What's your job about?
I am a graduate for Rural Bank, which is the agri-specialist sector of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, which means all the clients and files I see and deal with are involved in the agriculture industry in some way! For my first 6 months I am based out of Wagga Wagga in New South Wales, where I am completing a rotation in Sales. This means I work alongside Agribusiness Relationship Managers (ARMs) and Agribusiness Relationship Assistants (ARAs), so I am exposed to their day-to-day tasks. This way, I am able to learn all about the processes and requirements for new to bank customers, existing customers, account reviews and general account operations and complete any tasks they assign to me. I am also able to attend meetings with customers, which often means doing farm visits with one of the ARMs, which is a great opportunity to get to know both the ARM and the client on a professional and more personal level.
On a typical day, I arrive at the office at around 8.15am. I work between a Bendigo Bank Business Centre and an Elders branch, so the days vary a lot depending on which office I am in. I typically start the day by checking in with the ARAs I work with to develop a to-do list and then I get cracking on that! I am also the coffee-run gal for the office, which is always a priority! Throughout the day I will complete my to-do list, chat to the ARMs about their clients and portfolios, go on farm visits and check-in with the other grads who are spread out around Australia to see how they are going! Knock-off is 5 o’clock, so I either head home or to netball training!
What's your background?
I grew up in a small town in central Victoria on my family’s sheep property and vineyard, which is probably where my love of agriculture started! I caught the school bus to the local primary school everyday, before heading off to boarding school in Ballarat for year 7. During this time, we moved to live on our cropping farm in Mulwala, New South Wales. My holidays home from school were spent helping Dad on the farm, water-skiing on the river or working in a local cafe and farmgate store. I finished school in 2016 and didn’t like the sound of full-time study straight away, so I took a gap year and continued working so that I could earn some money and travel to Europe with a couple of friends. I always loved living and working on the farm, so I accepted my spot at CSU in Wagga Wagga and began studying Agricultural Business Management in 2017. I absolutely loved my course, the friendships, and the whole university experience. Covid-19 meant my final year of study was completed online, which wasn’t as fun socially but being home on the farm was nice and kept me busy! By this stage we hold sold the cropping property and purchased another sheep property next door to our other farm, so being back where I grew up and closer to friends was also a nice change.
I got my job as a Graduate for Rural Bank at the end of 2020, around the same time as when I graduated uni. I began in February, so have been here for a little over two months so far! I have a few months left in Wagga before I move on to a new rotation in Bendigo, Victoria!
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Yes! Anyone who has the ability and desire to learn would be able to do my job. I think anyone who has good communication skills and the ability to work in a team, as well as a willingness to learn would be suited to this role, as it is an entry-level job, meaning they don’t expect you to have any prior knowledge of banking at all! I think having an interest in agriculture would be beneficial as well, as it is a company which specialises in this industry. Being able to connect with clients and colleagues through Ag is beneficial and gives a good level of knowledge to start the graduate program with.
What's the coolest thing about your job?
I really love the parts of my job where I can interact with customers through talking about their farms and businesses, as I love hearing other people’s ideas and getting to know what does and doesn’t work in the farming and business side of things. Making these connections and making the customers feel valued is important to me and something I get a lot of satisfaction from. The moments when I can assist customers to reach their goals and ensure they have a good experience with the bank are when I know I am doing the right thing!
What are the limitations of your job?
As a graduate at Rural Bank every rotation for each grad is different, however for me I would say the biggest limitation is not being able to work with customers and do farm visits as often as I would like to. There can be weeks where it is a lot of computer work and not much variety, but I know during these times that I am learning a lot of the processes and it will set me up well for when I have to work more independently and gain more responsibility, which ultimately helps me feel more confident in my ability!
3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...
I would tell myself to embrace it and enjoy it!! It is probably the last time in your life you’ll be working and living so closely to your friends, so having a good uni-life balance should be a priority! Also, your co-hort at university is your future professional network, so making those connections now is very valuable for the long-term. I would also tell myself to ask more questions in class to really soak up the knowledge of my lecturers and classmates. Lastly, I would tell myself to stop procrastinating assignments!