Aaron Fitzgerald – CEO of Grill’d International and COO of Grill’d Australia – understands firsthand the value of VU’s practical approach. Aaron recognises VU grads for their range of experiences, and willingness to get stuck in. We chatted to him to find out more about what employers are looking for now and in the future.
Career chat with a CEO – have you got what it takes?
As a CEO, what makes a potential employee stand out?
The main quality that employers are looking for is experience and demonstrated ability to apply technical skills with the reality of the workforce. It is the applicants that have not only a degree, but an understanding of how they put that degree to work on a day-to-day basis.
How can recent graduates be expected to have experience?
What we’re looking for is people who participate in a wide range of activities at university, as they generally demonstrate a willingness to face challenges and often enrich the culture of the workplace with their enthusiasm and positivity.
What is it about VU graduates that makes them appealing employees?
From my experience, the VU graduates I’ve hired have workplace maturity and enthusiasm to get involved. I can appreciate all of this because VU provided me with the same opportunities.
What did you study and how did it help launch your career?
I studied my degree at VU (Arts, Recreation/Sport Management). The course had a good blend of practical and classroom learning, with a strong focus on making connections in the industry, which would then lead to future career opportunities. The lecturers and tutors had strong industry experience and were passionate about the curriculum they were teaching.
VU challenges you to get out of the classroom and apply your skills in real work environments. One of my placement opportunities led to a ten-year career in the cinema industry which then helped me establish connections that I have maintained to this day.
What have been your greatest achievements since you graduated?
My career has seen me work across some of Australia’s most famous and fastest growing brands. I’ve been part of helping make Swisse Vitamins a household name, and now taking Grill’d Healthy Burgers international – both opportunities I could only have dreamt of when I started my degree.
CEO Aaron shares his career wisdom.
Aaron with some of the Grill'd International team, expanding to Indonesia in 2019.
Discover how studying at VU helps prepare you for employment
From industry-based work placements, to mentorship opportunities and employability assistance, we can link you to a network of over 4000 industry connections. That’s why businesses across the country rate VU graduates in the top 10 of more than 40 universities in Australia for work-readiness.*
Contact us to find out how we can set you on the path to success in your studies and beyond:
- Call us on +61 3 9919 6100
- Chat online with one of our course advisers
*Employers score VU graduates higher than the national average for collaborative and technical skills, and work-readiness (Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching’s 2018 Employer Satisfaction Survey).