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University of Western Sydney
Jacqueline studied Master of Applied Finance at University of Western Sydney
What's your job about?
Ecolab is a chemical and service provider that works behind the scenes to ensure the food we consume and the places we visit are clean and safe. During the internship, we had the opportunity to assist people in various departments, such as SOX reporting, credit card audits, helping with the end of year party and keying in orders for customer service. The majority of my time at Ecolab has been spent with the accounts payable team, focusing on credit card audits, where I had to cross check receipts uploaded by fellow employees and ensure compliance with policy. The best part about the credit card audits is seeing people’s food preferences!
What's your background?
I grew up in Western Sydney and attended high school at Leichhardt. After finishing high school, I went straight into university, studying economics at the University of Sydney. My first job was working at The Star as a dealer and although it wasn’t like how the movies portray it to be, it was still an amazing experience. Towards the end of my undergraduate degree, I couldn’t see myself pursuing a career in economics, so after graduating I took half a year off to travel. I spent some time abroad in Asia, travelling to Korea, Taiwan and Japan. Coming back to Sydney, I decided a career in finance was the path for me. Completing a two-year masters course was the fastest way into finance compared to another three year bachelor degree. I’m so glad I went back to university to study something I enjoy rather than pursuing a career in a field that I hated. I got my current position (finance intern) in December 2017 by applying online. Working at Ecolab has exposed me to many facets of a business that I never knew existed.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes! Anyone can do my job. Starting at Ecolab as a finance intern, they didn’t have any high expectations of background knowledge in finance nor the chemical industry. Practical experience isn’t necessary, a willingness to learn is the determining factor to whether Ecolab is the place for you. Although having knowledge in Excel and certain ERP systems is beneficial, it is not required and the people at Ecolab are more than happy to teach you.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
The best thing about being part of Ecolab is the people. It’s a workplace that makes you feel like you’re actually a person and not just a number. There are also frequent work events such as monthly morning teas where collectively we can celebrate the birthdays and service anniversaries of those around us, the monthly Friday after work drinks and an end of year party.
What are the limitations of your job?
The limitations to being an intern is an ad hoc task might come your way and you must have the ability to change what you’re doing in the moment to begin another task. As a finance intern, I worked with countless teams and had to be able to adapt to each person’s style of teaching. Also, with all the ad hoc tasks you need to pick things up quickly to complete the tasks appointed.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student…
- If you aren’t sure of the degree, take a gap year before deciding if university is the right path for you. This is something I wish I did during the first year of my economics degree.
- Travel more – being young with no one relying on me to be the bread winner, I wish I travelled more.
- Borrow the older edition textbook, instead of buying new textbooks or borrowing the latest edition (there is always a waiting list), as they barely change the content.