Graduate sprints to sporting and career success
8 May 2020
Hervey Bay graduate Thomas Key was chasing a pathway to a successful career and the chance to represent Australia in outrigging canoe racing when he chose to study at USC – now he has achieved both.
Since recently completing a combined Science and Business degree at USC, the former Urangan State High School student has gained work as a finance manager for a national firm specialising in environmental offsets solutions.
Thomas, who was part of the University’s High Performance Student Athlete program, balanced his studies with an intense training schedule to stay in peak form to race at the elite level, including competing for Australia in the World Outrigger Canoe Sprint titles.
“Leading up to world titles at Kawana in 2016 and Tahiti in 2018, training could involve being on the water eight times a week plus six to eight gym sessions a week,” he said.
“I found focusing my efforts and time really allowed me to perform well and helped me the most throughout university,” he said.
Thomas discovered his keen interest for the sport of outrigging during high school, so he said USC’s Sunshine Coast campus was the obvious choice when selecting a university.
“I wanted to gain a great tertiary education and also join the most competitive club in the country – the Mooloolaba Outrigger Canoe Club – so USC offered me the best opportunities,” he said.
Initially starting a Bachelor of Civil Engineering in 2016, he decided to switch after his first semester to a dual Business and Science degree, majoring in financial planning and mathematics after becoming interested in the world of business and finance.
He is now working with Earthtrade, an environmental offsets solutions specialist providing brokering, management, monitoring and reporting solutions for developers and landholders.
“My job involves working in spreadsheets to build financial models for clients, inspecting current and possible sites for our clients in Central Queensland and South East Queensland, meeting with clients, as well as internal governance and financial decisions and discussions,” he said.
“I’ve been applying the experience, knowledge and skills from my degrees to my role.,” he said.
“The mathematics major really gave me a head start in the modelling I develop for clients, while the financial planning major has greatly enhanced my financial literacy, helping me better understand the financial implications of different project decisions.”
QTAC applications are open to study at USC in Semester 2 this year.
— Clare McKay