What did you study? When did you graduate?
I studied a Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne, majoring in Finance and Economics. I graduated in 2018.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Melbourne and attended Our Lady of Mercy College, Heidelberg. I worked as a Customer Service Supervisor in an independent supermarket for a few years while I completed my degree.
My most notable experience abroad was when I went on exchange to Trento, Italy in 2015. While at university, I mainly travelled around Asia.
How did you get to your current job position?
I was offered a graduate position after successfully completing a four-week vacation program at McGrathNicol in late 2017. I returned as a graduate in February 2019.
How did you choose your specialisation?
I didn’t have a set career path in mind when I started my degree. I really enjoyed studying finance and economics and even contemplated further study. However, after getting a feel for life at McGrathNicol through the vacation program, I decided that I was ready to enter the workforce immediately after completing my degree.
I wasn’t an accounting student but I chose to pursue a career in Restructuring as it seemed like an interesting specialisation and offered me the opportunity to gain a diverse range of experiences and build a commercial skillset.
What was your interview process like?
The application process included an online application, cognitive testing and a video interview. I was then invited to attend an information and networking evening at the McGrathNicol office, which provided me with great insight into the firm and the people I would be working with. The final stage was a behavioural interview with a Partner and a Senior Manager.
During the final interview, I was asked questions about my CV, personal interests, what I had learned from university or work experience, and why I was interested in Restructuring and working for McGrathNicol. I enjoyed the professional yet relaxed approach to the interview process and was given regular progress updates on my application, which helped to reduce the nerves!
What does your employer do?
McGrathNicol is a specialist Advisory and Restructuring firm. McGrathNicol Advisory includes services such as Forensic, Governance, Risk & Compliance, Strategy & Business Improvement, Technology and Transactions. McGrathNicol Restructuring focus on Special Situations, Turnaround and Insolvency.
What are your areas of responsibility?
My responsibilities as a Graduate include completing a variety of tasks on insolvency engagements, including on-site visits, facilitating supplier payments and responding to a wide range of stakeholder queries.
Whilst I work predominantly in the Restructuring team, it is likely I will have some exposure to Forensic or Transactions engagements in the future.
Can you describe a typical workday?
It is difficult to describe a typical day due to the changing nature of the businesses we are appointed to. We work across a diverse range of companies and industries, so no two projects are the same!
The work that I am typically involved in requires communicating regularly with different company stakeholders over the phone or via email. We work in a regulated industry and I am also responsible for supporting the managers to ensure we are completing tasks within the timeframes stipulated by ASIC.
The last project I worked on was the RCR Tomlinson Voluntary Administration. This was a very large job which involved me working on site at the RCR office for a few months. Many of my interstate colleagues worked on the engagement, so whilst it was a busy period it was great to meet others from the national team and learn from a variety of managers.
What are the career prospects with your job?
There is a clear progression pathway at McGrathNicol and we all take part in regular performance and development discussions.
All graduates within the Restructuring team are supported to complete the Chartered Accountants (CA) program, which I am currently working towards. The next step for me is to become a Senior Accountant, and after completing my CA I hope to progress to a management role.
McGrathNicol offers the opportunity to work on different engagements around Australia and across different specialisations. Several of my colleagues have taken career breaks to work overseas, and on occasion, the firm has been able to support secondment opportunities with our affiliated firm Alvarez & Marsal who are based in the UK and USA.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
McGrathNicol mainly hires commerce/business graduates, however, they encourage people from other backgrounds to apply. I didn’t complete an accounting major but McGrathNicol has supported me in completing the CA Foundations bridging course this year.
The areas that McGrathNicol specialises in require a diverse range of skills (not just related to accounting), which we learn on the job and are given training for. We have employees from other backgrounds, such as law or corporate finance, who have thrived in our environment. Most importantly, McGrathNicol looks for excellent communication and interpersonal skills, strong problem-solving abilities and commercial acumen.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
If I wasn’t working at McGrathNicol, I imagine that I would be working in a similar firm. I may have even completed further study at university.
What do you love the most about your job?
The thing that I love most about my job is the variety of engagements I have exposure to and the excitement when a new job comes in and we all have to pull together as a team. I really enjoy going out to client sites as it’s an opportunity to learn more about how different businesses are run.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
I don’t feel like there are many limitations in my role since I’m given a fair bit of autonomy by managers. Since I started, I’ve received a lot of support from my team and my counselling manager.
We’re occasionally required to work long hours or on weekends, but our hard work is always acknowledged and we’re rewarded by having a team lunch at the end of a project. Some situations can be challenging the first time around but it’s all a learning experience.
A word to the wise...
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student? They don’t necessarily have to be related to your role, or even be career-focused.
Don’t limit yourself to the traditional career path related to your degree, lots of employers are seeking a diverse range of students for their graduate programs.
Don’t give up on your hobbies – employers like to see that you’re well-rounded and have interests outside of study and work.
Make the most of university breaks and travel if you can!