Will Ranson-Smith

Will Ranson-Smith


Will is in his final year, studying a Bachelor of Finance and Bachelor of Economics. Throughout his studies, he has completed three overseas study programs and several internships across government, consulting, funds management and corporate finance sectors. Will is the current President of the ANU Finance Society and former Chief Investment Officer of the ANU Student Managed Fund. Having grown up in Canberra, Will is keen to relocate to either Sydney or Melbourne when he graduates.

How have you benefited from being involved in extracurricular activities? What tips would you give to students interested in getting involved?

When I was at school, I graduated feeling as if I hadn’t made the most of the extracurricular opportunities available to me, so I was pretty set on getting more involved once I got to university. To me, the greatest benefit of participating in extracurricular activities such as sports, societies or case competitions are the personal learning outcomes. I think there is a lot to be said about learning and engaging with peers outside of the classroom and I’d say extracurricular experiences are generally less theoretical and more pragmatic. There’s also the added benefit of surrounding yourself with other like-minded students who often become good friends.

I’d encourage students looking to get more involved not to consider extracurricular decisions purely based off employability outcomes. To me, the personal development component is far more important and having something to put on the resume has always just been a derivative. An additional hot tip I’d give is to just to say yes to as many opportunities as you can. Whilst it might chew into your time, it’s a good chance to figure out what interests you before you enter the workforce and makes targeting job applications a lot easier.

How do you manage studies and extracurricular activities together?

To be honest, not very well at first. Succeeding academically at ANU is no easy feat and certainly takes up a lot of time if that’s what you’re into. Adding extracurricular activities on top of this creates a real balancing act between university, work, applications and personal priorities. I didn’t really get this balance down pat until my final year, so my university experience has very much been a valuable lesson in time management. I found that once I learnt how to study more efficiently, I could fit in more time for my other commitments such as extracurricular involvement. Though, in my opinion, it’s best not to overcommit so it helps to know your limits. I’d probably finish by saying that there’s a lot of value that can be derived from sacrificing some aspects or luxuries in your life for challenges that will push you out of your comfort zone. It definitely builds character.