ANU now as an alumnus because it is a really strong network.

You can follow Suchita on LinkedIn at

Story prepared in collaboration with the ANU Women's Alumni Network.

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