Summer Reflections: Melbourne Business Practicum With Ahmad Bajwa


The Melbourne Business Practicum is a highlight of UniMelb for many of our students. The opportunity to work with large & small local businesses is a rewarding experience that can also help us attain practical skills. We wanted to help tell the stories of those who have completed this awesome program.


Words by Ahmad Bajwa:


I am Ahmad Bajwa from Pakistan, studying Master of International Business. As this is my last semester, I planned to apply for Melbourne Business Practicum, and was fortunate enough to be selected. Our host company was the Australian Conservation Foundation and the Practicum was a Finance project. We completed the practicum in the the company from Feb 4-15.


"Get out of your comfort zone, otherwise it becomes very difficult to suddenly cope up with change"

Tell us how the practicum challenged you?


Being an introvert, I have always struggled in socialising. Since my first semester, I have worked with my fellow peers instead of meeting new students and experience diversity. Because of these issues, I had been working in my comfort zone and didn’t think of the consequences. As a result, when I started working with my Business Practicum team, I ran into some complicated problems with them as well as with the project as my team members were Finance majors. What I learned from this experience is, get out of your comfort zone, otherwise it becomes very difficult to suddenly cope up with change.


Image from the Australian Conservation Fund website:


What sorts of practical learnings did you take away from the Business Practicum?


Another aspect that I learned from Business Practicum is that in real life, especially consultancy projects, one simply doesn’t have enough time. It’s an intense exercise, which makes you work ready for projects, where you have to deliver your results in a very short time. Therefore, everyone works around the clock to finish the project on time. Everything seems overwhelming and moving in a fast pace, and I guess that’s part of the experience. Conflicts have to be resolved as soon as possible, otherwise it effects the whole project e.g. I resolved the conflict with my team quickly as we discussed that the further this prolongs, the harder it will become for us to resolve it. The team needs to see the bigger picture, the common goal that needs to be achieved by everyone for conflict resolution.


"In my Business Practicum, we delivered a different outcome of the project which was initially agreed upon. Why? because we briefed the client of the issues with it as we moved along."


Lastly, I would say that Business Practicum taught me that frequent communication with your team members, your supervisors and most importantly, your client, is the key for a successful project outcome. Furthermore, it’s healthy for a motivated team environment to have frequent communication so that any misunderstandings can be addressed. The client should be briefed daily of the project’s progress. It’s the clients’ interest to know in which direction the project is moving e.g.


In my Business Practicum, we delivered a different outcome of the project which was initially agreed upon. Why? because we briefed the client of the issues with it as we moved along. Hence, the client realized that the outcome they were expecting is simply not practical at this point. So, we presented a broader set of recommendations, which the client was mentally aware of, instead of giving them a surprise at the end, which they might not have liked.


Image from the Australian Conservation Fund website:



If you are interested in participating in the Winter 2019 Business Practicum, click here.



How did the company react to your presentation?


Everyone in our group presented in front of the academic supervisor, and the host company liaison. We presented in powerpoint format similar to how we present here at Uni. We went into our research methods, the research itself and outlined the specific steps we thought the ACF needed to take steps to implement our recommendation. Overall they were happy with the result of our efforts, and gave us positive feedback.


Would you recommend the MBP to other students?


Overall, I would say that the Business Practicum was indeed a challenging and a wonderful experience, which gave me a lot for my professional career. To those who still have a chance, I would highly recommend undertaking either the Global or Melbourne Business Practicum, based on your own interests.