Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Adelaide and completed all my schooling there too. In year 12 the subjects I studied were specialist maths, maths studies, chemistry, economics, and physics. In addition to the year 12 subjects, I was interested in management, design, finance, and problem solving which lead me to study mechanical engineering at university.
By the time I graduated, I had lost interest in mechanical engineering and didn’t want to work in the industry–it didn’t feel like the right fit for me, and the appeal was gone. So I applied for jobs sparingly, procrastinated, and distracted myself by playing sport, travelling and standing around in art galleries.
I finally decided I should do something for work, and got a job at Barr-Smith Library at Adelaide University, where I worked on a storage management project and became a staff supervisor. While working at the library I realised I was far more interested in investing and finance than engineering. This realisation led me to enroll in university once again to complete a Master of Finance—which I thoroughly enjoyed.
How did you get to your current job position?
I started at the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) as a graduate (Sep 2018) in the Finance team of the Corporate Management Group. As part of my graduate program, I completed a rotation into the Systems Assurance and Data Analytics group and spent a lot of time in the Data Analytics (DA) team. This was where I discovered that data analytics appealed to my problem-solving nature and that being in the team helped me develop skills I wanted to apply in the finance sector. I have been fortunate enough to be able to stay in the DA team and have been working as a data analyst supporting our auditors for nearly 6 months now.
How did you choose your specialisation?
As mentioned previously, I had studied mechanical engineering and had thought I would like a career as an engineer but discovered it wasn’t for me. I enjoyed problem-solving and had always had an interest in finance and investing. It was throughout university that I developed a liking for asset management and corporate finance, and after experiencing data analytics at the ANAO, my desire to learn data analysis was born. I realised the DA skillset was directly translatable to the finance field and was akin to concepts used in engineering problem-solving.
What was your interview process like?
We had 15 minutes before the interview to prepare responses to questions which reduced the pressure to think on the spot in the interview. Resultantly the entire process felt more like a relaxed chat than an interview. There were a few behavioral-based interview questions that start with ‘give an example of a time when you ….’. The other interview questions were focused on my motivation for applying, my career goals and teamwork.
What does your employer do?
Performance and financial statement audits of federal government entities
What are your areas of responsibility?
Analysing and interpreting available data for our audit teams, based on the direction of the audit. Responsibilities include stakeholder management, time management, upwards management (communicating with supervisors), and development of data solutions, most likely using Python.
Can you describe a typical workday?
When the audit season is in full swing, I usually have quite a few meetings with supervisors, audit managers, and/or the audit client (entity being audited). My most recent task involved working with an audit team to identify business rules associated with a financial statement reconciliation. The business rules are important as they form an understanding of the data we are dealing with.
What are the career prospects of your job?
Data analytics is an extremely transferable skillset and can be related to any field of study (if you have data you can analyse it!). The mindset and style you learn to solve problems are also transferable, for example, data analysis could be utilised by a business consultant from an advisory firm. You can really go anywhere with data analytics.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
Probably something more pure finance-based or working for a bank.
What do you love the most about your job?
Developing a data analytics solution under the allocated budget and that will help an audit team complete work significantly quicker in the future and improve the quality of the audit.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
Not really a limitation, but being mindful of budgets – however, that could be said about any job. Being a data analyst really is that good.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?