Sonia Fernandez

Bachelor of Science (Medical Bioscience)

If you are working, who is your current employer and what is your role?

I currently work for Michael Page as the Manager of the Engineering & Supply Chain division, based in Bangkok, Thailand.

Why did you choose Monash Malaysia?

I chose Monash Malaysia primarily for its reputation as an established Australian university. I considered the campus’ culture, facilities, quality of teaching professionals, availability of courses I was interested in, as well as the graduate employability ranking (which proved extremely valuable as I was able to secure full-time employment even before graduating).

While at Monash, what type of opportunities did you participate in?

I was the President of the Monash Exchange Club. I took a vested interest in working with the Monash Abroad team in supporting the Mobility Programs. This included being an advocate for encouraging students to participate in intercampus/inter-university exchange programs, supporting Orientation Week, assisting all incoming exchange students with day-to-day queries, as well as organising a variety of other extracurricular activities (weekend trips, cultural appreciation & sporting events etc.).

What insights, skills or experience made a difference to your own life or the lives of others around you?

Studying at Monash really brought out the inquisitive side of me. The environment made me curious – about different fields of studies, different countries, different cuisines, different types of occupations etc. As a result of that, I took elective courses from different Schools (including Business, Arts & Engineering), have travelled across over 15 countries (and counting!), explored a variety of cuisines (including some that would earn a place on the “Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern” show), taken a keen interest in engaging with people from all walks of life, and pursued a career path I never knew existed just 5 years prior.

Whilst at Monash, did you have any industry exposure/placements? How has it benefited you?

Yes, I took up an industry placement with Mahkota Medical Centre. I was put through the Management Associate program which gave me exposure to the Medical and Pathology Laboratory, Cancer Research Centre, Intensive Care Department, and was also fortunate to do rotations within the Surgical Department (Neurosurgery, Internal Medicine, Cardiology, Paediatrics, Oncology and Urology). Working under the direct supervision of the CEO and Medical Director also enabled me to better understand both technical and commercial elements of operating a tertiary healthcare centre. These skill sets have benefitted me in being able to tie both elements together when providing advisory services to my clients currently.

What do you love most about your student life at Monash?

I enjoyed the opportunity to meet other like-minded students from various parts of the country/world who shared very similar interests to me.

If you moved to come study at Monash, where did you live? How did you find that experience?

I lived with extended family while studying at Monash. It was a great experience given I had all the comforts of a familiar home and people, but at the same time I was in a new environment which provided me the platform to be more independent, self-sufficient, hardworking and extroverted.

Outside work or study were you able to build on your interest i.e. volunteering, mentoring other students, other educational pursuit?

I was a regular volunteer with The Salvation Army and St. Vincent De’ Paul’s Society – organising and participating in annual charity drives, as well as providing education and skills trainings for children and young adults with special needs.

Have the experiences you have been talking about above made a difference to the way you approach your work and your career?

We live in a rapidly changing environment that is becoming more and more socially, economically and technologically entangled, and I truly believe that Monash gave me a sneak peek of this in my undergraduate years. The combination of excellent classroom/in-lab teachings, exposure to a culturally diverse and dynamic campus community, as well as the experiences gained through working in a corporate setting definitely better prepared me for today’s world. I also now truly appreciate the significance of “Ancora Imparo”!

What is your goal/dream in life, where are you headed to in the future?

I aspire to be one of the few specialist Technical Division leaders within the industry I work in currently. I find great pleasure in working across the manufacturing and industrial sectors (including the chemical, medical device, FMCG and building materials trades), providing much needed advisory and recruitment services to such businesses. Building on this passion, and growing knowledge, I see this as an evolving industry that will keep me busy for years to come; – before I plan on retiring at an earlier age to engage in some extensive globetrotting.

What is your advice to current Monash Malaysia students?

Soak it all in. Take as much away from your time at Monash as possible. One day when you least expect it, that little piece of information/experience you once thought was irrelevant will pave its way back into your life and give you an Aha! moment.