Akash Punjabi grew up in a middle-class Indian family, where travelling and studying abroad was just a dream.
Everything changed when he applied for the Deakin Vice-Chancellor’s Merit Scholarship Award. Akash now wishes to share his incredible experience with the Deakin community:
'I was interviewed for the Merit Scholarship Award with long uncombed hair, wearing flip-flops and a resume hand-written by a friend. I believe my passion to live in the most liveable city in the world, Melbourne, my extensive knowledge of Deakin and participation in extra-curricular activities helped me gain the scholarship. Teary-eyed, I accepted the award from our President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Jane den Hollander AO in the presence of my much-loved family members, professors and friends.
'Soon after, I boarded the first flight of my life. Experiencing the self-driven sky trains at the world-renowned Changi Airport in Singapore was surreal to say the least! It would signify the start of a sensational journey. Landing in Melbourne and absorbing the exhilarating beauty was fascinating for me. Settling into Melbourne, I had to do tasks that I had never done before: earning a wage, cleaning, cooking and managing the house while studying and, of course, socialising.
'At one point during my studies, I dreaded failing an accounting unit, at another point I was awarded the Dean’s Merit List Award for being a high-performing student. I completely immersed myself in the University experience, leading two clubs, being involved in multiple volunteering programs, doing pro-bono consulting and multiple jobs, as well as tutoring bachelor degree students. The experiences helped me achieve Deakin’s Global Citizenship Award; I was also honoured with the prestigious title of a Future Leader by Australia’s largest accounting body - CPA Australia.
‘Despite the highs there were some lows and challenges, especially when trying to gain some relevant local experience. With the assistance of the DeakinTALENT team, in my last trimester, I gained an internship with the Financial Services Division at Deakin, Geelong. Travelling about six hours to and from my internship, while doing assignments on the train was a challenge but I was up for it. Performing exceptionally well in the intern role plus some networking helped me secure a full-time role with Deakin’s Global Engagement Portfolio Finance team at Burwood. The dream continued to unfold into a nice fairy tale as I am now working in my preferred area of accounting and finance for one of top digital leaders in the world – Deakin University. Deakin enabled me to fulfil my dreams and achieve all of this’.
You can help students like Akash to achieve their dreams.
Read more about contributing to a student scholarship.