MSIS Continental Connections: Adventures in Australia

MSIS Students Share the Ultimate Learning Experience

When the MSIS study tour trip to Australia was revealed, the Class of 2019 responded with a resounding yes. For many, this was a bucket list trip and they immediately signed on.

The students harnessed the energy and experience of their exhilarating program year and took it a step further. A step down under. And the trip didn’t disappoint.

  • 10 Days
  • 7 Flights
  • 3 Cities
  • 8 Company Visits

I would have never been able to do a trip like this on my own. It was mind blowing. We came together as classmates, as professionals, and as individuals. I had the chance to explore these new cities with what grew to be a close circle of friends. – Abhishek Sharma

Saying “G’day” to Sydney Startup Hub

Waking up in Sydney, MSIS’ first stop was the Sydney Startup Hub – a center that supports the development of innovation and technology in Australia’s startup capital. The hub aims to connect people, support collaboration, attract investors, and create a pipeline for future job-creating businesses, and sustainable, high-value jobs. The Microsoft Reactor Team is one of the leading residents promoting innovation at the hub.

Students had the opportunity to meet the Founder of the Sydney Startup Hub and Microsoft Reactor Program Manager, Michael Watson. He gave them an overview of the start-up community in Australia. With an economy based mostly on mining and agriculture, the other students were enthusiastic to learn how companies are transitioning to be at the forefront of innovation.
Sydney Startup Hub

Meeting with Michael Watson at the Microsoft Sydney Reactor was one of my favorite stops. – Afiya Nusrat

Defying Expectations at the MasterCard Tech Hub


The next stop to the MasterCard Tech Hub left an impression. “This was such an eye-opening experience,” said one of the students. No one expected the immersive reception and Launchpad at MasterCard, and many admitted they expected a traditional financial service visit.


Students met with Lucy Jezard, Director of Business Development, Aaron Fidler, Senior VP of Applied Predictive Technologies, and Surin Fernando, head of Business Development and Digital.Through this meeting, students recognized that innovation is at the heart of Mastercard. MasterCard offers a program where clients come to them with their business and technology problems, and in a week they work on sprints and develop a working solution.

They recognize the need to innovate with new forms of payment methods and they are reacting quickly to client needs. – Dan Bianchini

The company’s collaborative culture was seen in other company visits and the students remarked that though they speak the same language, and there are many similarities to the US, Aussie corporate culture is different in many positive ways, less transactional, friendly, and creative.

Culture & Collaboration at Atlassian

AtlassianNext up, students meet global home-grown Aussie tech giant – Atlassian.

Innovation, culture, business, and tech were on full display at the homegrown Australian tech company Atlassian. Students met with Katy Washington, Workplace Experience Manager, Ross Chippendale, Head of Workplace Technology, and Rohan Dhupelia, Data Engineering Manager.

Students were interested in visiting Atlassian as many were familiar with the company’s products. Katy gave them a tour of the company campus. It’s a fun and innovative culture that emphasizes collaboration, and balance.Students had a consensus that it was the type of environment where they could see themselves working. They liked the interactions between management and staff the sense of shared goals. “It was like a company in the Bay area,” said Dan Bianchini. “They’ve created a workspace that is for employees and their families.”

Dan’s biggest take-away from the entire trip was how important finding a cultural fit is for everyone. “The chance to visit these eight companies in so short a time allowed me to see that where you work is just as important as the work you do.”

MSIS students enjoyed the opportunity to connect with senior executives for intimate tours and talks. This is a one-of-a-kind cultural deep dive/networking/learning trip.

Read more about our students trek to Melbourne, where they explored global business, government, and innovative telecommunications.

Ready to learn more about the MSIS program and join our global cohort? Apply today!

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