Michael Harris-Jaffe

Michael Harris-Jaffe

Hi, I’m Michael and I’m currently studying the Bachelor of Business (Accounting) and Bachelor of Business (Management) double degree at the Caulfield campus.

I began exploring course options when I was in the early stages of VCE.  At the time, I had been undertaking a couple of business subjects in Accounting and Business Management and knew that I wanted my future to head in that direction. I spoke with a careers counsellor at high school who really helped me explore my options, which ultimately assisted me in making the right decision. While I count myself lucky to have had some sort of direction before uni, Monash has given me a number of opportunities to apply myself both in Australia and overseas.

Travel

Studying abroad

I went on a semester abroad to the University of Bergen in Norway to add a bit of overseas experience to my degree. I chose this destination mainly because I knew very little about the country, which allowed me to fully take in the culture and embrace everything it had to offer.

The few months I spent in Norway were eye-opening and left me with some funny memories. Unknown to me at the time, Norwegians love your standard Old El Paso Tacos and would eat them religiously. I must admit, though, it was a bit of a shock being invited to a local’s house for dinner expecting a traditional Norwegian dish, and then being offered Old El Paso Tacos! Living abroad also came with some obstacles, but for me there were none bigger than learning how to cook, which in itself was a big learning experience.

Travel

From a career perspective, studying abroad gave me a decent amount of time to think about my career direction and where I want to end up. It also made me realise that a lot of learning can be done away from the University, which encouraged me to seek an internship.

Putting my uni skills into practice

Securing an Internship at PwC is my biggest accomplishment to date at uni. I opted for PwC over other professional service firms as it allowed me to rotate between the Assurance and Tax Business units within the Private Clients team. Typically, my days would see me carry out audit testing or preparing tax returns for lodgement with the ATO, but I was also given the opportunity to try a number of different things during my placement.

Probably the most challenging aspect of my internship was finding the confidence to effectively communicate in a clear and concise manner, across a range of platforms. Over time, though, I progressively built confidence and began backing myself, and it eventually became second nature.

My time at PwC was incredible, especially since that kind of workplace experience cannot be replicated in a classroom.

Future goals

Through my overseas travels and my placements, I’m now sure I want to pursue a career in assurance as an Auditor. And who knows, I may even do so in a different country.

I guess if I had one piece of advice for students I would say that while it can be tough, you will learn a lot more about yourself if you look outside the box and take some risks.

PWC