University of Melbourne Magazine

A new generation forges link

  • Why should young alumni engage with the University? Two Alumni Council members explain.



    Networking: Margaret Quixley and James McGann

    Alumni Council member Margaret Quixley would have loved to call on a mentor in her student days. “It would have been amazing to have access to a mentor or advisor – especially one from a different faculty to my own,” she says.

    “I generally would have liked greater exposure to the plethora of career opportunities available and I probably only realised the benefits of having such a mentor once I graduated.”

    An expanded mentoring program is one of the opportunities the Alumni Council actively encourages.

    Quixley, 29, was elected to the Council – the peak representative body for Melbourne alumni – in 2014.

    “Finding time to build and broaden your skills and experience outside your ‘day job’ is a really important part of career building,”

    She fits this role around a dual career, as founder of social enterprise Young Opportunities Australia and as Campaigns and Supporter Engagement Strategist for BirdLife Australia.

    Quixley (MIR 2014) believes the University is getting better at providing networking opportunities for alumni.

    “The range of events available means there is always something on where you can meet fellow alumni,” she says.

    “Events are particularly great settings for networking because you are there with like-minded people – having a common point of interest starts the conversation.”

    Quixley, like many young alumni, is motivated by the need to network.

    “Finding time to build and broaden your skills and experience outside your ‘day job’ is a really important part of career building,” she says.

    “The Alumni Council is really passionate about shaping better professional networking outcomes for alumni.”

    At 25, Dr James McGann is the Alumni Council’s youngest member. Now a junior doctor at the Austin Hospital in Melbourne, he stresses the benefits of engaging with alumni from beyond your faculty.

    “We understand nowadays the importance of transferring skills, so connecting with people who have interests in other areas and industries can be greatly beneficial.”

    McGann (BBiomed 2011, MD 2015, St Hilda’s College) says the variety of networking events, mentor programs, seminars and public lectures means that a little commitment can go a long way.

    “Getting involved shouldn’t be too onerous,” he says.

    “We want people to know that the variety of events and number of interesting people you meet means you can get great rewards for a relatively small amount of time and effort.”

    The latest opportunities can be found on the new Alumni and Friends website, which makes connecting with fellow Melbourne alumni easier than ever.

    The Alumni Council represents the many cultural, academic and professional attributes of the Melbourne alumni community.

    Nominations are now open. To add your voice to the Alumni Council, visit: