SAS Graduate Program

Peter Cullen

University of New South Wales
Senior Manager, Information Technology
Peter Cullen, BSc Business Information Technology 2000, UNSW

I joined SAS Australia in January 2001 as part of a graduate intake program. Having just graduated from a cooperative scholarship degree at UNSW the year prior, I had already had a taste of the commercial workforce through some industry placements, but having a technical bent I was still keen to continue learning. As a technology company, SAS provided ample opportunity for this – with a chance for me to both learn specialist technical skills, and to work within different departments to really understand how the software business operates.

The grad program consisted of a block of intensive bootcamp technical and professional training with about 10 peers - a great bunch of people who had lots in common! As a result we became friends and colleagues – there was lots hard work but still plenty of fun. At that time each graduate rotated through various technical and business departments to see where their strengths and interests were best suited. But I soon found a home in the Professional Services organisation – working as a consultant in customer-facing engagements and onsite projects.

Consulting was my home for about 6 years, where I specialized in Business Analytics and Data Management technologies – gaining in experience and seniority with each customer engagement. The opportunities here were enormous with each project presenting very challenging environments across diverse industries and implementation technologies. Putting in lots of effort during this period was both demanding and rewarding, and was a period of great personal and professional growth for me!

From there I moved internally to the IT organisation within SAS, delivering similar warehousing and data analytics solutions but now with SAS itself as the business customer. Having exposed me to various parts of the business already, the graduate program proved to be an enormously useful foundation for this role too. I had a kick-start in my knowledge of the operations of various business functions, and could extrapolate this across the IT needs of more countries. My responsibilities spread across fourteen countries to encompass the system needs of SAS Asia Pacific as I became a principal applications developer leading an internal development team.

I took on the management of an internal IT team in 2013 and have just recently added a regional Business Relationship Management role to this in 2015. I now look after a warehousing, development and support team and am working to make IT in the region an integral part of SAS’ vision – travelling within the region and internationally to collaborate with colleagues on many projects.

I didn’t realise it at the time, but being lucky enough to have pursued a degree that bridged the gap between business and IT, and then gaining entry to a graduate program at SAS that nurtured and challenged this cross-disciplinary proficiency has led me to where I am now – constantly challenged by a rewarding and satisfying career.