Max Symonds

Max Symonds

University of New South Wales
Finance Graduate
Max studied Bachelor of Commerce & Bachelor of Economics at University of New South Wales

What have been the highlights of the graduate program?

The major highlight of my experience in the graduate program thus far was being given responsibility to develop a Financial Benefits Tracking Process for Stockland’s IT projects. This project involved a high degree of communication and cooperation with stakeholders from across the business and allowed me to put into practice the finance and accounting knowledge I gained at university.

 Why Stockland?

The reason I chose Stockland is due to its outstanding corporate culture and the flexibility it offers its employees. No matter what department you are in, when working at Stockland you will quickly realise that there are no set career paths. Your career is what you make it. Stockland’s willingness to provide its employees with opportunities in different areas across its business allows for the development of enhanced skills and experiences. 

What does a typical day as a grad involve?

My day starts off reading (and answering) any emails that would be waiting in my inbox. Up until about midday I will spend most of my time reviewing the accounting work performed by Stockland’s recently established offshore accounting team as well as helping out the senior onshore accountants with anything they need. Lunch may either involve meeting some friends out for a bite or representing Stockland in an inter-corporate game of soccer or touch football at the park. I set aside my time after lunch to help with the implementation of the BlackLine project. This project involves embedding BlackLine, an auto-reconciliation accounting tool, within Financial Control. 

Tell me a bit about your rotations and training and development opportunities

Being a finance graduate I am on a 2 year rotational program being rotated through the 4 different departments of Stockland’s CFO Group. These departments are: IT, Financial Control, Business Finance and Portfolio & Planning. So far, I have rotated through IT and I am now currently working within the Commercial Property Accounting Team in Financial Control. Whilst I am not technologically gifted, working within IT provided me with the autonomy to design and run my own finance project, an opportunity that I loved and grabbed with both hands. Working within Financial Control allowed me to practice the accounting skills I learnt at university as well as provided me with exposure to Stockland’s core business and financial systems.

What are some of the social aspects of the program?

Since joining Stockland I have become a member of their Soccer and Touch Football teams. There is no better way to spend your lunch! The graduate program also offers various opportunities to get involved in volunteering. Earlier in the year I took part in an Australian Business and Community Network 8-week volunteering program at Bourke Public School. This program involved helping to teach mathematics to grade 1 children on a Monday morning. It was a fun and very rewarding experience.

What is your one tip for a graduate applying for a graduate role?

Apply for roles that are of interest to you and make sure you understand why you want a particular role at a company. You have a higher chance of being successful and to develop a career in roles which will stimulate and challenge you.