Bendigo Bank scholarship helps Griffith student put community first

Yannick Van Hierden is set to undertake a project of difference as the 2018 recipient of the Bendigo Bank Paradise Point Community Bank®scholarship, which will see the Master of Marketing student striving to create a positive, tangible outcome for everyday people.

The award, worth $7000, is reflective of Bendigo Bank’s ingrained community focus, a value it shares not only with Griffith University but Yannick himself.

“I came to Australia to study marketing, but not merely applying it to make a lot of profits for any other corporation; I wanted to find something that I really create some value through,” he said.

“I found social marketing, and in social marketing now I’ve found this project. I want to be part of something bigger, and I’m very happy that Bendigo Bank is doing these efforts to really create value in the community.

“So, for me, this scholarship will help me to set my first step in growing myself in applying social marketing for the greater good.

“Of course, it also helps me to not worry about finances, but it’s a chance to be part of this big project and work on something that is really beneficial for a community and that lasts. You can’t really see that in terms of monetary value.”

The project will serve as Yannick’s dissertation for his master’s degree, and will include an examination and revision of the ways in which the Paradise Point branch engages with its surrounding populace.

“Bendigo reinvests the bulk of its profits back into the community, and this project is very specific to the Community Bank® at Paradise Point, which wants to uplift the community,” he said.

“What I understand is, usually, how they invest back into communities is more of a top-down, management decision, so what I’m trying to challenge is how we can involve the community in making these investment decisions.

“So, it’s basically a bottom-up approach of social marketing in the community.”

That ability to make a genuine social impact and push boundaries was a key part of Yannick’s decision to pursue his career goals as an international student at Griffith Business School.

“I actually chose Griffith because Griffith is a young university; it’s quite a progressive university,” he said. “Because it’s so young and progressive, it’s not bound by bureaucracy and ideas of ‘prestige’; you can be a pioneer in a field.

“So that’s what drew me to Griffith — to become a pioneer in my field.”

Despite the university’s relative youth, its bountiful partnerships with industry are deeply embedded, including its relationship with Bendigo Bank’s Paradise Point Community Bank®.

As the branch’s Senior Manager, Mr Tony Jensen, explains: “The Griffith Business School relationship with our Paradise Point Community Bank® branch of Bendigo Bank has been quite well established for some time now, and this is another level of what we’ll be looking to do in terms of building an understanding of what is needed from the community.

“We’ve done lots of great things with students in the past in terms of helping them with their education; we share values in terms of putting back into the community and building on the prosperity of community. It’s what we’re all about.

“There’s definitely great synergy in terms of what we do, and we have a really big heart for education and building the future leaders of our community now and really investing in that, so this is a big step for us in doing that.”

In addition to its synergetic qualities, the scholarship is also something of an exercise in symbiosis, with Yannick, Griffith University, the Paradise Point bank and its broader community all set to enjoy a meaningful benefit from the completion of the remarkable student’s dissertation.

“Yannick, with his successful scholarship — the first scholarship that we’ve done for an individual through our ongoing grants program — is going to really give us a granular look at the key things that the community’s needing, which will help us with our philosophy of 80 per cent of our profits going back to the community,” Mr Jensen said.

“He’s going to help understand more what the community’s seeking from us, and we’re really looking forward to what the outcomes will be.”