A Penny for Your Thoughts: Can Participation in a Student-Industry Conference Improve Students’ Presentation Self-Efficacy and More?

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Success in a modern world requires more than just technical skills, with employers requiring graduates with a range of skills, including good communication skills (Usoff & Feldmann, 1998). These skills can be critical for job performance and career advancement (Cohen, 1999; Tucker & McCarthy, 2001). It has also been identified that self confidence is critical in the development of students’ communication skills (Reinsch & Shelby, 1996). Also studies have found that the use of professionals and industry representatives can enhance students’ confidence and their self-belief (Subramaniam & Freudenberg, 2007). These findings should inform the development of learning experiences to improve students’ communication skills. It is on this basis that a full day Student-Industry Conference involving first to third year students in a number of related financial planning courses was developed. The conference provided opportunities for these students to come together and present research papers that they had worked on in these courses. These student presentations were attended by not only other students, but also industry representatives who were involved in the assessment process. Furthermore, students had the opportunity to listen to a number of relevant industry speakers on current topics and research in the field. This also included discussions about the overall direction of the industry and the graduate recruitment process. Through this and other mechanisms, the Student-Industry Conference was designed to allow for the improvement of students’ self-efficacy through mastery, modelling and verbal persuasion. This paper details the empirical evidence as to whether students’ participation in this Student-Industry Conference improved their self-efficacy, particularly in terms of their communication skills. Data from a questionnaire of participating students indicates that the students perceived greater self-efficacy as a result of this initiative. With such improved self-efficacy students may be able to enhance their careers in the future.


Keywords: Work Integrated Learning, Self-Efficacy, Student Learning
Stream: Curriculum and Pedagogy; Student Learning, Learner Experiences, Learner Diversity
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Penny for Your Thoughts, A


Dr. Brett Freudenberg

Lecturer - Taxation, Griffith Business School, Griffith University
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Brett Freudenberg is a currently a Lecturer at the Griffith Business School within the Department of Accounting, Finance and Economics at Griffith University (Australia). In addition to his taxation teaching, Brett is enrolled in a PhD focusing on Tax Transparent Companies. In 2006 Brett received the Fulbright Award, which saw him conduct research at the University of Illinois to analyse the proliferation of new business forms in the United States and their potential for application to Australian businesses.

Brett has received a number of teaching accolades. In 2007, he was part of a team that was awarded Griffith University’s “Excellence in Teaching for Programs that Enhance Learning Category”; and individually Brett received a “Certification of Commendation for Excellence in Teaching”. Previously, in 2005 he was jointly awarded a Griffith Business School Teaching Citation and in 2003 Brett received the Early Career Award for Teaching Excellence from Griffith University. He has pursued the scholarship of learning and has presented his research at number of teaching conferences, as well as publishing in refereed teaching journals.

Prior to commencing with Griffith University, Brett was a senior taxation consultant with KPMG and a solicitor with Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Assoc. Prof. Mark Brimble

Senior Lecturer, Griffith Business School, Griffith University
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


Victoria Vyvyan

Griffith University
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


David Corby

Griffith University
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia


Ref: L08P0258