How did your education shape your career pathway?
One of the most important stages of my life was being accepted into the Head Start program at the University of Southern Queensland when I was in grade 10. This is a university-entry program for high-achieving students. Head Start allows you to start a university course while you’re still in high school to test if you’re interested in those subjects.
What does your employer do?
BP, in a nutshell, delivers energy to the world. BP is involved in everything from finding, refining and transporting, to selling and marketing energy-related products. This includes everything you’d expect, but also all of the support functions required to make this work – from finance and procurement to HR and IT&S.
What are your areas of responsibility?
As a performance analyst, I basically help the business to examine the way our company invests in capital resources, from assessing how programs are performing and assisting the management of how we spend money, right through to making sure we’re delivering value for those investments.
Can you describe a typical workday?
My workdays tend to be pretty varied. They can involve anything from strategic analysis or presenting a program of work, through to teaching someone how to create graphs in Excel or summarising metrics for the financial performance of an asset.
Which tasks do you enjoy most?
I like improving things and making things better. The whole point of performance is to learn and embed what you’ve learnt to continually improve. I enjoy understanding the relationships between operations and performance. I also like having exposure to so many different functional areas – you get to see how the different parts of a cross-functional business interact with each other.
What sort of person succeeds in your career?
Someone who is willing to challenge people and ideas. You need confidence and courage to deliver insights around performance to a business and to make recommendations for future performance.
What advice would you give to a student considering your career?
I’d suggest for almost any career that they should study something with numbers. Business, commerce, finance or accounting are all options. Commercial acumen is vital. Even if you’re not planning on going into purely financial roles, having a basic understanding of how the numbers work can only be to your benefit. If you don’t particularly like it, there are options to do single courses or even a minor.
What about soft skills?
You will be told for the rest of your life how important soft skills are and I can’t emphasise that enough. No matter what job you’re in, you need to be able to interact with people with different personalities and different life experiences, so finding common ground is important. Learn to talk to people using a style that is an honest reflection of you, that works for you. More importantly, learn to listen and engage with people, especially those you don’t necessarily relate to automatically.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes, I did law and accounting and I’m not a lawyer or an accountant.