A little about me
Like most graduates in the program, I am not a Canberra native. I studied Commerce and Economics majoring in Accounting, Finance and Economics at UNSW in Sydney. Being offered a position was the culmination from the long five years that I spent at three different Universities. The offer coming from such a big department was the icing on the cake. Moving to Canberra can be tough on some, but I personally found it to be exciting. After spending two semesters abroad at Emory University (US) and Tsinghua University (CHN), it was uplifting to finally move out of home for good.
My experience as a graduate
The Entry Level Team (ELT) was very good at allocating my rotations based on my skill set. For my first rotation, the ELT put me in the Financial Accounting Branch based on my Accounting and Finance knowledge. During this rotation I was lucky to have the opportunity to work for Budget Development Branch for two months before the Budget. This was valuable in further developing my work ethic and gives me a glimpse of the Economic side of the Finance and Services Group. My second official rotation was in the Prudential Risk and Compliance Section in Aged Care. This was perfect as it involves some elements of consulting based on financial data. As most business graduates would know, any experience in consulting is a valuable opportunity.
What I do now
I am currently working in the Budget Costing Section of the Budget Development Branch. I have ownership over several measures to be considered in the Budget as well as standalone measures. The job involves a lot of stakeholder management and communicating with external agencies. I negotiate with programme areas, policy areas and the Department of Finance on a daily basis. I negotiate occasionally with other departments as well. Since this job directly contributes to one of, if not the most important document the Government publishes every year (the Budget), the importance of proper execution of my tasks cannot be understated.
Highlights of my graduate programme
There were two instances I thought were the highlights of my graduate year at DSS. During the tail end of my first rotation in the Financial Accounting Branch, I was tasked with writing a paper on improving the current audit process. In the end, my Branch Manager sold the paper to DHS for $2.5mil which I found very satisfying. The other highlight would be sitting on the executive table during the DSS charity trivia night. Having the chance to meet Finn and the Deputy Secretaries just reassured me how lucky I was to be selected by DSS.
Advice to 2017 DSS Graduate Programme Applicants
There is no better advice than to just simply apply and present the best you can throughout the selection process. I would recommend the DSS Graduate Programme to students from all disciplines. You will get an opportunity to work on projects that are truly meaningful, projects that directly affect the wellbeing of citizens of Australia. Working for DSS has meaning beyond a typical role where your primary objective is to satisfy shareholders, or your clients. You will be utilising all your skills to further advance Australia as a nation, starting on an individual level.