Bachelor of Commerce student Legrand Buan (right) with his First STEP mentor, Dr Verity Greenwood.
Bachelor of Commerce student Legrand Buan (right) with his First STEP mentor, Dr Verity Greenwood.

Business and economics faculty helps students take first steps into university

It is hard enough being a first-year university student, let alone a first-year international student! That was why Filipino student Legrand Buan decided to join the First STEP Mentoring Program run by the Faculty of Business and Economics.

“FBE First STEP is a mentoring program tailored for new students here at Macquarie,” says Legrand, who is doing a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Accounting. “In a nutshell, it eases the transition of incoming first-year students through networking.

“We are assigned a peer mentor, armed with a few years of experience as a university student, and an academic mentor, to whom we consult three times throughout the session to work on our set goals as well as explore the rich opportunities to be found in the university.”

Academic mentors

Legrand says he got along well with his academic mentor, Dr Verity Greenwood. “Our meetings were definitely both enjoyable and fruitful,” he says. “You could say that one would mistake the meetings as casual chats over coffee. That’s how fluid our conversations went in each of our meetings.”

While Legrand admits he’s often wondered where his degree will lead him, he credits the meetings with his academic mentor for opening up his horizons.

“I study accounting and I learnt that there’s more to accountants than just the corporate types who wear suits and focus on unimaginable collections of numbers,” he says.

“In fact, there are accountants in a host of exciting fields. You name it: stocks, law, sports, academia and, God forbid, even tax – all the while wearing a suit! It’s exciting to think of the many doors that are open to you.”

Networking benefits

Legrand says one of the biggest benefits of the First STEP program is the networking. “Since starting the program, I developed closer relationships with my lecturers and tutors, which enhanced my learning quite significantly,” he says.

“I involved myself in student groups that matched my interests and broadened my understanding of the student university life here at Macquarie. I learnt to put myself out there and find the opportunities that lead me to grow. It’s definitely a skill that will continue to benefit me in the future.”

Next steps

Having benefited from the program, Legrand is keen to become a peer mentor himself. “The program helped me a lot in my first year of study,” he says. “I want to get to experience being on the other side of the table, being a mentor and aiding in easing the transition of students into university life.

“It’s a program I would recommend to anyone looking to broaden their network and understanding of university student life. It’s their opportunity to build closer relationships with academics here at Macquarie and make friends along the way!”

The FBE First STEP Mentoring Program connects first-year Faculty of Business and Economics students with academics and peer mentors within the faculty. The aim of the program is to enhance students’ first-year experience by providing a valuable support network.