On the Job with Bonnie Macdonald at PwC

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Lynn Elsey
Lynn Elesy
Team GradAustralia
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Bonnie Macdonald is a consultant in PwC’s cyber team. Having graduated with Bachelor of Information Technology from Swinburne University, Bonnie joined PwC in 2015. 

Why were you interested in PwC’s graduate program? 

Part of my degree included an industry-based learning program, where students are placed within an organisation to gain experience. I was lucky enough to get a placement within the cyber team at PwC where, for the next six months, I was treated as if I was another consultant. I worked on testing engagement, proposals and shadowed leaders within the team. After showing my passion for cyber security, PwC offered me a full time role. 

What is the program like? 

When graduates come on board they have a great team of people to support them through multiple levels of leadership. Grads are also given real responsibility from the get go, where the real learning begins. 

Coaching and mentoring – whether through official programs, my assigned coach or peers who go the extra mile to ensure I am getting the most out of my job – has been a huge part of my experience here. 

Since I started, my role and the majority of my work, has been within the cyber team. However, I have also had the opportunity to work on projects related to the fraud and forensics team and the tech and projects team. 

What have been the best bits of your work? 

Much of my work is highly confidential, so I can’t go into detail about the project work. However my area of speciality is threat and vulnerability management, which is a very fancy way of saying that I get paid to legally hack into organisations and report on what I find so that they can improve their security. 

I have had some amazing insight into a range of organisations – from international companies to small businesses – learning something new every day and working outside my comfort zone. I particularly enjoy working onsite with clients, as I can speak with them and understand what assets are critical to the success of their business. 

What has been most challenging? 

Not being able to talk about my most exciting jobs or times when I was successful in gaining high-level access to sensitive client systems. 

This isn’t the kind of profession that suits someone who likes talking about the specifics of their work with their partner. 

What has been the most surprising aspect? 

The need to have a strong technical understanding along with the ability to communicate those concepts to a non-technical audience; the key is ensuring that the client understands the importance of your findings and how they can potentially impact the business. 

Any advice to current students? 

Think carefully about what you are passionate about and how a job can help you achieve your goals. And consider working at a larger organisation, which provides an opportunity to leverage a local and international network of contacts. 

Wherever you are, use the opportunities available to you to help others. My passion lies with leadership and mentoring initiatives for young women and students from disadvantaged backgrounds; PwC has provided me with the opportunity to pursue this passion. 

Be proactive. Do you have an up-to-date LinkedIn?

Do you have a web page showcasing your portfolio? 

Finally, be able to show an employer that you have “had a go”.