Sandra Thong

Sandra Thong

Monash University
Graduate Business Analyst / Proposal Coordinator
Sandra studied Bachelor of Chemical Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Commerce (Finance) at Monash University

What's your job about?

Wood Group is a global energy services provider – our services include feasibility studies, technical support, engineering, project management, procurement, construction, commissioning, operations support and maintenance services to support the entire asset life cycle. We work in a vast range of sectors including oil and gas, LNG, water and clean energy. In Australia, our clients include ExxonMobil, Caltex, ConocoPhillips, Woodside, QGC, Origin Energy, Melbourne Water and Seqwater.

My role as a Graduate Business Analyst and Proposal Coordinator within the Strategy & Development team involves engaging and coordinating with key leaders and subject matter experts in our business to develop technical and commercial tender responses that showcase the business’ experience, expertise and competitive strengths.

The other complementary facet of my role involves market and client research and analysis to support longer term strategic business development and planning activities. Collectively, my responsibilities have allowed me to enhance my skills in stakeholder engagement, project coordination and communication – transferable soft skills essential for any career path.

What's your background?

I grew up in Melbourne and commenced a double degree of Chemical Engineering and Commerce at Monash University in 2010. Growing up I had a natural flair for anything with numbers and analytics, so a degree in engineering and commerce wasn’t a hard decision!

In my final semester of university, I commenced an engineering role with a FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) manufacturer who was commissioning a greenfield $100 million plant at the time. As a ‘hands-on’ intensive role, I was involved in commissioning equipment, writing standard operating procedures, product and equipment testing, troubleshooting and training which was invaluable learning experience.

Following this role, I moved to Wood Group in February 2016 to commence my position within the Strategy & Development team.  The experience gained within my previous role, combined with my educational background has provided me with a good foundation for my role within Wood Group. Since joining Wood Group, I have had the opportunity to work in Abu Dhabi and Malaysia, which has broadened my exposure to the business and different working cultures.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes, definitely – whilst having an engineering background has provided me with high-level understanding the projects we are tendering for, the knowledge I have gained from on-the-job learning has been imperative. My team comprises of people from a wide variety of backgrounds, all who bring a unique and complementary skills set and experience.

The key characteristics required for my job include the ability to work in a team and independently, great communication (verbal and written skills), high attention to detail and the ability to work to a deadline driven environment. I believe that all jobs require these skills in one way or another – the most important thing is the initiative and openness to learn!     

What's the coolest thing about your job?

I thoroughly enjoy being involved in the front-end strategy development for the business. This involves a variety of tasks including:

Market analysis & research – which includes competitor, country, client and data analysis as well as researching upcoming projects and contracts
Developing annual business plans – engaging with senior business leaders and stakeholders in workshops to document the objectives, strategies and opportunities for growing the business  

What are the limitations of your job?

Being involved in tendering means my workload often experiences troughs and peaks. Tendering is a highly deadline driven environment, which can result in long working hours from time to time.

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

  • Remain open to career opportunities outside of the degree which you studied – there is a breadth of career paths which you may not be aware of whilst at university
  • Even if you don’t get your ‘dream job’ fresh out of university, all experience is invaluable to your personal and professional development
  • Lastly, make the most out being a study – study hard, but play hard before full time work kicks in!