Meet Mick Withers

Before commencing at ANU, Mick spent two years living in Tokyo and had a strong desire to maintain his language skills upon his return home. He initially enrolled in the Bachelor of Commerce program, taking Japanese courses as an elective.

“After a few units I realised I wanted to invest in learning more about Japan and the Asia Pacific region more broadly, and thought  Asian Studies. would complement my Commerce degree nicely. I applied and thankfully I was accepted.”

Mick doesn’t look back on making the switch to a double degree. “I really liked the closeness of the Asian Studies cohort,” he says. “The teachers were so helpful and always willing to take the time to explain things that didn’t make sense.”

He recalls his best experience in the program. “Students would study, write and then share their research. It was great to learn so many new things about Japan and Japanese culture – I focussed on the Yakuza, which was particularly interesting,” says Mick, referring to Japan’s organised crime syndicates.

Mick joined international professional services firm KPMG after graduating. He worked predominately in the Defence sector in Canberra, and was occasionally tasked with looking after visiting Japanese counterparts. “I can certainly say I wasn’t expecting to need or use any Japanese while working for KPMG in Canberra, but that’s the unpredictability of life!”

His experience as a consultant helped him take his career abroad. Mick now lives in London, working as a Project Manager for the London Ambulance Service. His role a fulfilling one. “The best thing is knowing that all of the improvement work we’re delivering as a team is benefitting patients in need.”

The move to London has allowed Mick to accelerate his career and pursue his love for travel at the same time. “I have been able to cross off a few European cities from the travel list,” he says.

For students who share his love for travel, Mick has some great advice. “If you’re studying a language then you should definitely do a year or semester abroad – you won’t regret it. There is so much to see and do in the Asia Pacific region.” 

Updated:  24 April, 2017/Responsible Officer:  Dean, ANU College of Asia & the Pacific/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team