Nicole Ma Oliver Wyman Graduate

Nicole Ma

University of New South Wales
Consultant
Nicole studied a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) at the University of New South Wales

What's your job about?

Oliver Wyman is a global management consulting firm – essentially, we help organisations with their toughest problems. We work across many different industries, such as financial services, healthcare, aviation, cyber, retail and more. Every project and every day is different. I’ve run meetings with senior clients on reporting, facilitated internal training sessions, conducted research, created PowerPoint slides or Excel models. There’s so much variety, it’s not often I’m bored.

What's your background?

While I’ve only been at Oliver Wyman for one year, it feels like a lifetime compared to a year at university. Before consulting I interned in private banking, which has a good balance of people management and technical finance skills. But I wanted exposure to more industries and sectors than just finance. With OW I’ve completed 5 different projects ranging from cyber security product scoping, to anti-money laundering for a big 4 bank, to shaping the 5-year strategy for a not-for-profit organisation. I’ve always enjoyed travelling and OW has taken me to 5 cities (Melbourne, Canberra, Wellington, Singapore and Bali). It’s been a challenging but fun year so far.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Of course, there are always tough problems to crack on projects and different perspectives are valued in that process. I’ve worked with people who studied engineering, maths, zoology, history, philosophy – it really doesn’t matter what you study. We value leadership, teamwork and analytical skills. Your background might help you ramp up on knowledge faster on certain projects, however every project is different.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

It’s hard to pinpoint one thing, but the top 3 would be:

  • Our annual offsite conference in Bali this year with all our other offices in Asia Pacific
  • Seeing a whale in the harbour from the client office in New Zealand
  • Managing an intern and seeing how much they’ve grown in only 2 months

What are the limitations of your job?

A demanding schedule can creep up if you don’t communicate to the team what works for you. Intensity ebbs and flows throughout the year with travel and different projects, so it’s important to plan ahead. In saying that, travelling is an amazing part of the job and I always try to make the most of working in new cities.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • Stop worrying about what everyone else is doing, it’s ultimately your path
  • Enjoy your time at university – travel, figure out your hobbies, get involved
  • There’s a lesson in every setback