ZHOU, Declan


Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting)

Graduation year


Current position

Owner of Mr Rice. Manager of Wisecase Pty Ltd (Shepparton, Bendigo, Mildura)



What are some of your career highlights?

I started working in the restaurant as a waiter in late 2014. I was then promoted to acting manager in late 2015 and took over the restaurant with my wife in late 2016. In early 2016 I started work as a casual sales representative for Wisecase Pty Ltd then progressed to retail manager in 2018, managing three stores in regional Victoria. My wife looks after the restaurant during the day and I go back to the store during dinner time.

Describe the most enjoyable and challenging aspects of your job

Working as a retail manager or in a restaurant is basically the same. You need to know how to promote your product and present your services, control your budget but maintain the quality of services or products. I don't put any more time into my restaurant than I do the retail shop. The Ballarat hospitality scene has grown quickly the past few years. We are constantly presenting new dishes. Expanding our existing delivery services to the greater Ballarat area is my first priority. It might seem exhausting however I very much enjoy the challenging environment. I am certain that there is still much more potential for our restaurant.

What are your strongest memories while you were studying at Federation University?

As an international student it can be hard. I achieved 11 out of 12 high distinctions in my previous degree which made me very confident when entering my accounting degree but it was actually harder than I expected. However putting aside time to prepare for lessons before class and giving myself more time to finish work to a high standard was very helpful. I was very glad to find a way to study that worked for me after my first semester and I passed that method on to my wife as she studied an accounting degree as well. We were the only two Chinese students who successfully graduated without taking extra time.

All the lecturers were very helpful and patient in explaining things if you raised a question, especially when they knew you had difficulties, they offer guidance.

Do you have any advice about life after study to pass on to current students?

For all the international student, please be clear why you are coming here and stay focused. Find the balance between your job and study. As a student, academic achievement should be your priority. Putting more time in is the only way to achieve better results. Secondly language may not be our strength but no one will judge you for that, just be brave. Attending all lectures and tutorials is a must. It is helpful.

Expand your social life and meet new people if you have extra time. Getting a job will be very helpful for your language study and it will make you feel more confident. However, as I mentioned before, you need to balance work and study.

In one sentence what words of wisdom would you pass on to students

Just be brave and be prepared. Follow your heart and go step by step.