A good foundation is a source of strength, laying the groundwork for everything that follows. - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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A good foundation is a source of strength, laying the groundwork for everything that follows.

As one of USC’s foundation students, starting his Bachelor of Business degree when the doors opened in 1996, Sean Hurley understands this fundamental truth more than most.

“I’ve loved USC ever since I started studying there with my brother Michael,” Sean said. “As foundation students, we’ve always felt connected to the place.

“There were only three buildings on campus when we started studying.

“Now every time we go back there’s a new building that’s opened, or part of the campus has been improved. The sport facilities are world class.

“You feel proud of that. You feel proud to watch it grow and evolve.”

USC has been proud to watch Sean’s own career grow and evolve as well, this year awarding him the Outstanding Alumnus of the Year in recognition of his achievements as a global retail expert.

As head of expansion for clothing giant Mango, Sean manages operations in 36 countries across Africa, the Middle East and south Asia, overseeing revenue growth exceeding about $A516 million.

“The business I’m in is relationship based,” Sean said. “Of course there are contracts and there are numbers, but the most important thing I've learned is relationships are by far the most important factor.”

Relationships have always been important to Sean. As someone who was heavily involved in sport from a young age, Sean was integral in helping establish the USC rugby union club, forging friendships with fellow teammates that would last a lifetime.

“There was just such a great group of people involved with the University who helped lay the foundations in those first few years,” Sean said.

“My brother and I still keep in contact with a lot of the core people today. We have a strong connection, particularly with the guys from the rugby club.”

Aside from relationships, Sean said the next most important quality in the international business world was gaining experiences through travel.

“Travel as much as you can,” Sean said. “It broadens the mind, it creates patience and you have a better understanding of people and cultures.

“I don’t work for a living any more. I go and talk with people and I love what I do.”

As Sean said, it’s all part of laying a good foundation, which has helped him reach impressive heights.