You'd find me at Union Bar

George Karagiannakis (BEc '77)
08 Dec 2022

Years on from graduating from The Australian National University (ANU), I think the social learnings were equally important to the academics.

I grew up in Canberra and had always wanted to study at ANU. I also wanted to do economics and the University had a very good reputation as an economics faculty as well. There was a very prominent economics professor, Burgess Cameron, who taught first-year economics - he stands out in my memory as being a very articulate, personable person and an incredibly good lecturer. And after lectures, I would usually go to the Union Bar to play pool.
I did a lot of socialising, particularly while frequenting the Union Bar in the afternoons, and I learned to play pool very well. I wasn't a champion, but I was pretty good. I held my own against some very stiff competition. The bar also had a good variety of Australian bands that would come to play and I remember seeing The Little River Band, which was an up-and-coming band at the time. So, many of my fondest memories at ANU are of the socialising.
I still enjoy socialising and my passion is mentoring people. That's why I recently reconnected with ANU, so I can help give back to the University.
I already mentor at some institutions in Sydney, where I now live, so I'm working on a mentoring program that can support graduates of ANU who come to Sydney. I want to help them start their careers, and to understand and navigate the corporate world or their own professions. I look forward to developing that program further, as well as forming an official ANU Sydney Alumni Network.
What university doesn't teach you - or life doesn't teach you as you're growing up - is the importance of networking. You find that out once you enter your career.
So, my advice to current students at ANU is, use your university experience to form relationships. They will be of assistance to you both socially and professionally in your later years. Do it early and treasure that connection. That's probably my biggest lesson from ANU.
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