It didn’t take much to convince Jonathon Glindemann that an international career was within reach as he was studying a Bachelor of Commerce at Griffith University.

It was what the Griffith Business School student had in mind when he started his degree in 2013.

Now, the 21-year-old graduate is working in Hong Kong at the Asia-Pacific headquarters of one of Australia’s largest ASX-listed companies, QBE Insurance. His role as a Risk Analyst closely aligns with his strengths and his studies at Griffith.

“A lot of it is based on the principles of applied economics, such as risks and cost benefit analyses,” said Jonathon. “It fits in well with what I wanted to do and with the international career that I wanted to pursue.”

Jonathon agreed his journey was aided by encouragement from academic staff within the University.

It started when he was talking over his career options with Dr Jeanne McConachie, the Manager of Griffith Honours College.

Cultural journey

Jonathon was undertaking the Honours College program, along with the Asia Future Fellows undergraduate program, when Dr McConachie suggested he apply for a New Colombo Plan scholarship.

“In the time I was applying for the scholarship I was still completing the Asia Future Fellows program and that was really a great experience for me,” said Jonathon.

“It gave me a taste of studying overseas and also a taste of the culture of Greater China. That was a big part of my decision to pursue the scholarship.”

Jonathon was one of the first recipients of the New Colombo Plan (NCP) Scholarship in 2015, the first full year of the program co-ordinated by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to encourage students to live, study and work in the Asia-Pacific.

Hong Kong: 'a large city in such a small space'

Hong Kong; ‘a large city in such a small space’.

Under the scholarship, Jonathon studied at The University of Hong Kong for part of his degree, after which he was encouraged to seek an internship.

“I started the internship with QBE at the beginning of the year and at the same time completed my last two subjects through Griffith University remotely,” said Jonathon.

“I graduated from Griffith in July and started the full-time Risk Analyst role at QBE the same week.”

Potential to grow

QBE Insurance, one of the world’s largest insurance companies, has about 14,500 employees in 37 countries globally, including regional offices in Hong Kong, London, New York, and Miami.

While Jonathon is still settling into his new role, he sees potential to move within the organisation as his career develops.

“Right now I’m loving Hong Kong,” he said.

“It’s a great city, a large city in such a small space, and that gives it an atmosphere you can’t get anywhere else.

“The exchange students and young professionals living and working here also add to that vibe.

“It’s also such a big transit hub, every other weekend there’s somebody I know passing through Hong Kong.

“Obviously it’s an opportunity that has come through the NCP scholarship, but my studies at Griffith have also given me the broad foundations to adapt to my new role.”

Jonathon said he may yet return to Australia, but not in the near term.

“At the moment I want to see what opportunities open up here,” he said.