Alumni Alumni Stories Navigating the Professional Sphere: How JCU Prepared Me for Success

Navigating the Professional Sphere: How JCU Prepared Me for Success

Navigating the Professional Sphere: How JCU Prepared Me for Success

Introducing Shamini Ganasarajah, our Bachelor of Psychology alumna. Her journey through JCU has been transformative, shaping her into the strong and inspiring person she is today. Read her story below.


Tell us a bit about what you currently do for a living.

I currently work as a Senior Manager of Global Reporting and Analytics for GLG where the team that I am a part of provides qualitative and quantitative insights to Fortune 500 companies. These enterprises rely heavily on data to drive their decision-making processes. However, due to the specialised nature of data interpretation, many individuals within these companies may lack the requisite expertise to effectively comprehend and utilise the data they have collected. This is precisely where my team and I come into play.

Our primary objective is to bridge the gap between raw data and actionable insights for non-technical stakeholders. We possess the expertise to transform complex datasets into comprehensible formats that can be easily interpreted and leveraged by individuals who may not possess a strong background in data analysis. Our role involves distilling the data and extracting meaningful insights that enable these decision-makers to make informed choices.

What is your favourite part of the job?

One aspect of my work that particularly excites me is the opportunity to engage with both quantitative and qualitative data. As a researcher, this presents a truly fulfilling and ideal scenario. By seamlessly integrating both types of data, I can construct a comprehensive and well-rounded narrative. This integration allows for a more holistic understanding of the underlying story conveyed by the data, empowering stakeholders to make informed decisions based on a broader perspective.

What do you hope to achieve in your job?

I want to contribute to the advancement and refinement of methodologies and tools employed in data interpretation and communication. In pursuit of this goal, I have been actively investing in my professional development, with a particular focus on the potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in augmenting the types of analysis and reporting we offer.

By exploring the applications of AI within our field, I aim to unlock new possibilities for delivering even greater value to our clients. I am passionate about leveraging emerging technologies to enhance the accuracy, speed, and depth of data insights, thereby providing our stakeholders with more comprehensive and actionable information.

By continuously upskilling myself and embracing cutting-edge technologies, I am confident in my ability to contribute significantly to the evolution of our field and drive positive outcomes for our clients.

Have you faced any challenges in your job? How have you managed to overcome them?

In my job, I have faced challenges in effectively communicating complex data insights to non-technical stakeholders. To overcome this, I have honed my communication skills, using clear and concise language, relatable examples, and visuals. Active listening and empathy, skills which I picked up and developed throughout my education, help tailor my approach to stakeholders' needs. Data visualisation techniques and storytelling aid in conveying information intuitively.

What is the proudest thing you have accomplished in your job so far?

In terms of my professional achievements, while not directly related to my current position, I take great pride in having contributed to a documentary that garnered significant recognition. Specifically, I had the opportunity to provide extensive research and statistical analysis for a documentary shedding light on the American foster care system and its detrimental impact on Native American children. This topic resonates deeply with me due to my unwavering passion for advocating for their well-being.

The documentary's compelling narrative, supported by the robust research and statistics I contributed, led to its nomination and subsequent win of an Emmy Award for Outstanding Research. This international recognition not only fills me with immense joy, but it also serves as a testament to the transformative power of research and the ability to effect change through compelling data-driven messages.

Being part of a team that was acknowledged at such a prestigious level underscores the far-reaching influence that well-crafted research, accompanied by a compelling message, can have. This experience has solidified my belief in the profound impact research can have in creating awareness and promoting positive change in society.

How has studying at James Cook University (JCU) in Singapore prepared you for life after graduation?

Studying at James Cook University (JCU) in Singapore has been instrumental in preparing me for post-graduation life. The robust academic curriculum provided me with a solid knowledge base and practical skills in my field. The expert faculty, including notable professors like Dr Jagdeep Sabharwal, Dr Patrick Lin, and Dr Nicola Lasikiewicz, offered invaluable guidance and mentorship throughout my academic journey. Their support influenced my trajectory towards a non-traditional career following an education in psychology. JCU's multicultural environment fostered cultural sensitivity and effective communication, while its emphasis on holistic development honed my leadership, teamwork, and critical thinking abilities. Overall, JCU has equipped me for a successful transition into the professional world.

What were some of the highlights from your time at JCU?

My time at JCU holds so many cherished memories, but the most significant highlight for me was the transformative experience of genuinely enjoying school. It was during my time at JCU that I discovered a love for learning, igniting an enduring passion for continuous growth. This enthusiasm for knowledge has continued to shape my professional life positively. That being said, some of the standout moments from my time at JCU come from the convenient access to delectable food establishments within walking distance of the Upper Thomson campus. Indulging in delicious prata, fish soup, and the quintessential student fuel, Starbucks, created opportunities for forging friendships and engaging in meaningful conversations. These memories of shared meals and connections will forever hold a special place in my heart.

Do you have a message for your lecturers at JCU?

I may not have realised it then, but every single one of my lecturers at JCU has made an impact on me. They provided me with so much knowledge and, more importantly, the encouragement and motivation to be the best version of myself. I entered JCU thinking I would follow the traditional path of a psych student and, while there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to explore non-traditional career paths with the guidance and support of my lecturers. They challenged me to think outside the box, pushed me to embrace new possibilities, and encouraged me to pursue my passions beyond conventional boundaries. Their dedication to nurturing our growth as individuals and professionals instilled in me a sense of confidence and belief in my own abilities. Thanks to them, I discovered alternative avenues that aligned with my interests and aspirations, leading me towards a fulfilling and unconventional career trajectory. I am immensely grateful for the profound impact they have had on shaping my academic and professional journey at JCU.

Do you have any advice for current students?

You may have come into your programme with an idea of exactly what you want to do or what you can do with your degree, and I just want to tell you — the sky’s the limit! Especially with a psychology degree — there are so many ways for you to go, and there are so many areas that you can explore! With the research skills I gained from JCU, and then further developed, I have been lucky enough to have a career in multiple industries — the legal field, oil and gas, medical research, and tech… the world is my oyster, and it could be yours too!