School of Property, Construction & Project Management
Name: Daniel Dessmann
Program name: Bachelor of Applied Science (Construction Management) (Honours) – Graduating in 2015
An Interview with Daniel Dessmann – Graduating Construction Management student
What inspired you to study in your chosen area?
“I stepped into a degree in Mechanical Engineering and after the first year decided it wasn’t for me. I thought I wanted to be an architect so I shadowed my brother’s friend for a few weeks. During this time I met a number of construction managers whilst out on site and it seemed like an attractive career that would suit my personality. I did a little bit of research into CM… and here I am 4 years later!”
Why did you choose to study at RMIT?
“I was advised by a number of people that RMIT provided a great course for CM (Construction Management) and that it was the place to be. I followed up on the advice and looked into what RMIT had to offer for CM. I had already completed my first year at RMIT in Mechanical Engineering and liked the campus in general. It turned out to be a great decision as the course provided an invaluable foundation and helped me to develop the necessary skills to land a job in the industry.”
What has been the highlight of your studies? Tell me 2 or 3 of the best things about your time at RMIT.
“The relationships formed with our teachers over the duration of the course. Their guidance and support throughout the degree has been amazing and their industry insight critical to our development. I hope to stay in touch with a number of our teachers in the years to come. The convenience with the location of the campus being in the heart of the CBD was an added bonus, and the facilities provided by RMIT with their innovative workspaces such as the SAB building provided a great environment for our education.”
What skills / qualities have you gained from your degree/program?
Tell me about a project, assignment or piece of work that you have accomplished while at RMIT that you are proud of.
“This would definitely have to be the honours thesis during our final year. Bridging the gap between industry and academia expectations proved to be a difficult challenge. I’ve never been great with essays and the like so the thought of having to write an honours thesis seemed an impossible task. With plenty of late nights and the help of an amazing supervisor (Dr. Frank Boukamp) and industry mentor (Rogier Roelvink, Turner & Townsend Thinc), I somehow managed to get through it all and deliver a thesis I could be proud of. I ended up getting a great result, one that I really wasn’t expecting, but it felt great to see the reward for all the hard work and challenges that were part of the journey.
Whilst the process was very challenging, it delivered great value and most likely helped me land my first job in the industry, which can often be a difficult task. I’d definitely recommend students to consider taking the honours pathway, the sense of accomplishment and seeing it all come together was priceless and allowed for me to become an ‘expert’ in my chosen field.”
What advice do you have for students considering study in this area?
“For the thesis, try and get onto an industry mentor as early as possible. In my case I probably left it too late, although it still managed to work out in the end, the journey would have been much easier had I found my mentor earlier. Working with a supervisor that has a genuine passion for your area of study is also essential, as you’ll need to ensure they can put in just as much as you. Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation where the two expert opinions may differ, so I suggest you take their advice with a grain of salt and sometimes it can pay off to follow your instincts. Whilst I highly respected my supervisor’s opinion, we were divided on my poster for awards night. I stuck with my instincts and in the end it paid off as I received a honourable mention from RICS on the night. Finally, if it seems like its getting tough, push through it – I wanted to give up numerous times however there is light at the end of the tunnel and you may surprise yourself!”
How is RMIT preparing you for a future career?
“RMIT built a solid foundation and provided a stepping-stone into the industry and developed essential skills that made me employable. I was fortunate enough to secure a job from my first interview, which I’ll be starting in the near future. This would not have been possible without the knowledge and skills that I learnt throughout the degree. It’s an exciting period and I can’t wait to get out there and sink my teeth into the industry.”
Where do you hope your degree will take you (your dream job)?
“It would be amazing to work on some of the most innovative buildings in the future, as well as complex projects such as stadiums and arenas. I love working on all high-end unique projects that my new job will now allow me to do. I would love to one-day work in places such as the UK or Dubai and potentially have my own company down the track.”
What are three words that describe you?
Finish the following sentence: I love what I do because….
“Each project is unique and provides a new challenge. It’s great to have this in a job so it doesn’t feel repetitive and so you feel accomplished when you complete a project.”
Do you have any other information or stories that you’d like to share – anything exciting we should know about?
“As I said previously, I’ve just received an offer from a company, which I have accepted and I’m looking forward to getting started. I’ll be going away to the USA for just shy of a month in January so it is great that my new workplace has been so accommodating in this sense. It’ll be great to go away for a few weeks after such a long journey at Uni, explore America and fulfil my childhood dream to see a few NBA games and then come back and settle into the next chapter of my life.”
Main Photo: Daniel Dessmann