Walking the same hallways as the creators of Google, Snapchat and LinkedIn will soon be reality for seven Curtin Business School students who are packing their bags to spend a once-in-a-lifetime summer at Stanford University.
Curtin Business School (CBS) is one of just twenty-two institutions worldwide to sign an agreement with Stanford to allow nominated students to enrol in the prestigious Stanford International Honors Program (IHP).
Bachelor of Commerce student Duane Du Toit says he learned about the initiative during his time as an intern for CBS, where he was tasked with promoting the program to other CBS students.
It didn’t take long for Du Toit to realise he himself should apply.
“I sat down and looked at the finances and the workload and considered whether I felt I would be able to succeed in that environment,” Du Toit says. “I was about halfway through this process when I thought, I’ve just got to grab the bull by the horns!”
Du Toit, a finance and business law major, will study technology and innovation units at Stanford. Du Toit says he can’t wait to learn from the best.
“I will be studying ‘philosophy and emerging technologies’ which looks at the history of how technology has developed and the ethical issues surrounding future technological developments,” Du Toit explains.
“I’ll also be doing ‘technology entrepreneurship’ which is focused on developing tech start-ups from the ground up and enabling them to run their businesses and become successful in this ever emerging industry. The most exciting thing for me about going to Stanford is the opportunity to gain knowledge, insight and mentorship from leaders in the Silicon Valley and associated venture capitalists. It will be incredible.”
The Director of Student Engagement, Hannah Wilkinson, who set up the program, is thrilled for the students.
“They will have guest lectures from some of the leading professors in the world but also business people within the Silicon Valley,” says Wilkinson.
“A number of the students have opted for the Stanford courses where if you do two or more units in a particular theme, get a B+ average and attend some of the public speaking events, it actually fast tracks you into the equivalent of a graduate certificate from Stanford, so a real value-add!”
As part of the honours program, students can select from more than 170 courses across humanities, sciences and engineering and are strongly encouraged to take up extracurricular activities.
“The IHP program is about more than just academic achievement,” Wilkinson reveals. “It is also about personal physical health and wellbeing. Stanford’s education model is very much about being well inside and outside to perform at your best.”
Public relations student Lara Rudd says she has chosen a yoga unit to break up her studies to help manage her stress levels at Stanford.
“I used to do the yoga FreeFit at Curtin from 7am to 8am before class,” Rudd explains. “It relaxed me and brought me to the perfect place where I was awake but just chilled out so I could go straight into class in such a good place. So doing that while I’m away will be amazing.”
As a public relations student, Rudd is excited to apply what she’s learnt in the classroom.
“We talk about connecting globally in public relations but actually doing that myself is really, really cool,” Rudd enthuses. “I think it’s going to help my career and my knowledge so much in that I can actually talk about globalisation in a personal way.”
Rudd credits Curtin’s diverse learning approach with feeling prepared for Stanford.
“At Curtin, we learn in multiple ways so that will really help at Stanford!” Rudd laughs. “It will be just one more way of learning, so not too scary!”
Rudd says she distinctly remembers the moment she heard about the Stanford mobility program.
“It was actually really funny when I first received the email about Stanford,” Rudd recalls. “Two weeks before, I’d been chatting with my Aunty about how I could go to a top American university and then I got Duane’s email and I was like, it’s a sign!”
“When I first read it I thought it was going to be really hard to get into, and then I saw all of the selection criteria and I realised I could do this!”
To students thinking about applying for the program in the future, Rudd says, “Just go for it! It’s such an amazing opportunity.”
To learn more about the Stanford IHP mobility program and application process, you can contact the CBS Student Engagement and Mobility Office at Experiencecbs@curtin.edu.au.