Brendan Cheung

Brendan Cheung

University of Technology Sydney
Finance Graduate
Brendan studied Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Laws at University of Technology Sydney

What's your job about?

Vodafone is one of the leaders in the telecommunications industry. Currently I sit in the financial control team. We support Vodafone by working together with the business to provide accurate, timely and actionable information and services. The team utilises effective processes that protect and enhance financial resources. We also provide reliable information to stakeholders for decision making and deliver a wide range of financial services to VHA to meet regulatory requirements.

As the controllers of financial resources, we are highly involved with most projects. Our team has strong visibility throughout the business and we are constantly across the financial movements. The fast paced nature of the telecommunications industry constantly keeps you on your toes, and the ability to be across the financial position of a business as large as Vodafone is extremely exciting.

Certain aspects of the role may involve technical accounting and financial skills. While a lot of this can vary from what is taught in University, the team is extremely supportive, and assist greatly in helping you to learn while on the job.

What's your background?

I was born and raised in Sydney. The most important stages of my life centre on the opportunity to travel. Whether it was locally, interstate or overseas, every trip helped me grow beyond formal education. I found that the soft skills which I gained from these trips, greatly helped to accelerate my career.  

During my final year of University, I applied for a number of graduate programs, but decided to choose Vodafone, where I’ve now been working at for 9 months. Choosing Vodafone came down to the impression left by the team following the assessment centre and I haven’t looked back since.

The pathway to this position for me was not focused around obtaining high grades or completing extra units of study. From a young age I was always involved in sport and extracurricular activities. As I grew older, this evolved into working with not-for-profits, joining University societies and helping various organizations. Although completely unrelated to my degree, these activities proved to be just as important, and are without a doubt much more fun! 

Employers are shifting away from observing grades. The focus is now on experience as a whole. Use your University years wisely and most importantly, find things you enjoy.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes. Whilst the job has many technical elements to it, teams throughout Vodafone are very supportive and will always be willing to help fill in knowledge gaps.

There is always something to learn at Vodafone, as we often rotate through roles and provide support to various teams outside of our stated position. At Vodafone, you must be willing to learn and come into the day with an open mind. A fresh perspective is always appreciated!

What's the coolest thing about your job?

Although it sounds extremely mundane to most, my favourite task is completing the monthly reporting. At the end of each month, we pull together all the figures for the period and collate the information into usable data for the business. It sounds tedious and at times can be painful to do but it’s always a rewarding experience, knowing that the final product is used by management to track performance and look for ways to improve the business.

What are the limitations of your job?

There is an undeniable steep learning curve when joining Vodafone as a Finance Graduate. Especially for those such as myself who did not come from an Accounting background, many of the technical aspects of the job can take time to understand. Combining this with the ever changing environment of the telecommunications industry places a strong knowledge limitation on performing my job.  It’s not something you enter into as a Graduate on day 1 and expect to be thrown into the deep end immediately. However responsibility is very quickly placed on you and there is a strong trust factor in the team.

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

My main piece of advice to my past-self at University would be to stretch beyond the ‘comfort zone.’ Taking risks is never easy but the best time to do it is at University. It’s rare to find an environment where you can try so many different things and you should take advantage of it.

The second and third pieces of advice are to stop wasting time stop making excuses. It takes time and effort to break bad habits but the end result is always worth it.