On the job with a Graduate, Digital Channels at CBA

GradAustralia met with Janet Mao to learn about life as a Graduate, Digital Channels at CBA
Erin Delaney
Team GradAustralia
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Janet studied a Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics)/Bachelor of Arts at The University of Sydney and graduated in 2015

What do you do day-to-day?

As a Digital graduate I go through different rotations within the business focusing on improving our customers’ digital experiences. My first rotation in the Digital Banking team saw me collate and analyse customer insights, present my findings and recommendations to my team and other stakeholders, and help shape the proposals for any new changes through workshops, amongst other things. My second rotation through Branch was vastly different as I interacted directly with our customers to make the most of their banking, whether it’s through teaching a customer how to utilise our app or NetBank, servicing any account maintenance needs, or conducting customer interviews as part of my own research projects.

Why were you interested in working there?

When I graduated I wasn’t sure exactly what role I was after but was attracted to the Digital graduate stream as it seemed to combine many of my interests: technological innovation, design, analytics, and a focus on the customer experience. On top of being known as an innovator and leader in the digital domain, CBA itself attracted me because of its great developmental culture — as confirmed by many friends who’d gone through their intern and grad programs.

What rotations have you completed?

I’ve completed two rotations so far, out of five. The first was as NetBank Complaints Manager in the Digital Banking team, and my second was as a generalist grad in the Miranda branch, focused on learning about frontline operations. I’ve just started my third rotation in the Mobile App team as Product Owner, which I’m very excited about.

What was involved in the recruitment process?

The recruitment process involved an online application with a psychometric test, which was followed by video interview. Finally there was an in person assessment centre where we had a group task followed by individual interviews.

What is working at CBA like?

Working at CBA is like working for one giant network that is made up of a diverse range of smaller organisations that are each so dedicated to achieving the best in their own unique way. The vast network may seem daunting and impersonal at first, but you realise it’s driven by so many interesting, intelligent, and committed people, and I really look forward to meeting and working with them every day. People are at the heart of what makes CBA’s culture so vibrant and you really feel that sense of community being an employee.

What has been challenging?

Graduating from a combined Science/Arts degree, I didn’t really have a background in finance or IT, and I was apprehensive about how I could upskill fast enough to make an impact. CBA entrusts you with a lot of responsibility from the get-go as a graduate, which is daunting but empowering. However they also understand you are at the start of your career and don’t have all the answers, so there are lots of opportunities for learning, development, and asking what you might think are stupid questions.  

What has been exciting?

Just the sheer number of opportunities graduates have to make an impact and gain exposure. A few weeks ago a number of grads — including me — pulled off a major internal speaker series event, where over 130 people attended with our CEO Ian Narev as the keynote. It was amazing to see something that was organised solely by grads come to life successfully, and I even got to experience being an MC!

What has given you the biggest sense of achievement?

I’ve felt a great sense of achievement from multiple experiences here at CBA, as anything that allowed me to make an impact on even a small part of such a large customer base has been rewarding. Examples include running a workshop that redefined the way customers could view their credit cards online and helping develop that into a practical vision, and helping multiple customers in branch step-by-step with their digital banking to make their lives more convenient.

What are the most surprising aspects of your role?

The amazing culture at CBA Digital – which feels like its own tech start-up within CBA. This may be surprising for a bank, but most of the people I work with wear chinos or jeans, don’t have assigned seating, and have quick stand-up huddles in front of giant project boards instead of long board-room style meetings. This modern way of working has even extended to outside of Digital to help refine our products and strategies as well as technologies, from teams on the ground to higher executives.

What advice would you give to current students interested in working for CBA?

I would recommend you have an open mind about what role you want to have and just be keen to learn and be interested in many new things, as CBA has so many different areas and opportunities for you to make an impact — some you may not have known existed! Instead, focus on the kind of impact you want to have and values that come along with it, especially as CBA itself is very values-focused.