The life of a NZ Finance Grad

The life of a NZ Finance Grad

Name: Elliott Meldrum
Job Title: Finance & Advice Graduate
University Attended: University of Canterbury
Degree qualification: Masters of Applied Finance and Economics, Bachelor of Commerce
Year of graduation: 2017

So Elliott, what's your story/background?

I was born in Auckland and lived in New Zealand until I was 2 years old when my family moved to Singapore where we lived for 11 years. During this time we continued to travel back to New Zealand to see family, friends, go snowboarding and ended up building a house in Wanaka where we would eventually move to when we returned to New Zealand. I attended Mount Aspiring College for high school years followed by uni at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch only several years after the earthquakes, which made for an interesting experience. In my final year of my undergrad degree I travelled to Canada and attended the University of British Columbia in Vancouver on an exchange, as well as spending a month traveling the US before studying and a month travelling Canada after. Following this, I returned to UC for one more year of university to gain my master’s degree.

What is your job? And what does your day-to-day look like?

My current role is an analyst within the Actuarial team working with the General Insurance and Life Insurance teams. My day-to-day role varies hugely depending on the time of the month. Normally, I am working on assisting the more experienced analysts and actuaries with process improvements, creating tools to increase business intelligence or collating data to provide to other divisions within the business, however, during month end these jobs take a backseat to financial reporting. Being relatively new to the team, I am being trained on the month-end processes and I am taking on more responsibilities in relation to this process as I have develop a better understanding of the tasks.

What's the best thing about your job?

The best thing about my job so far is the variety of work that I have been doing since starting with Suncorp. In my first rotation in the Procurement team, I experienced a large amount of stakeholder interaction and developed my people management skills while assisting or running procurement projects. In contrast to this, in my current role in the Actuarial team, I have been heavily involved in technical analysis and modelling of data for use by the business which is helping me to gain a better understanding of the financial operation of Suncorp.

Why were you interested in working at Suncorp?

I was interested in working at Suncorp due to the opportunity to experience a variety of different roles within a finance team that was offered by the graduate program. This was extremely appealing to me as I had an interest in moving into financial career, however, I didn’t know what area I was wanting to specialize in and being able to have a taster of each business area before locking myself into a career path was an extremely attractive factor of the role.

What has given you the biggest sense of achievement?

While in my first rotation in the Procurement Team I was given the lead on a project to find a suitable supplier of cleaning services to the new Christchurch Suncorp offices. This project was daunting for me as it had an extremely tight time frame as well as my limited amount of experience made this project an imposing challenge. However, with the support of my leader and advice from other team members, we were able to find a supplier, get a contract in place within our time frame and received positive feedback from stakeholders upon the completion of the project.

What are the most surprising aspects of your role?

What I have found most surprising about my role is the amount of responsibility that I have been given so early in my career and the weighting that people put on my opinion even with my limited experience. This has allowed me to feel respected as a team member rather than just a rookie that needs to have their hand held.

How would you describe the Suncorp Graduate community?

The Suncorp Graduate community is a really welcoming and supportive group of young professionals. I have found that other graduates have always been willing to lend their knowledge or assistance on projects that I have been working on when I have approached them for help. The other graduates are also always keen to catch up for a choccy bikkie and a coffee, go out for lunch or grab a beer on a Friday after work which has created a really enjoyable beginning to my working career. These attitudes also extend beyond current grads to grads that have already rolled off the program into full-time positions which has helped me to meet more people from around the business who have passed on some of their advice.

What advice would you give to current students interested in working for Suncorp?

The advice that I would give to current students would be to get involved in as much as you can outside of studies while at university. While academic achievement is an important factor that Suncorp is looking for when hiring a graduate, being a well-rounded person is just as important. Social club participation, involvement in sports or volunteering are three easy ways to do this. The skills that these interactions and experiences give you will prove to be invaluable while working in any business area within Suncorp.

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