Updating Results

Alcoa Australia

  • #7 in Mining, energy, oil and gas
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Jack Marshall

The more life experiences you have across different areas will make you a more employable person when you finish university and look to enter the workforce. 

Where did you grow up?

I grew up around Fremantle, Western Australia. I attended Our Lady of Fatima Primary School before heading to CBC Fremantle for high school and I graduated in 2015. I enjoyed most sports during this time and took a particular interest in Water Polo.  I was fortunate enough to travel around Australia and Europe competing at the highest levels domestically and internationally. The highlight was competing at the World Junior Championships in Montenegro in 2016. 

Fortunately, I had finished school by the time World Champs came along but I had just started university which made things tricky. I underestimated how hard it would be to travel the world and complete full-time studies at the same time! I later adjusted to part-time study until I finished with competitive Water Polo. My advice would be to not take on too much at one time, focus on what matters to you and if it means university takes an extra year or two, it doesn’t matter. 

I believe it is extremely important to have a balance of studies, time for friends and family and extracurricular activities. The more life experiences you have across different areas will make you a more employable person when you finish university and look to enter the workforce. 

How did you get to your current job position?

I applied for my current position around April 2019 and went through the interview process which included a video interview, face-to-face interview, reference check and medical. 

I started full-time work in January 2020. 

How did you choose your specialisation?

I tried Accounting & Finance at school, and I enjoyed it. I had no real inclination to study anything else. 

What was your interview process like?

After the initial application, the process started with a video interview, which can feel uncomfortable because you’re speaking to a computer but the more you think about it the more daunting it becomes. I can’t specifically remember the questions they asked but I don’t remember them being too challenging. Just make sure you're relaxed and you’ve done a little research on the company and the position you’re applying for. 

The face-to-face interview was comforting as I was interviewed by very friendly Alcoan staff. The questions weren’t too role-specific as they just wanted to learn more about me and my character, but it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the company you plan on working for and the role that you applied for. An example of a question would be something like 'give an example of a time in your life that you had to show leadership' or 'give an example of a time you worked well in a team'.

After that, they called my references and asked me to complete a medical before offering me a contract as a finance graduate. 

What does your employer do?

Alcoa is a multi-national corporation with its headquarters in the USA. Its Australian operations represent some of the company’s best assets. They include two bauxite mines and three alumina refineries’ in Western Australia and an aluminum smelter in Victoria. Without realising you would use products every day containing aluminum such as Coke cans, aeroplane parts and beer kegs.  It also can be limitlessly recycled, making it a very unique and sustainable metal.

What are your areas of responsibility?

As a finance graduate, I will have the opportunity over the duration of the three-year graduate program to work across multiple areas of the business. I’m currently into my second month here at Alcoa and have taken on board the role of the Portland Cost Analyst. This role works closely with the Aluminum smelter in Portland, Victoria. So far, I have learnt to use various new software programs that I didn’t know existed two months ago and am slowly becoming an excel expert. My role includes preparing various journals and reconciliations, whilst still being able to interact with various people around the business. 

Can you describe a typical workday?

I start my day by checking my emails to see if there’s anything of a high priority to attend to first. I work closely with Portland which is two to three hours ahead of Perth and WA’s regional office where they start slightly earlier than me. Therefore, by the time I start my day, I may already have tasks of high priority to complete. In my current role, I have tasks that have to be completed by certain dates, such as posting a journal of an Invoice from Telstra, organising a meeting to discuss projects that are over their anticipated budget and reconciling various accounts. By the end of the day, I write down any important tasks to be done tomorrow. I usually work from 8.30 am to 5.00 pm. 

What do you love the most about your job? 

At the moment, I learn something new every day at Alcoa which continues to broaden my skillset moving forward. I also have multiple opportunities coming up, such as visiting a mine site and a refinery to learn more about the business and to see what really powers Alcoa behind the scenes. I enjoy working as part of a team and am fortunate to have very intelligent colleagues who I can learn a lot from which will be beneficial moving forward. 

Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?

  • Enjoy yourself, don’t forget that your university days are some of the best of your life and you won’t realise how good they were until they run out. Looking back on my time at university, I wished I got to know more people and tried new things while I had the time. So, make the most of every day and get involved in as many different things as you can. 
  • Be proactive - One thing I wish I knew when I was at university is that there are various internships/work experience opportunities available even as early as your first year of study. My advice would be to look out for opportunities that will benefit you in the long run as you gain valuable experience. Also, network, the more people you know will only help you in life and you never know when one of your networks will come in handy. 
  • Finally, don’t put too much pressure on yourself at university and neglect other areas of your life. It's important to have a balance, university is important but so are your friends and family, your health and having fun. If you look back at history, some of the most successful people will talk about the importance of balancing their career with other aspects of their life.