Get to Know Our Alumni: Adam McCurdie
Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Science 2011
Adam McCurdie always knew Engineering was the path for him. His grandfather was also an engineer who helped him realise that engineering could also be a force for good.
Adam has taken that inspiration and co-founded Humanitix with another UNSW alumni. Humanitix is an online ticketing company which donates their profits to literacy programs and indigenous scholarships. Through his company, Adam is championing a new kind of engineering - Humanitarian Engineering – through which Engineers use their expertise to create human solutions to human problems.
We spoke to Adam about his exciting start-up and his advice to new engineering graduates.
Where has your career taken you?
After starting my career in technology consulting at Accenture, I started my own company with an old friend from school. I co-founded Humanitix, which funds education programs for disadvantaged students by disrupting the online events ticketing industry.
We’re the first events ticketing platform that donates 100% of all profits to fund indigenous scholarships and girls’ literacy programs in low income countries. The platform has taken off across Australia and New Zealand and we’re now in the process of expanding into the USA and Europe.
Why did you choose to study an Engineering and Science degree at UNSW?
I was inspired by my grandfather who was an engineer. He developed a range of applications including the earth leakage system which has saved countless lives. When you see firsthand the enjoyment and satisfaction of building something of real value to the world, it makes you want to follow on a similar path.
I chose to study at UNSW as it has some of the best engineering programs in the world. I always had in my mind I’d go to UNSW to study Engineering. I ended up studying a combined degree of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics.
What’s the most valuable thing you took away from your time at UNSW?
I quickly realised I was surrounded by super smart people. At first I thought of this as competition, that the point was to simply do better than the people around me. Halfway through I realised that all worthwhile projects are achieved when a group of people with complementary skillsets come together to work collaboratively towards a common goal.
I realised it was a bad strategy to try and do everything on my own which was a crucial learning when I eventually started my own company.
How do you see the Engineering industry evolving?
A trend is emerging where consumers are expecting brands and industries to be contributing to society in a meaningful way.
By thinking through a social impact lens, there’s many opportunities new graduates can take advantage of to create products and service that give back to the world.
What’s your advice for someone considering an Engineering degree at UNSW?
Employers and industries are increasingly becoming interested in graduates’ initiative to build things. Start building things. If you have an idea, then go and build it.
There’s nothing more powerful than showing someone what you have built and how you went about doing it.