Five minutes with: Bryan Froud

Headshot of Swinburne Alum, Bryan Froud, standing in a garden.

Bryan Froud grew up in country Victoria and upon finishing his Year 12 VCE, he had no idea what profession he wanted to pursue and felt there were few options available to him. Bryan decided to work his way up the corporate ladder from scratch, but realised that as his experience rose, without any qualifications, the heights his career could reach were limited and not likely to match his ambition.

Bryan began exploring his options and found the Bachelor of Business degree that Swinburne offered through Open Universities. Over the next six years, he completed the units whilst continuing his full time career and travelling the world.

In 2015, Bryan graduated with a Bachelor of Business (Economics), minoring in Financial Management and Business Analysis. Bryan now works at JLL as a Director in workplace consulting, where he develops strategies that support the changing nature of work, helping businesses adapt to rapidly evolving market conditions and commercial priorities.

We caught up with Bryan to find out how he stays connected with Swinburne since graduating, and where his degree has taken him.

How are you creating impact in the world?

Within my role (Director, Occupancy Planning & Workplace Strategy), I’m very much focused on the Future of Work and how best to help companies create workspaces that foster innovation within their employees and adapt to changing working environments. At JLL we know that a workplace strategy that accommodates tighter budgets, a shifting workforce and other occupancy challenges will better enable clients to meet short and long-term business objectives.

On a more personal level, I volunteer for a non-profit industry association called CoreNet Global where I’m on the Executive Team for the Australian Chapter, where we help educate and connect commercial real estate professionals. I also donate blood frequently! I’m up to about 65 donations, and I’m trying to get to 100 donations before I’m 40.

How central is innovation to your work?

Innovation is critical to my work. At JLL we consider ourselves a tech company in the real estate industry, so there is a lot of innovation required to achieve this. We focus a lot on ‘Prop Tech’ which is any technology that helps with property, and encompasses many different disciplines. It could be automation in the construction industry, a FinTech company that innovates financing, or creating digital assistants for the workplace that are integrated with google home or Alexa.

I’m speaking at a conference in Canberra soon, and the theme of my talk is Disruption by Design. I’ll speak about how to harness disruption within the workplace and how to design a workplace so people feel empowered to innovate more and disrupt themselves to think differently.

How did you find studying online?

It’s funny because I only lived about a kilometre down the road from Swinburne at the time I started my degree, but I chose to study completely online through Open Universities. I had a full-time job which I had worked my way up to, but I was feeling like my career would be limited if I didn’t get a formal qualification. So, when I started studying online at the age of 25, it was great because I was able to learn and retain each of the modules by practicing them through my day-to-day work.

Once I’d finished it felt like it was better to do it online part-time whilst working full-time because at the end of it I came out with a degree and nearly 8-10 years corporate experience, whereas those who choose to study full-time had the degree but less work experience.

What advice would you give to current Swinburne students?

It’s going to sound really boring, but my advice would be to set up calendar reminders at the start of the semester with important due dates so you don’t miss anything! There was a moment when I was studying where there was a 48-hour window to complete a test and I hadn’t set a reminder for it and ended up missing it. It was a big lesson for me to be more organised.

Before I started my degree I always felt as though I was behind as I had no formal qualifications. However, now that I have completed my degree with Swinburne whilst working full time, I actually feel as though I’m finally ahead in terms of both qualifications and experience. I would definitely encourage anyone to consider studying online if they have that opportunity.

Since graduating, a number of doors have opened that would have been closed to me without my degree from Swinburne. I’m now in my 30s, have travelled the world, own a home and truly believe that without the assistance from and my experience at Swinburne, I wouldn’t be in the position I am today.

Where do you see yourself in 2025?

Well my wife is currently pregnant with our first child so things will be very different! We bought a house in Ballarat a couple of years ago so we might move there and settle down, but there are also opportunities to travel internationally through work, so it’s hard to picture where I might be in 2025.

How do you stay connected to Swinburne since graduating?

I choose to donate to Swinburne annually because I think it’s important to retain those alumni connections with the university. It’s great to be able to support disadvantaged students through scholarships, or contribute to various research projects, for example.

I also try and attend as many Swinburne alumni events as possible, and still attend open days or public lectures, because even though you’re not studying there anymore it’s important to keep your mind open to other opportunities to learn and connect.