Nikkie Shike, 27, Bond University
Say hello to Nikkie Shike, a Melbourne-based communications account director who grew up on the Gold Coast. Nikkie chose to pursue her tertiary education in her home city and graduated from Bond University in 2014 with a bachelor's degree in International Diplomacy/International Relations. In 2019 she returned to Bond to complete her Master of Communication, graduating in 2020 as valedictorian of her class.
Q: Tell us about your work as a communications specialist.
I have just started my dream job as an account director with global communications firm, Edelman. My role exists in the sweet spot between strategic communications and public affairs. I feel like my worlds have just collided in terms of my area of study and my experience.
Q: What do you love most about your job?
Working with brands and organisations that are socially responsible is so fulfilling for me. Through my master’s and my major dissertation, I was able to work out what made me tick – working with brands with purpose is something that I am really, really excited about.
Q: Did you always live on the Gold Coast?
I moved to the Gold Coast when I was about seven. I lived in Japan and Sydney previously.
Q: Why did you choose to study at Bond University?
When I was at school, I always went to the Bond open days. It was admittedly for the free things when I was younger, but as I reached the age when I needed to figure out what I wanted to study, I began to spend time talking to some of the students. I loved modern history at school and wanted a global career, which led me to study international relations. I knew that at Bond there was more hands-on experience and that’s why it was my dream uni. In terms of my master’s, I knew that my best chance of success was to go back to Bond because I had had so much support from the teaching staff and so much opportunity to produce hands-on work.
Q: What motivated you to return to study for your master’s?
I knew that my passion was communications, so I initially went back to refine and refocus my skills. When I started I met all these brilliant lecturers who had amazing careers and impressive resumes, which inspired me to think about what I really wanted to do. That’s where corporate social responsibility came in. During our master’s at Bond we had the opportunity to choose an area of study to complete a dissertation, which led me to think about my own consumer behaviours and how they are driven by my values. So, while I initially went back to refine my skills, it actually ended up changing the trajectory of my career.
Q: You graduated as valedictorian of your class and as 2020 Public Relations Institute of Australia’s National Student of the Year. What did that mean for you professionally?
Graduating as valedictorian and winning an industry award connected me with so many people within the PR and communications space. Attending my graduation and the PRIA Golden Target Awards in person was really special, especially during the pandemic, and gave me the opportunity to meet professionals who would eventually open up doors for me.
Q: How did studying on the Gold Coast shape you personally? Did you make a lot of friends?
Oh my gosh, yes! Most of the friends I met during my master’s were studying abroad and they have since gone back home during the pandemic – but that has not stopped us from talking every single day. It’s so nice to see that we are all pursuing different areas in communications, whether it’s in PR agencies or in-house, from Singapore to Canada. We’re life-long friends and avid supporters of one another as we navigate our careers.
Q: What would you say to someone who is considering studying on the Gold Coast?
Do it! Take every opportunity to build your narrative as a professional and meet new people. My career has been built on the shoulders of people who have mentioned my name in rooms full of opportunity, and I have met so many people who have done just that on the Gold Coast. There aren't too many places where you can so easily trade the books for the beach – the Gold Coast has so much to offer within and outside the classroom.