Bill Hawkins says an Australian masters degree helped him stand out to potential employers.
Bill Hawkins says an Australian masters degree helped him stand out to potential employers.

U.S. graduate plans to succeed

American Macquarie graduate Bill Hawkins says his decision to study in Australia was one of the best he ever made.

“The experience of living and studying abroad is one of the best things you can do – it takes you out of your comfort zone and immerses you in another culture,” he says.

Bill graduated from Macquarie with a Master of Environmental Planning in 2006 and is now a town planner for the town of Suffield, Connecticut.

“As the town planner, I’m responsible for coordinating land use activities in Suffield and am the liaison between developers and the Zoning and Planning Commission,” he notes.

Bill says his Australian masters degree helped him secure his position with Suffield, as it made him stand out from other candidates.

“My current employer was impressed that I studied overseas because they felt it reflected my ability to think independently and get along well with others,” he notes. “While that may sound simple, these are both extremely important aspects of my job.”

“My employer vetted Macquarie’s environmental planning curriculum thoroughly and agreed that it gave me the necessary coursework background for my job.”

Bill says it was challenging choosing an Australian graduate school from the other side of the world, as he was not able to physically visit the universities.

“I chose Macquarie based on my research into the Graduate School of the Environment and the option to study environmental planning,” he recalls. “At the time, Macquarie’s environmental planning course was one of the few in Australia that was accredited by the Planning Institute of Australia.”

“Another reason for choosing Macquarie was to be in Sydney, so I could explore the city when I had the time. Macquarie is located in a great area just north of the city centre, so you have one of the world’s greatest sights only minutes away. “

Bill says the highlight of his Macquarie course was a fieldwork trip to Byron Bay on the New South Wales far North Coast.

“Byron Bay is a beautiful area – it was a treat to spend a week there with my classmates, even though it was a lot of hard work.  It was a great hands-on experience that takes you out of the classroom.”

Bill says he would recommend Macquarie to American students seeking to study abroad.

“I’d recommend Macquarie to any students looking for a first-class international university where the academics challenge you,” he says.

“With so many international students at Macquarie, you get to work with people from all over the world, which enhances the learning experience.“

The Master of Environmental Planning is a flexible, interdisciplinary degree that develops professional skills and knowledge in planning practice, while allowing students to pursue special interests as environmental and resources management or sustainable development. 

Students have opportunity to undertake an internship in a planning company or government agency via the Gateway to the Planning Profession unit.