Alicia Collins

Alicia Collins

University of Western Australia
Aspiring Leaders Graduate
Alicia studied Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Economics at University of Western Australia

What's your job about?

I’m one of the graduates on Bankwest’s ‘Aspiring Leaders’ program and as such I have the chance to experience roles across four core divisions, rotating every six months through teams in business banking, enterprise services, products and marketing and retail banking. In my current rotation I’m working in the strategy and planning team within enterprise services. This team is responsible for delivering the short, mid and long term technology strategies and roadmaps for the business. On a day to day basis this means doing a lot of research to keep up to date with what’s happening in the industry; including the interesting innovations happening in the world of Fintech.

An example of this is a current piece of work that feeds into the Retail Bank strategy for our branches, and what they are going to look and feel like in the next few years and beyond. Consulting with different teams across Enterprise Services to better understand the technology we currently use, my research on industry and technology trends will feed into the retail banking management team to help them define their strategic direction. The work aims to give them an understanding of their options for technology and the impact that various business decisions will have on key investment areas.

All projects I have come across at Bankwest are about innovating – helping customers’ banking to be made increasingly simple and straightforward.

What's your background?

I grew up and went to school in Perth, Western Australia. In high school I loved economics and learning about the international economy and financial systems. After the Global Financial Crisis I was intrigued to learn more about how it all works; so I went to the University of Western Australia to study commerce and economics. In my last year I started applying for graduate jobs in corporate finance and banking and in February 2016 was lucky enough to start with Bankwest on the Aspiring Leaders program. In the eight months since then, I have been immersed into the culture at Bankwest and am excited to see where the next year will lead.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

The Aspiring Leaders Graduate program is open to students from any university background. It’s a two year program that allows you to rotate through four entirely different divisions of the bank. The purpose of the program is to develop your leadership skills and give you a well-rounded understanding of the business.

This program is for anyone who has the passion and willingness to learn, is curious and likes to think differently and wants to develop leadership skills.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

What I’ve loved most about my job so far has been the encouragement to be creative and think differently. Bankwest knows the banking sector needs to continually evolve and innovate to meet changing customer needs. The people with whom I work encourage curiosity and value the fact I’ve come into the bank fresh as a grad and that, as a Gen Y, my opinion about things might be different to how things have always been done. I’ve found Bankwest has a culture that encourages me to challenge the status quo and an openness to embrace new ideas. Being able to speak up and have real input into decisions made about our business and our customers is a pretty cool part of working here.

What are the limitations of your job?

Moving from one division to the next every six months for two years can be challenging if you’re not keen on the fast pace. With such short rotations, the learning curve is steep, but with each one you begin to develop skills and knowledge that are transferable and a network of people who you can ask for help when you need it.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Study overseas. I went on exchange in my last semester, but if I had known how much fun it was going to be I would have planned better and gone on a full year exchange for sure. 
  • Don’t leave applying for grad jobs until the last minute. Good cover letters and strong job applications take a lot of effort, so take the time to find the ones you want to apply for in advance, do your research, think about why you want it and put your best effort into each one.
  • Get out of uni-life sleeping patterns well before you start working full-time. Going to sleep after 2am and waking up in the afternoon is sadly no longer feasible once you enter the workforce.