Amy Novak

Amy Novak

University of Queensland
Consultant- Core Operations
Amy studied Bachelor of Engineering/Bachelor of Economics at University of Queensland

What's your job about?

PwC Core Operations Consulting focuses on delivering iconic clients value through optimal cost management, sustainable business growth and process improvement.

With a background in Mining, I work in the Energy, Utilities and Mining team (EUM). Currently, my client is a global mining giant, with assets in the Bowen Basin. Four days out of the working week I spend on site, in central Queensland, with the client. My role largely involves machine analytics and benchmarking. PwC owns the largest mining equipment database in the world and we use this data to show our clients where their biggest strengths and operational weaknesses lie. Giving clients visibility, supported by data, can mean millions of dollars in increased revenue per year. 

I never expected, in a million years, to end up where I am. My job falls very comfortably into the category of jobs that no kid would ever describe as their “dream job”. But more because they would not have any idea that this job actually exists! I am so happy to be developing my career in this industry and in the data and performance improvement space. It’s very rewarding to see huge machines perform much better because of advice my team have given to the client.

What's your background?

I spent the first three years of my life in Japan, where my parents were working at the time. I then grew up on the Gold Coast and moved up to Brisbane when I started high school.

I think if I was to describe the most pivotal stage of my life, it would be my final year of high school. I really enjoyed maths and science and did really well, but had no idea what I wanted to do at university. My maths teacher suggested I have a look into engineering and I never looked back. I chose my Mining major in my first year of uni, largely because of the importance the industry has to the Australian economy. I was lucky enough to study during the mining boom which presented many unusual and amazing opportunities. I spent six weeks in the US competing in the International Mining Games and touring iconic mines throughout the states, fully funded by various mining giants and the university. Between my third and fourth year of uni, I worked as an Undergraduate Mining Engineer in an underground mine in Far North Queensland. I designed my thesis, on borehole deviation in production drilling for more effective blasts, while working on my summer at the mine. All of these unique experiences in mining while I was studying gave me a broad understanding of the industry.

While I had a great experience working at a mine, I wanted to try something new and challenging. I knew I wanted to stay in the industry, but I also wanted to have a bigger impact. I did some research and discovered that performance improvement, similar to my thesis, was something that PwC consulting offered to their clients- and the rest, you can say, is history. I have now been in my role for a year, and have loved every second!

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Business performance improvement is not specific to my industry, and at PwC, we do it across government, education, health, finance and resource sectors. I think it is important to have an industry that you are passionate about. I have the opportunity to work on amazing problems and working with the industry to come up with a solution is very rewarding.

I think a blend of skills including the ability to; think on your feet, build rapport with a wide variety of people, think outside the box, persevere to get to the best possible solution and use data effectively to show meaningful insights would be my top 5!

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The coolest thing about my job is being able to have a genuine impact on issues that I am passionate about at the graduate level. Where I work and who I meet also has its perks. Recently, a client allowed me to set off a blast in a coal mine in Central Queensland. It probably didn’t add any value to the project, but I definitely had a great afternoon! 

What are the limitations of your job?

I know that the kind of work that I do is not for everyone. I spend four days a week with the client in Central Queensland, away from home. It means that I have to make a few sacrifices. I have been away for some big family events and had to leave my social sport team. I also work long hours on site. Mondays are extra hard- waking up at 3:30am to make my flight to Moranbah. Thankfully, I have a great team up there with me! It makes life much easier! I think if I didn’t have a passion for this industry and the problems I get to help solve, it would be much harder!

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

  • Find out what you are passionate about; industry, societal issues, etc… as early as you can. Spend as much time as you can learning from other people and experiences. As a consultant, these kind of experiences are invaluable and make you more credible.
  • Travel as much as you can.
  • Don’t knock something, until you try it!