Tell us about your current role
nbn is responsible for the design, rollout and operation of the nbn™ broadband network. This broad scope of work means that nbn has multiple work streams, including business streams like marketing and commercial finance, and operational work in engineering. Throughout the graduate program I have been able to gain a breadth of experience and exposure from working in various parts of the business, with my most recent rotation in Strategic Partnerships.
Here I worked on multiple projects assessing the value that proposed deals or ventures had for nbn. I worked on a project looking at options to connect regional Australia, undertaking due diligence activities and reviewing complex financial models.
I also had a lead role in a project with national implications, focusing on the rollout of one technology in the network. A typical day working on this may start with complex data analysis, where I would assess the data quality and use these sources to provide insight into the current state of the network. I may organise meetings to build relationships with key stakeholders and review with subject matter experts to gain a better understanding of the problem. This work would then be used to create and deliver presentations to broad and management-level audiences. This role allowed me to be part of the end to end process of a ‘deal’, from researching and quantifying the value offered by the deal, presenting a proposed approach and ultimately influencing the decisions made by the business.
How did you find your way to nbn?
I was born and raised in the coastal suburbs of South East Sydney – this proximity to the ocean may be what inspired a love of swimming, something I pursued competitively throughout school. From there an interest in finance led me to study a Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) at the University of Sydney. One of the most valuable parts of my degree was being able to study a diverse range of courses, including a major in Finance, Commercial Law and English Literature. I developed an appreciation for the mathematical as well as the importance of communication and storytelling, something that I have cultivated in my own time through writing creatively or otherwise. I think this balanced approach to study led me to a more business focused career and was one of the reasons I was drawn to the rotational nbn™ graduate program.
I have also always had a passion for social justice, volunteering with organisations aligned with families in crisis accommodation, working particularly in the mentoring and tutoring space. The way nbn helps to bridge the digital divide, providing access to education and connecting isolated communities aligned strongly with my values and experience and really attracted me to the company.
What rotations have you completed?
I started in the Network Deployment arm of nbn, working in a project officer role. My team were responsible for programs focusing on complex or difficult to connect premises. This role allowed me to develop project management skills, such as coordinating tasks within defined constraints, process improvement and change management.
My second rotation was in Commercial Finance, a role I chose to finally employ my studies in finance. In this role I was given another level of responsibility, owning the monthly reporting and bi-annual budgeting for a program of work. I also had the opportunity to apply the skills learnt in my previous role to uplift the team’s monthly reporting and budget presentations.
My third rotation has been in the Strategic Partnerships team, which is responsible for identifying, negotiating and executing deals that create value for nbn. I chose this role as I had an interest in Mergers & Acquisitions/Consulting work and wanted to gain a higher-level understanding of the business’ strategic goals.
Finally, I have had the opportunity to work with the Satellite and Fixed Wireless Team as part of an emergency team put together to deal with the implications of Covid-19. I have gained invaluable operational experience and really connected with the purpose and work at the heart of the company.
What do you enjoy most about working at nbn?
One of the best, and most important parts of my work at nbn is the strong sense of purpose you find here – it’s a purpose that brings the business together through a real sense of community and drives the business forward with a strong vision. nbn has a customer focused mission and my recent work in strategy, where I looked at options for connecting regional Australia, as well as my work in Satellite and Fixed Wireless has shown me that purpose and given me the opportunity to work on projects of real value.
What has been challenging?
One of the potentially challenging parts of the graduate program is the autonomy it provides. As a graduate you have the opportunity to work independently on projects with real value. You may face a heavy workload in busy times, but the program also provides a strong support network to help you succeed. nbn is also an extremely dynamic company, so change can be implemented often and rapidly. This can be challenging without an open attitude and a willingness to adapt quickly.
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
Give everything a go –volunteering, travelling, working in jobs that you may not see as a long-term career. These experiences help you understand yourself better, as well as what you might be happiest doing in the future.
Never underestimate the importance of your network – and this doesn’t mean only focusing on people you can gain something from. Be genuinely interested in the people you meet and keep an eye out for opportunities to help others.
Be open to change and don’t get stuck on an idea of what your life should look like. Plans and goals are important, but it’s just as important to take risks and not be afraid to grab an unexpected opportunity.
How would you describe the culture at nbn?
The culture at nbn is distinctly supportive and motivating. Even though it is a huge company its roots as a rapidly grown start-up – nbn was only formed in 2009 – give it an energy and dynamism that you may not traditionally see in a large corporate. My teams have always been willing to push me and provide the opportunity to move outside my comfort zone, but the network of mentors, champions and buddies that we are given also means there’s always someone there to offer support.
nbn wants you to ‘bring your whole self to work’. I’ve had the opportunity to recently volunteer, taking a paid volunteer day, and have been involved in the corporate social responsibility portfolio for the grads. Our group of graduates have also been involved in corporate sports, created a book club and had the occasional karaoke night. They encourage diversity and inclusion, as well as integrating personal interests and passions into the work you do.