Zoe MacFarlan, UNE Bachelor of Business Student

Interview with Zoe MacFarlan, UNE Bachelor of Business Student

It’s more than perfect that, Zoe MacFarlan found her way to living and studying at a regional university, at our very own Armidale campus. The rural lifestyle, career opportunities, and prospects we’re all part of the adventure and charm for Zoe.

What brought you to Armidale?

After I graduated high school in Sydney, I moved up to North West Queensland to spend my gap year on a cattle station as a Governess, where I managed to get the best of both worlds – half my time spent as a Governess and the other, a station hand. I fell in love with the rural lifestyle and didn’t see myself heading back to Sydney to start university the following year. Instead, I had a few people suggest Robb College and UNE to me, which I thought sounded like a great new adventure! Much like my gap year, I followed my nose and didn’t look back, meeting more brilliant people and making memories that will last a lifetime!

You’ve recently completed a work placement via Work300.

I had previously met a couple of AuctionsPlus employees – I was really interested in this company,  I maintained contact with some of these people that thought – when I returned home to Sydney in the university break I might be able to secure an internship of sorts. When I realised I could commence a work placement at AuctionsPlus and have it link directly to my degree through the Work300 unit I was thrilled. The careers team at UNE had the relevant paperwork all sorted so it was a really straightforward process to secure the placement.

It was great because I also had Sujana Adapa, head of the UNE Business School as my academic advisor for the unit. It was really easy to organise my assessments. She ensured it was flexible enough to make sure I had adequate time to submit quality work, while Julia Perryman from the Careers, Academic Success office was extremely helpful in ensuring I had covered everything required prior to the commencement of trimester 3 and my placement. Which was great, especially as she always quick to respond to any questions.

Tell us about your work placement duties.

During my placement at AuctionsPlus I worked in the customer facing department of the business running online and interfaced sales (interfaced sales are those which involve working alongside the physical sale to deliver it to an online audience). I helped with answering phones, approving buyer registrations, and several other daily tasks. I really enjoyed it and upon completion of my work placement, I was offered a full-time role where I am also now a regional manager which involves building and maintaining relationships with livestock agents in various parts of the country.

What skills did you learn in your placement that you didn’t anticipate?

The experience! It really shows a potential employer your commitment and work ethic when you are purely there to learn and immerse yourself in an environment you want to be part of. It also allows you to figure out what you might see yourself building a career on if you’re like me, studying a broad degree like a Bachelor of Business, and not too sure what exactly you’re wanting to do!

I learned more about the livestock trading process as opposed to the experiences I’ve had previously on the production side of the agricultural industry. It was so exciting talking to people from across the country from Western Australian agents and producers to Tasmanians and everywhere in between!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I have no idea where I see myself in 10 years! I do, however, see myself playing a part in an increasingly progressive agricultural industry. Currently, there is so much scope to improve practices and I would love to be involved in developing those with regard to the handling, processing, and trading of livestock. I also thoroughly enjoyed teaching during my gap year as a governess so am considering studying my Masters of Primary Teaching at some point as well. I have no idea what my future holds and that truly excites me!

Photo of a cattle station from Zoe MacFarlan, UNE Bachelor of Business Student

Why should other students look at completing a work300 whilst at UNE?

As I mentioned above, the work300 unit allows you to get your foot in the door and the best way to do this within an industry or a particular business is to get involved and be proactive! Showing you’re willing to work and learn without any expectations of remuneration proves your dedication and goes a long way in an employer’s eyes. The work300 unit also allows you to progress in your studies while getting real industry experience.

For me, that has led to my first full-time job pursuing my passion for the agricultural industry, so I couldn’t recommend the unit more!

Zoe, thank you so much for sharing a little part of your UNE Experience and future goals with us, we’re so excited to see the journey you take!


If you want to get involved with any extracurricular activities in your time at UNE or you’re looking for everyday tips,
tricks or advice for students
explore our website!

Another UNE Life team that offers opportunities with Work300 students is Tune!FM, we recommend any media students reach out to the team at our university radio station for any possible work experience!