Humans of Open Universities Australia: Meet David

He’s the Business Analyst who once upon a time walked straight into a Sesame Street sketch in Central Park! So, what does David do when he’s not mingling with Big Bird and Elmo? We find out what working at Open Universities Australia means to him.

A smiling David featured alongside the words Humans of Open Universities Australia with David, Business Analyst

Tell us your name and your role at Open Universities Australia? 

Hi, my name is Dave Mehigan and I am currently a Business Analyst with what is known as our Explore and Match Product Delivery Team.

What was your role when you started and how has it changed?

I started in August 2021, at which time I initially joined the Data Integrations and Reporting Team. At that time I was working closely with our university partners, transferring information back and forth to support our student enrolments.

Now I find my time is more focused on how students can explore the website and find the right match for what they’re looking for.

What led you to working at Open Universities Australia and why?

Before Open Universities Australia, I was consulting around Melbourne for several digital agencies.

I always wanted to work in the education sector and when the role came up, Open Universities Australia came across as having that drive to help people make positive changes in their lives. 

What cemented the decision for me was when I started to meet people within the organisation and got a feel for that common goal and shared culture of making a difference.

How does your role transform lives?

When I started off at university myself back in Ireland studying Information Technology, most of my lecturers were academics of different levels. One particular lecturer had a tonne of industry experience from his time working for Motorola, and every class we attended he was able to align the topic or lesson to his past industry experience. 

During those early years, getting that firsthand experience was always fascinating and really eye-opening in terms of applying what we were learning to day-to-day situations as a professional. 

With over 15 years of experience in digital, I love being able to work with my peers who are looking to move into product delivery or business analysis, passing on some of that previous experience in a mentorship role and helping them on their journey.

What is your favourite part of your role?

I’m lucky in that my role is super diverse and I get to interact with so many different departments and stakeholders in and out of Open Universities Australia.  

Primarily, my role involves gaining an understanding of a process or area of our digital presence to understand the pain points for users of the website (students). I have a curious nature at the best of times. This really helps, as I need to ask the “why” of these pain points, bringing “how stuff works” back to my team so that we find those small improvements or opportunities that can make real difference to students’ lives.

I find that I’m always excited being involved in that process from start of idea on a piece of paper to seeing it deployed and being used.

What is your proudest moment or career highlight during your time at Open Universities Australia?

When I first started, I joined a project helping our university partners to update student grades in our system using a new application. Even though I joined this project near the end, I was involved in a lot of the workshops with different stakeholders and got to discuss and understand their current issues with the grades process.

I am still very proud that I had the opportunity to be involved in improving that experience for our partner universities, which resulted in reducing the time it takes students to confirm their grades and continue their education journey.

What would you say to students thinking about taking the leap into online study?

You always hear the phrase that the first step can be hardest, but it doesn’t have to be... I’m in awe of the service and support that our advisory team provides students with at every stage.

If you have any doubts or worries, just jump on call. There is an amazing team that will help you and make sure you are taking the right steps for you. 

It reminds me of a great quote from the American writer Suzy Kassem that stuck with me recently: "Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”

What would you say to someone thinking about working for Open Universities Australia?

In other workplaces company values and culture can sometimes feel a bit artificial or disconnected from the day to day.That’s definitely not the case in Open Universities Australia.

From the first day I joined, I always got a sense of everyone really caring for our students, what we are trying to achieve and for each other.

It’s refreshing to be somewhere where there is a genuine feeling of support and being connected.

What do you do when you’re not working behind the scenes at Open Universities Australia? How does this make you a better team member?

Running is my happy place when I’m not working. Unfortunately, I have been injured lately so I have been unable to get out as much as I would have liked.

Aside from running, I love getting out of the city. There is so much to see around Victoria; either day trips down the great ocean or camping trips out to the Grampians or Gippsland. I really enjoy exploring somewhere new and different from the regular routine.

Finally, tell us a fun fact about you!

While in New York during my university days, I was walking through Central Park and ended up walking onto part of a Sesame Street sketch!

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