What's your name and job title?
My name is Michaela Crosbie and I’m a consultant in the Engineering and Asset Management team within the Management Consulting division at KPMG.
What did you study? When did you graduate?
I studied at the University of Melbourne completing a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in finance. Following this I completed a Master in Engineering (civil), graduating in 2016.
Where did you grow up? Tell us about some important stages of your life in regards to your school, education, experience abroad and so forth.
I grew up in a Sunbury, Victoria. I attended school at Overnewton up until year nine and then I moved across to Lowther Hall. I was studying German at school and my brother had previously completed a student exchange program through the Association of German Teachers Victoria (AGTV). I wanted to improve my language skills and be challenged in an exciting and new environment, so at the end of year ten I packed my bags for a ten week stay in Kempten, Bavaria.
In my second year of university, I came across a business elective called The Global Consulting Project. Students had the opportunity to travel overseas to Malaysia, Thailand or India to work in industry on a project for two weeks. Travelling overseas by yourself can be a challenging but incredibly rewarding experience. I applied for the subject and was successful. I spent the fortnight working with a housing finance company in the heart of Mumbai, developing a strategic model for expanding the company’s existing branch network. This experience gave me the confidence to pursue a potential career in consulting which led me towards KPMG.
Throughout uni, I kept busy with part-time work – waitressing at an events catering company. I had to balance this with one of my biggest passions, Calisthenics; a sport I have been competing in for the past 20 years and have now been a qualified coach in, for five of those years.
How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?
I was offered a vacationer position at KPMG over the summer in 2015/2016 in the Customer & Operations team within the Management Consulting division. Improving business processes and optimising internal systems sounded just like ‘engineering for business’ and that sparked my interest.
During those nine weeks, I was given the opportunity to help facilitate workshops with Department of Health and Human Services, develop cost models for large infrastructure projects and I even learnt how to use mapping software for predicting future transport demands.
I accepted a graduate role with KPMG in 2017 and was introduced into a new, emerging team within the Management Consulting division; Engineering and Asset Management.
I have been a consultant for just over 14 months and am now working alongside a team of talented engineers who are helping organisations to obtain the most value from their physical assets.
What does your employer do?
KPMG is a global company providing a full range of services to organisations across a wide range of industries, government and not-for-profit sectors. KPMG service areas are Audit, Assurance & Risk Consulting; Deals, Tax & Legal; Management Consulting; and Innovation & Digital Solutions. In addition, KPMG Enterprise tailors its services to meet the unique needs of mid-sized, fast growing and family owned businesses.
The Engineering and Asset Management team helps governments and the private sector to transform the way they manage assets and deliver major programs. The team brings together people with skills in strategy, decision making, life-cycle delivery, organisation & workforce, and risk, to help clients realise value from their assets.
What are your areas of responsibility?
I am responsible for developing business cases for organisations looking to deliver infrastructure projects, such as the construction of new building, expanding or relocation [of] current facilities. I engage with stakeholders, conduct site-visits and provide regular progress updates. I help manage the transferral of information between our client and key parties and coordinate workshops for design discussions and project planning.
Internal administration is another essential responsibility which is often shared amongst a project team. This involves creating spreadsheets which forecast expenditure on the project and maintain a record of project activities such as key meetings and delivery milestone dates.
Can you describe a typical work day?
What I love about my job, is there is no typical work day. Each project is different, whether I’m working with a new client, under different time constraints or working in an entirely new environment (sometimes a completely different state).
KPMG work alongside the client to reach solutions, so often we are facilitating workshops with our clients to best understand their business needs and holding regular team meetings to ensure our project is on track. Our core business is providing advice, so a typical work day will involve reviewing policy documents, writing contracts, providing assessment reports and developing presentations for our findings and recommendations.
Suppose a student was considering your career. What would you advise them to study? Are there any particular skills that they should develop?
A career in management consulting requires more than just a mind for business. The best project teams are made up of people with vast and varying skills and experiences. No longer is everyone just a business graduate. Instead, I am working beside people who have studied engineering, law, biomedicine, chemistry and the list goes on.
It is important to remember that university is not just about the content you will be learning, it is about the skills you will be developing. Graduates who have studied various subjects and disciplines bring a wider range of skills to help solve problems in effective ways. I would suggest trying out electives that don’t necessarily align directly with your core curriculum. The greater breadth of skills you can develop, the better you will be able to adapt in a dynamic work environment.
I encourage you also to develop your writing skills and perhaps even more importantly, your presentation skills. Being able to communicate effectively with team members, business and industry will stand you in good stead.
What sort of person succeeds in your career?
A self-driven and collaborative person succeeds in this career. Determination to improve not just yourself but also others is essential. KPMG is a collaborative business; we work in teams to deliver the best outcome for our clients. You should be motivated to achieve your full potential and passionate about supporting others to achieve theirs.
What do you love the most about your job?
I love the variety of my job. We are constantly moving between different projects and working with different clients on a range of problems. In a single day I could be writing contractual documents for projects in Antarctica and then sitting in design workshops for new Defence training facilities. It was once described to me that as a consultant, you need to be comfortable being uncomfortable, and I think facing new challenges every day is why I continue to love what I’m doing.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Do you have to work on weekends? Is your job physically demanding?
The biggest limitation would be the certainty in workflow. We can’t always control the number of projects being brought into the firm so there are times when I don’t have a project to contribute to. There are lots of other opportunities to get involved with the business when we aren’t on client-work. I will help write proposals for new projects, attend networking events and enrol in short learning courses to develop my consulting skills.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
If I wasn’t in management consulting, I would be doing project management at an engineering firm.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?