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University of Wollongong
Group Performance & Analysis Manager
Lindsay Evans studied a Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) and is a group performance & analysis manager at Qantas.
What's your name and job title?
Lindsay Evans – group performance & analysis manager.
What did you study? When did you graduate?
Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting). I graduated from the University of Wollongong in 2011.
Where did you grow up? Did you hold any jobs throughout university?
I grew up in Sydney’s south and attended Endeavour Sports High School, balancing both school and sporting commitments throughout my school years. After school, I went straight to the University of Wollongong. Whilst at university I worked several jobs and gained some work experience in my final year at a small accounting firm in Wollongong, and also at my local electoral office.
How did you get to your current job position? For how long have you had it?
I joined the Qantas Graduate Program in 2012. Studying accounting, I was offered a role in the finance stream of the program, which meant that I completed four six-month rotations through different finance departments over two years. Following the graduate program, I started a role in Investor Relations and in late 2016 I started my current role as group performance & analysis manager.
How did you choose your specialisation? Were you weighing up any other alternatives before choosing this specialisation?
At school, I really enjoyed commerce and business studies and this led me to a commerce degree. I originally chose commerce because I was unsure about what specialty I wanted to do when I left university – a commerce degree allowed me to study a wide variety of subjects in the first year (economics, marketing, finance, management etc) before having to choose a major. Once I had completed my first year at university, accounting was the stand out for me. I really enjoyed the subject in my first year and could see how accounting would give me a good base knowledge to build on once I entered the corporate workforce.
What was your interview process like? What kind of questions were you asked?
When applying for the graduate program, it was a multistage process and involved an online application, online testing, a group-based activity and a final interview.
The interview was made up of behavioural based questions. Questions would usually start with ‘Describe a time when...’ and would cover a skill that they were trying to assess, such as leadership, influencing, time management and so forth. They were trying to assess the skills I had acquired through my previous experience at school, university, work and volunteering that I could transfer to my role in the graduate program. It was important to really listen to those questions and be as specific as possible when I was answering them.
What does your employer do?
I work for the Qantas Group, whose main business is the transportation of passengers using two airline brands, Qantas and Jetstar, across regional, domestic and international services. They also operate Australia’s largest Loyalty Program – Qantas Loyalty – and operate airline freight services domestically and internationally.
What are your areas of responsibility?
Our team provides the Group financial performance information to the Group Management Committee and the board of directors. It involves consolidating information provided from all the segments (Qantas, Jetstar, Loyalty etc) to provide an overall Group picture.
Can you describe a typical work day? What was the last thing you worked on?
The work our team completes changes depending on the time of the year. Some of the busiest times of the year is when we are preparing the financial statements for the half and full-year public announcements. We are also responsible for internal tasks like setting segment targets for future financial years and progress on current year forecasts.
What are the career prospects with your job? Where could you or others in your position go from here?
Working for a large company like Qantas, I have plenty of opportunities. Internally, I could move into a business partner role, where I would work closely with a part of the business to achieve and report their financial performance. Another option would be to become a financial controller of a business unit. Other options could be to move into a more commercial role within the business in departments like Procurement.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Definitely. As long as they had a strong financial acumen, they would be able to succeed in this role. People who have previously studied finance would also suit this role.
What do you love most about your job? What kind of task do you enjoy the most?
I love the fact that my job is really high level and looks at the Qantas Group the way the shareholders would. As it is a Group role, I engage with a range of stakeholders throughout the business. I also like the idea that the work I contribute to will be assessed by shareholders when deciding on whether they invest in Qantas.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job? Do you bear a lot of responsibility? Are the stress levels high?
The workload can fluctuate throughout different times of the year and when we are working on big projects. This can result in working long hours. The job can sometimes also be high pressure as we often prepare information that will be used publicly. If we misstate any information this can have reputational and legal implications, so ensuring we have correct information that is free from error is imperative.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?
- Interpersonal skills and relationship building are equally as important in the workforce as the knowledge you have gained when you study.
- Try and get some experience in your chosen field while you are studying so you can make an informed decision on your career path when you finish.
- Study what you enjoy!