Chris Catanzaro

Chris Catanzaro

University of Queensland
Associate Director - Corporate Finance
Chris studied Finance, Accounting and Real Estate and Development at University of Queensland

Promoting talent in the Corporate Finance team: My path at BDO

Graduates have plenty of opportunity to engage with BDO as their careers grow. Here's what the journey looked like for me.

My role at BDO is very different from the career path I first had in mind when I enrolled at The University of Queensland to study Engineering. However, it didn't take me long to realise that while I liked working with numbers, I didn't connect with their applications in an Engineering environment.

After making the change to studying a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Business Management, it wasn't long before I connected with BDO and began the journey to where I am today. As an Associate Director in the Corporate Finance team in the Brisbane office, I'm privileged to work in a role that is both challenging and varied.

The Corporate Finance team is also one that is growing in the Brisbane office, so it's the perfect time for graduates to express their interest in what BDO can offer them.

From work experience to full-time team member

My first connection with BDO started while I was still studying at university, so it's never too early for current undergraduates to begin thinking about how they may fit in with the firm. After being selected through the CA Achievers program, I was able to take on work experience at BDO. Throughout the four weeks of work experience, I spent half my time in Auditing and the other half in Private Clients.

Once I completed my initial work experience with the firm, I worked on a part-time basis throughout the remainder of my time at university. While I didn't go through the graduate program, my experiences show there are plenty of ways for students to connect with the firm in the early stages of their working lives.

Early on in my career, again through the CA Achievers program, I had the opportunity to travel to London to gain three weeks work experience in the BDO office. That was pretty exciting for me, as it helped me to understand the type of opportunities there are within the organisation and how BDO operates on a global scale.

Variety and challenge shape life in Corporate Finance

At the moment, our Corporate Finance team in the BDO Brisbane office is around 20 strong, and all members have a chance to complete work across a broad scale. The reason for this is that we don't lock our work into specific streams, instead giving people across the team the chance to engage with everything from conducting due diligence to building financial models, all within the wider context of the Corporate Finance environment.

Graduates looking to build their careers in Corporate Finance can expect this variety in the types of clients they engage with as well. BDO's Corporate Finance team has clients in industries as varied as natural resources, technology and property, while also comprising members of both the public and private sectors.

For graduates who want to get an idea of what their day would look like in the Corporate Finance team, it's important to know that every job is different. They need to be comfortable working through problems which could have a range of outcomes, instead of simply working to a template.

This doesn't mean we drop new team members in the deep end, but we do like to give graduates a sense of autonomy and the opportunity to think through issues for themselves before pitching us their solutions.

It's a little bit of a different way of working and may take some time for recent graduates to get used to. It's a lot less hierarchical than some other divisions or teams. We give our junior people the chance to present their work to more senior members so we can then all work through the potential outcomes together. 

A place for graduates to grow

BDO is not a company where people simply serve their time, and there's a significant focus on promoting younger staff members and ensuring there's always something else for them to aim for as they rise through the ranks.

It's an organic process too. Instead of focussing simply on tenure, if people are strong performers and can demonstrate their ability, the company will be supportive. BDO has consistently proven that it's able to identify talented people and reward and promote them as best they can.

In the Corporate Finance team, we're looking for people who are comfortable being given a problem and allowed to sit down and figure out what the potential solutions are or what the outcomes may be.

Corporate Finance is a growing team at BDO, and the varied and challenging work means it's a great and supportive environment for graduates to begin their journeys.