“Some students had access to resources, advantages and connections. But I didn’t come from that background.
“But being first in family makes you different, there’s no real bar to meet, the world is your oyster. You can go wherever you want. I wouldn’t have done as well if I had set a linear path to follow.”
Ms Le said she had not been interested in law till she did legal studies in year 12. At that point she realised law could empower people who were in sticky situations. She had been doing pro-bono legal work in western Melbourne which she valued.
The other side of her degree, commerce, had also opened her eyes.
“Doing commerce I realised there was a bigger world than the one I occupied. And all these business had a real sense of value.
“Yes, business is designed to make profit, but many of them do amazing work in the community and are able to leverage their position in the market to provide aid to others.”
The Top 100 Graduate Employers awards are run by GradConnection, a company that links university students to would-be employers, and The Australian Financial Review.
Shortlisted graduates are assessed for their employability and are interviewed by corporate executives before winners are selected in 10 different categories. First in Family is the leading award.
A ranking of those companies students most want to work for is another part of the project and this year consultants Deloitte took out the number one slot, having achieved more than 17 per cent of student engagement time.
Consultancies were strong performers, with PwC coming second at 13.7 engagement time and KPMG third at 11.7.
Banks performed strongly despite the bad reputational damage done to them by the banking royal commission, with Westpac, National Australia bank and Commonwealth all in the top 10 companies of interest to students.
Spokeswoman for GradConnection, Rita Biankin, said graduates were attracted to the long term options offered by the bigger institutions even if some of them had suffered short term hits to their reputation.
“It’s the ability of consultancies and banks to put new hires through a whole range of experience that makes them so attractive.
“In effect you work for a consultant or a bank but really you follow your interest, AI, big data, education, infrastructure. It’s all on tap,” she said.