Alumni In Focus

Ruth Tan


Associate, Sapere Research Group

Bachelor of Business (Accounting) 2011

Having worked with organisations such as Ferrier Hodgson Malaysia, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP Singapore and now with Sapere Forensics in Sydney, Ruth says that the various landscapes and terrains of assignments have been invaluable within her career. 

An all-rounder with diversified experiences in array of specialized areas including Forensic Investigation, Corporate Finance, Business Valuation, and more, Ruth's current role deals with organisations in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore
and Sydney.

'I would like to thank and give credit the University for equipping me for the workforce and life in general," Ruth says. "My studies have played a big part in helping me get to my current point in life, and I am thankful for the lifelong relationships made, lessons learnt, and invaluable experiences which I took away from my years in Campbelltown and Parramatta Campuses.

Ruth's advice for students?

  1. Dress with confidence.
  2. Be adaptable, flexible, take risk, challenge yourself to go to greater heights. Never stop learning, work hard and play harder for life is an extraordinary adventure to be lived.
  3. Build lifelong relationships with folks you cross paths with and take an interest in them. 
  4. Always stay humble and teachable be it as a new student and even after you have reached the mountain top in your career. 
  5. And focus on learning the process, enjoy and savour your season of being a student!

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Thivanka Rangala


Chief Financial Officer, edotco Group

Master of Business Administration 2011

Since studying, Thivanka has had the fortune of travelling the globe for work.

But he had to start somewhere – 'I started off right at the bottom of the ladder, so I know what it feels like to write those cheques and do the reconciliations,' Thivanka says.

His work has seen movement across different industries from Real Estate management, Plantations, Construction, Restaurants, Trading (Tea), Cosmetics, Printing/ Manufacturing to Telecommunications and today to Passive Infrastructure.

The exposure gained in these organisations cover a wide range of unique experiences which Thivanka says have been extremely valuable learnings for him. These covered the listing of Dialog in Sri Lanka, working with the world bank, setting up of several companies in various different industries, creation of Dialog's Mobile advertising and commerce business to name a few.

'In my career I have always had an extremely challenging and interesting portfolio to manage, working late and into the weekends was done without hesitation, and doing my MBA groomed me to be more resilient in the more challenging roles I took on later,' Thivanka says.

'Looking back today, I cherish all the moments of doing my MBA and still recall some of the lectures and learning. The content you acquire in your MBA is used on a regular basis in real life, and this makes it extremely worthwhile.'

Currently as the CFO for edotco Group, a start up with a regional presence, his experience continues with the same passion as he had when joining the group 18 years ago.

Thivanka's advice for students:

'You should have a passion for what you do. I studied science and ended up becoming a finance professional after doing an internship in my first work place. Effort is needed like with everything else in life, but the pay offs are well worth the rewards that follow.'

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Martin Hollander


Director, Trevinci Corporate Advisory

Master of Commerce (Honours), 1999

Martin combines hands-on operating, portfolio management, business development and strategic expertise having scaled, managed and sold companies in Australia, the United States, Canada, and China.

Studying at Western Sydney University was instrumental in encouraging him to think in a more structured and logical manner. With so much information readily and instantaneously available, it has become important to distill and prioritise large quantities of quantitative and qualitative material into concise yet meaningful soundbites.

Martin's advice for students:

Technology and changes in consumer behaviour are having a profound effect on all industries. For companies to remain competitive, they have to engage customers in ways that constantly adapt to changes in market dynamics. Any skills and knowledge that contribute to understanding this is invaluable.

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Thien Pham

Head of Government Affairs & Market Access, Novartis Vietnam

Master of Business and Commerce, 2014

At the age of 40, and with more than a decade of experience in the professional world under his belt, Thien decided to end his public affairs management role in Vietnam and begin a Master degree in Australia.

Studying on the Parramatta Campus as an international student, Thien says that the experience has had a positive impact on his professional life and contributed much to the multi-culture learning environment at the University. During his study, Thien also participated in public relations activities under Public Relations Institute of Australia (PRIA).

'I aspired to learn and improve myself as a business leader, challenge my limits with new schools of thoughts rather than performing as a functional manager. This helps me to be a better strategic partner to my commercial and marketing colleagues,' says Thien.

After completion of his Master, Thien returned to Vietnam to pursue his public affairs career while he maintains to be a professional member of PRIA. He is currently working as Head of Government Affairs & Market Access, Novartis Pharma Services AG in Vietnam, a role he took on following the completion of his degree in September 2014. In this role, he represents the Company in EUROCHAM's Pharma Group as a member of Legal & Regulatory Working Group to contribute on regulatory advocacy.

Thien's advice for students:

  1. Equip yourselves with clear career goals and required skills and work on it every day by researching, studying, and networking with targeted professional groups and people, including social media such as LinkedIn.
  2. Volunteer and engage in social works to improve your confidence, teamwork and interaction in multi-culture environment.
  3. And don't forget to travel to new places and meet new people! Go out of your comfort zone and be willing to take new challenges - but please be well-prepared.

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