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Bachelor of Property and Real Estate, Melbourne Burwood Campus, 2012
Currently: Project Assistant, Metrobuild
According to Real Estate and Property student Justina Ding, two things about Deakin University stand out. 'The industry speakers they have come in and the e-live component,' she says. 'The online service creates flexibility for those who are working, especially when you get into the later stages of your course.'
After completing school in 2003, Justina went on to study business, majoring in public relations. 'I worked in PR for about a year and I enjoyed certain aspects of it - the networking and meeting people,' she says. 'But I found it a bit superficial.' A strong family connection to the property industry soon had her reassessing her career path. 'Most of my family are property developers and that influenced me to change direction.'
Justina gained a position with Metrobuild, a company specialising in luxury boutique apartments. She began with an administration role before enrolling in Deakin's real estate and property degree in 2010. 'It was one of my top preferences because it was easy to get to from home and I knew the campus was new,' she says. But Justina soon found she had more reasons to like Deakin. 'I loved the fact that they use a lot of industry speakers - developers, valuers, leasing agents and people from the property sector. It means you get a mix of text book material and real life examples,' she says. 'You know what's going on in the workplace and it's good from a networking point of view.'
Deakin's trimester system has allowed Justina to complete some subjects over the summer break so she will finish her course in the middle of this year - several months ahead of schedule. 'I did two subjects over two summers,' she explains. 'I did half the normal workload so you keep the momentum going. If you have three months off you can lose it a little bit. It's been good.'
All her subjects have proved useful as she has continued to work for Metrobuild, moving from her admin role to take on more responsibility in the property area, Justina says. But she makes special mention of Property Law. 'It's a very important subject because there are a lot of rules and regulations that surround the property industry - whether it be development, leasing, valuations or advisory. It is very regulated so it is important to learn and be up-to-date about the different legislation surrounding the property industry.'
Bringing new knowledge to the workplace has also proved a plus, she adds. 'We have learned a lot about sustainability and I have been able to bring that into the workplace. The knowledge has been more up-to-date than the people at work have.'
Justina is part of the Deakin University chapter of the Golden Key International Honour Society which is awarded to students in the top 15 per cent of the faculty. In December 2011, a research paper she wrote about the floods in Brisbane as part of an assignment was published in the Australia and New Zealand Property Journal. In future she would love to get into large scale commercial property development and has plans to work overseas.