Think BIG: student industry network growing fast

In recent years a group of students started inviting firms to give talks as part of a series of events. The Built Industry Group (BIG) has quickly turned this series into something of a MSD phenomenon. We asked BIG President Derek Huynh to give us the lowdown.

Built Industry Group (BIG) is a student-run organisation at the Melbourne School of Design. We connect students with industry, whether it be through meeting built environment leaders, hearing from graduates transitioning from their studies or experiencing a day in the life at an office.

Over the past two years, we have provided our 900+ members with opportunities to engage with over 30+ firms in architecture, construction, property and planning alongside their studies.

Working closely with firms, faculty and students, our events bridge the gaps we see in preparing the next generation of professionals. Some events that we have run so far this year include:

Open Day Series: Architecture

Elenberg Fraser, Grimshaw, HASSELL, Lyons, John Wardle Architects, Kennedy Nolan, WOWOWA opened up their studios, engaging students in design reviews.

Open Day at Elenberg Fraser
Open Day at Elenberg Fraser - “Physically walking around the office and just seeing how it operates was my favourite aspect of Open Day.”
Open Day at Kennedy Nolan
Open Day at Kennedy Nolan - “It was great to have the chance to ask questions about the practice and get a more human sense for who they are.”
Open Day at HASSELL
Open Day at HASSELL - “...there were 5-6 different people from the firm that shared their views and perspectives on projects they were involved in that made for good discussion between staff and students.”
Open Day at Grimshaw
Open Day at Grimshaw - “Overall it was an excellent experience - especially because I had never been inside a firm before.”

Open Day Series: Construction

Students experienced a day in industry at Hansen Yuncken, Kane Constructions, Multiplex and Slattery, engaging in site visits, office tours, Q&A’s, presentations and networking.

Open Day at Kane Constructions
Open Day at Kane Constructions: “Such a level of engagement between construction students and contractors can only be a good thing for our industry.” - Tristan Forster, Joint Managing Director, Kane Constructions
Open Day at Hansen Yuncken
Open Day at Hansen Yuncken - “Visiting the offices instead of the company coming to University was a valuable experience as we could really see what the workplace would look like.”

Property Network Night

130 students and industry representatives engaged in career and workplace discussions at the University’s largest student-run property event.

Property Networking Night
Property Networking Night: Following the industry presentations was networking in the Dulux Gallery. “The event was very well organised and we were particularly impressed with how well attended the session was." - Mark Trovato, Senior Development Manager, Mirvac
Property Networking Night
Property Networking Night: Students had the opportunity to meet a range of professionals from Graduates to the General Manager of Civic Projects at Development Victoria.

Our ideas for next semester continue to build on these principles. Our multidisciplinary team of sixteen are currently planning events such as a competition that promotes collaborative design between students, speaker panels that further engage with our international student cohort as well as networking events that assist students heading into the workplace.

The team at BIG is always keen to further expand the opportunities we provide to students. If you would like to get in contact with us please email