Graduates to take a process of self-discovery

After receiving an honorary degree, technology entrepreneur and philanthropist Daniel Petre told graduates they should expect to have at least five major career changes in their lives.

Petre newsroom

Dr Daniel Petre AO

UNSW has honoured industry leader, social entrepreneur and philanthropist Daniel Petre AO with a Doctor of Business.

The honorary degree – UNSW’s highest award – recognises Mr Petre’s eminent service to the community and University and was presented at UNSW's Australian School of Business graduation ceremony last night.

Delivering the graduation address, Mr Petre told the audience “the process of self-discovery is critical in terms of giving you a strong understanding of where you are coming from and how your motivations can conflict with others".

He also encouraged graduates to understand what makes people tick. “Increasingly the management of people will become a critical employment skill. Being an effective and motivational manager is not just about holding office parties or delivering the numbers. It is more about understanding what motivates people, how to get people to support you in working towards a common goal and how to create a work environment that respects the role of work as part of a whole life experience.”

Daniel Petre graduated from UNSW in 1981 with a degree in Computer Science and Statistics. He has been a leading player in Australia’s technology industry for more than 25 years, including time working at Microsoft’s headquarters in the US.

He told graduates they will have at least five major career changes in their lives; not just changing employers but complete changes in their corporate career. He recommended “always make sure that you are in the position where you could leave your current employer for a range of roles with similar pay and opportunities. If you become beholden to only one potential employer around your specific skill set then you have lost control of your life.”

Daniel was a member of the UNSW Foundation Board from 2002-06 and since 2007 has been a member of the Centre for Social Impact Advisory Council. He has written several books on the information revolution, father-child relationships, and the work-life balance.

He left graduates with one nugget of advice he said they should always follow. “Life is long and it is much more enjoyable if you are doing something you love and which you find fulfilling.”

Read the full speech here.

Media contact: Julian Lorkin, ASB, 0405 805 365 |