Adam Johnston studied a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland, Australia. His studies have opened up executive opportunities for him in Asia. Here Adam shares insight into his career, his experience studying in Queensland and career-advice for anyone thinking of studying in Queensland.
What are you doing now in your career?
I am the Country Head and Partner / Managing Director for Protiviti, a global management consulting firm, in Hong Kong. I lead a practice of 300 staff, delivering digital and regulatory change projects to some of the world’s largest banks and fintechs.
Why did you choose your field of study and why did you choose Queensland?
I first enrolled in architecture as I liked design. After six months, and taking some basic electives (marketing and economics), I realised my passion was more toward business and I switched to a Business Degree. I chose to study in Brisbane because the universities were high quality and the lifestyle in Queensland was very appealing – going surfing on the weekends and being able to afford to live in higher quality accommodation closer to the campus. I also found people in Brisbane very friendly.
How has your experience in Queensland helped you with your career?
I found it easy to find work in great large global companies based in Brisbane. Once I was in these companies, I found the opportunity to grow my career was equal, regardless of what city I was based in. I was given several opportunities to work around Australia and overseas, being based in Brisbane.
I just did what I was passionate about and one thing led to another. I also took healthy risks by putting my hand up for international assignments and launching new businesses in new locations. I continued to work hard and learned along the way. Over the last 15 years my career and role has evolved and as a result so have I. It’s been a great experience.
Did you work or undertake projects with employers or industry groups during your studies?
Yes, I started an internship with Philip Morris in my final year of studies. They offered me a permanent job as soon as I finished my degree and that was the start of my corporate career.
What career-advice would you give future students thinking about studying in Queensland?
Do it! Select your preferred university (there are many good ones) and look around at where you can live to be close to university and consider the lifestyle you can have whilst studying and having great career opportunities when you graduate.
What was the highlight of your experience living in Queensland?
The high quality lifestyle. The Gold and Sunshine coasts are nearby, as is Byron Bay. Brisbane is a beautiful, thriving city, and it’s affordable to live close to the city centre and university campuses.
What's the easiest way to develop a social-life in Queensland?
Playing sports is a great way to meet others. I played rugby whilst at university and I also joined the Queensland University of Technology’s Surfers Club - eventually becoming its President!
I competed in the National University Games and I also joined several international student groups to broaden my horizons and meet people. Everyone was welcoming and I found it very easy to build a social network.
Do you have any ongoing ties with Queensland?
I still have a house in Queensland in Manly, by the Bay. My family and I return every year to visit and we will one day return to Brisbane with our kids and put them through high school and university (If they choose) in Brisbane. It is where I would like them to grow up in their teenage and young adult years.
You can follow Adam's story on LinkedIn here.