On the Job with Shameela Gonzalez from Commonwealth Bank

Lynn Elsey
Lynn Elesy
Team GradAustralia
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Shameela Gonzalez has been a technical business analyst with CBA since 2015, having joined CBA as a graduate in 2014. Shameela graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Business/Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, from UTS 

What interested you in CBA’s graduate program? 

My journey with CBA started while I was studying at UTS. I got involved in the Lucy Mentoring Program (a NSW government program designed to motivate young women about career opportunities) and was partnered with a senior manager at CBA. This inspired me to apply for a summer internship with the bank, which gave me more insight into the organisation and was a real eye-opener to finance. Finally, the interview process for the program gave me a good idea of the bank’s goals and what they were looking for, including innovation and a team-focused outlook, which matched what I was looking for. 

How does the program work? 

I joined as a graduate in enterprise services on an 18-month program, with an option of two nine-month rotations. My first rotation was as a business analyst in the digital team. For my second rotation I decided to try organisational change management because in a fast paced organisation, change is the only constant. I am now a permanent employee working in enterprise services, with a focus on marketing initiatives. 

Best bits of the grad program? 

It was an incredibly educational and supportive experience. It also provided a lot of opportunities to meet and network with other grads across the bank. The graduate team was always there to support and answer any questions I had. 

The technical skills you need can readily be picked up on the job – where the training really excelled was helping develop soft skills, including communication, presentation and specific activities that required teamwork and collaboration, in line with the bank’s emphasis on shaping future leaders. 

Finally, it provided a great opportunity to see first-hand how IT is shaping the banking industry and to work alongside forward-thinking individuals. 

Biggest challenges?

When I first started, the biggest challenge was getting my head around just how big the bank is with its various divisions and teams. Another was learning about my team’s specific function and how it fit into the bank’s overall strategy. However, these challenges presented opportunities, such as networking and collaboration, which made understanding the organisational structure a much easier process and also allowed me to meet a diverse group of people. 

Any advice to current students? 

Broaden your experiences by learning and absorbing as much as you can. Talk to your peers about their career aspirations and goals, as this will open your mind to more opportunities. The more you learn what’s out there and what options exist, the wider your career options will be. And make use of all of your career services on campus. 

What’s next? 

My energies are split between my project work and helping broaden the organisation’s awareness of culture and diversity, especially women and IT. I am interested in bringing more understanding of the Gen Y mindset to the bank, exploring what our generation can give the organisation and what the organisation can give us. I also want to help create as diverse an environment as possible.