Human on the Inside with Student Edge’s Jeremy Chetty

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5 min read

We’re big believers in the power of human skills. But don’t just take our word for it – the evidence for excellence powered by human (‘soft’) skills is everywhere! In this engaging, ever-enlightening series, we speak with industry leaders, innovators and game-changers to learn a little about their personal career journeys, and how human-led strategies, philosophies and cultures are proving a force for good in their working worlds …

Welcome Jeremy, and thanks for stepping into the #SuccessIsHuman Spotlight!

You’re the Chief Product Office and Co-Founder of Student Edge – a company you established (as a student) in 2003 in recognition of the challenges faced by young people such as the cost of living, student life, access to part-time work and career guidance. You’re now the largest member-based organisation of high school and tertiary students in Australia, with more than one million members nationwide – incredible!

In 1 sentence (ok, we’ll give you 3), what do your current role/s entail?

With the support of a talented team, I’m responsible for creating, managing and executing the vision for the Student Edge product for its 1.2M members.

Being a Co-Founder of Student Edge, you’ve been with the organisation for over 18 years now, but you’re also a Board member of Auspire – Australia Day Council WA, a Youth Ambassador for Royal Commonwealth Society, an Advisory Council Member of CQUniversity, and the Entrepreneur in Residence for the National Indigenous Business Summer School Western Australia (NIBSSWA). Whoa! How does all this work speak to your personal purpose and what drives you as an individual?

My purpose is to serve young people and help them by creating solutions to their problems. All my advisory, volunteer and board roles have to tick that box before I accept the invitation.

Tell us a little about your personal education pathway/s – what led you to where you are now? How closely do your formal qualifications match your current career?

I failed my ATAR (HSC) in Year 12. I was too busy socialising and organising parties in school. It was my mum that found me a TAFE business course that led to me bridging into 2nd year Commerce at Murdoch Uni. She deserves full credit – that course has never been offered again. Talk about timing! It was in my final year at Uni that we started Student Edge (SE). Even though I have a Business Degree, it didn’t springboard our SE start up at all. It was like learning all over again! I would recommend that if you are in Uni, do a short course in start up or business management 101 before you graduate.

If you could share one piece of career advice to your 21 year old self it would be …

Don’t be afraid to start a business earlier in life!

Maximising the potential of individuals, communities and businesses through the power of human skills is the reason Maxme exists. Can you tell us a little about the role and / or value of human skills in your workplace right now?

My role is about driving our product vision, strategy and implementation with a talented team. Human skills are vital to the execution of any product or service. It takes teamwork, collaboration, communication and empathy as basic human skills for the magic to happen.

Self Awareness sets the critical foundation for all Maxme learning experiences. With that said … what’s your strongest trait / personal super power?

Communication! As my mum tells me often, from the moment I could put a sentence together I was talking to anyone and everyone. We lived in a small village in South Africa growing up – Mum would say that from 6 years old I would wander the village and speak to all the neighbours. You could say I have been mastering this over the last 40 years. Today this skill has served me well as I can go from speaking to the Governor of WA to homeless men and women on the street – speaking to both with the same respect and love. Fun fact – I am often invited to MC at events – my biggest was a wedding for 300 people at Crown.

And on the flip side, what’s one human / ‘soft’ skill you’ve had to really work on improving over the course of your career

I am really bad at time management and administration so I have to have team members that support me with those gaps.

If you could share one piece of career advice with recent Uni graduates or candidates keen to work at a company like StudentEdge, what would it be?

Self awareness is the key! Discover who you are, who you serve and what gift/talent can you bring to the organisation.

You’ve been granted approval to add one University graduate to your team, but have 100 applicants, all with outstanding academic results. How do you find your perfect candidate – what are you looking for?

Easy. Which candidate has done the most volunteering jobs, and for what organisations before they graduate. Show me whether you are a giver or taker.

In the words of John Dewey, “education is not preparation for life, education is life itself.”
What’s next on your #learning agenda?

I’m about to launch a podcast so I am learning about creating and executing one.