Meet the alumni couple taking on the world


Global power couple Melissa Ran and Adam Brimo will share insights around global collaboration at the 2019 Shanghai Alumni Summit.



As two people who launched successful startups, helped disrupt industries, and became global influencers all before the age of 30,  UNSW alumni couple Melissa Ran (BCom LLB '10, MCom '12) and Adam Brimo (BA BE '11) are a force to be reckoned with.


“UNSW really focuses on global mindset, cross-cultural skills and experiences in its education. The student cohort is so diverse so that we automatically build up a global network right on campus.” – Melissa Ran


Since graduation, Melissa has worked with St George Bank and Procter and Gamble. She co-founded Mijura, task management software, as well as becoming Global Program Manager the UNSW Founders program, working closely with hundreds of Aussie startups, connecting them with global resources. This led to her current role with bitfwd, working with the global blockchain community to put together educational events.


In 2018, Melissa was recognised by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) for her work facilitating industry collaboration between China and Australia.


“The first time I visited UNSW, I could tell it was a modern, diverse and open minded university with a strong sense of community.” – Adam Brimo


Adam is a software engineer and the founder of global online learning community, OpenLearning, leading a team of 70 across six countries. His passion for entrepreneurialism and technology stems from his childhood in America, during the dotcom boom in the 1990s. While studying at UNSW, he founded his own freelance web development business, and later held roles at Macquarie Bank and Westpac.


He also launched consumer activist campaign, which crowdsourced complaints against Vodafone. Seven years later, OpenLearning has grown to become the number one lifelong learning platform in Australia and Malaysia, with aims to be the number one platform in Southeast Asia.


“Looking back, the themes under which we first met in 2008 still pervade our lives: entrepreneurship, innovation, and empowering others.” – Melissa Ran


It all began as a campus love story. Melissa and Adam first met at the Roundhouse Beer Garden, 5:30pm on Tuesday 24th June 2008 (according to Melissa’s calendar).


The then-Director of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship had called a meeting to ask student society leaders to help him promote entrepreneurship on campus. At the time, Adam was the co-founder of 'The Switch', a society for students studying computer science, and Melissa was the VP of AIESEC UNSW, an international leadership development student society. 

After another meeting in September, the two got talking, as they strolled along on the main walkway before they parted (with such sweet sorrow). Adam went to the K17 CSE building, and Melissa went to the Quad Student Society office. 


“That short walk left us pretty impressed with each other, and later I added Mel on Facebook. We started chatting online and our first conversation lasted five hours! The rest, as they say, was history. We got married in 2016.” says Adam.



“Today, the most innovative companies are closely watching competitors in international markets to learn from their ideas and experiences.” – Adam Brimo


As presenters at the 2019 Shanghai Alumni Summit: Our Global Future, the pair will demonstrate the importance of global education, experiences and networks, and how this has been a crucial element to their success.


Companies of all sizes are increasingly selling their products and services around the world, so it is critical that today’s graduates are culturally aware, globally competitive and able to draw upon a range of experiences to come up with the best ideas,” says Adam.


As members of UNSW’s 310,000+ global alumni community, they’ll explore the various networks and resources available to their fellow alumni and how to tap into these to optimise career paths and lifestyles. They’ll also identify some key challenges involved in cross-culture collaboration, and how to mitigate these.


“Miscommunication can happen between people of the same culture interacting face to face, so it's extra challenging when dealing cross-culture with language and other barriers,” adds Melissa. “Values like integrity, humility, sincerity, openness, empathy and committing to 'win-win' are key, no matter what culture you are dealing with.”


Melissa and Adam will share valuable insights on global collaboration and networking at the 2019 Shanghai Alumni Summit on Saturday June 15.