Where did you grow up?
While I was born in Brisbane, I grew up in North Queensland. We moved to small piece of acreage just outside of Cardwell when I was five. We had chickens, ducks, a creek running through the backyard and lots of visitors such as wild pigs, spiders and snakes. I caught a small shuttle bus to school each day and there were about twelve people in my grade.
There was no local high school, so when I was thirteen, I went to boarding school at The Cathedral School in Townsville. After I graduated, I took a gap year and went on exchange in Southern Italy, where I learned and have since forgotten Italian.
In 2013, I moved to Brisbane to study at UQ. While at uni, I worked multiple jobs in fields such as hospitality, sales and a finance internship. This allowed me to save enough money to go on a two-year backpacking trip around the world before returning to complete my degree last year.
How did you get to your current job position?
At the UQ Careers Fair last year, I met some Protiviti employees and struck up a great conversation. We talked about their jobs and the company, but also other aspects of life such as the importance of travel and hobbies. I must have made a good impression, because they marked my name down. While I still had to go through each stage of the application process, I believe the impression that I made at the Careers Fair helped me stand out. I started working at Protiviti only a few months later, in July 2019.
How did you choose your specialisation?
I went into consulting because I wanted the opportunity to learn as much as possible. The world is changing at a breakneck pace and I’m wary of becoming overly specialised in a job that won’t exist in a decade. Consulting allows me to develop invaluable soft and hard skills, while also giving me exposure to a wide array of industries and business areas.
What was your interview process like?
Initial interviews were conducted over the phone by a senior consultant – someone who had done the very job that I was applying for. This was a breath of fresh air compared to the prerecorded interviews most companies put graduates through. They asked questions around my interests, time management skills, why I wanted to do this kind of work and what I thought I’d bring to the table. The assessment centre involved interviews with the directors and managing director around similar areas. They also asked me specific questions about my CV and past experiences.
What does your employer do?
Protiviti is a global risk consulting firm. While we deliver a variety of different services internationally and domestically, our primary focuses in Brisbane are internal audit, risk and compliance and technology consulting. Most of the projects I’ve been on so far have been audit and advisory reviews. This is when we are hired by a third party to analyse a specific area of the business and the key risks involved. We then determine whether those risks are appropriately addressed and give advice on potential improvements. Lately, I’ve been more involved in assessing cybersecurity risks and helping to build the technology consulting arm of Protiviti Brisbane, which is a really exciting opportunity.
What are your areas of responsibility?
My areas of responsibility include interviewing clients, reviewing documentation, testing controls and drafting reports. While I didn’t have any of these skills prior to starting work, I’ve been given the opportunity to learn quickly and take on increasing amounts of responsibility.
Can you describe a typical workday?
To fall victim to a total cliché, my workday is rarely typical. Generally, though, I’m at a client site. Every client does something different and every project is looking at a different business area. So I’m basically trying to learn as much as I can all day. Some days we’re in back-to-back interviews all day. Other days, I’m reviewing documentation and testing controls all day. Last week, I was at a Microsoft Azure training workshop all day. It totally depends, but it generally involves a good balance of face-to-face and independent work time.
What are the career prospects with your job?
I think the goal here is to find your area of interest. You may decide that you want to stay a jack-of-all-trades and stay in consulting until you’re the managing director. Alternatively, you may find a niche area or industry that you want to specialise in. Eventually, you may decide to leave consulting and become employed by one of your prior clients. Alternatively, you could take all the soft skills and industry knowledge you’ve learned and jump into a totally different field.
Could someone with a different background do your job?
Absolutely. While my background is business-related, we’d also love anyone who studied IT, data analytics, cybersecurity, etc.
What would your career be if you weren’t doing what you’re doing now?
If I wasn’t in consulting, I think I’d enjoy working for a startup. Or in some mountain lodge, on the other side of the world, taking people on hikes and writing short stories in my spare time.
What do you love the most about your job?
I like the variety of work. I love getting exposed to a different business every few weeks and trying to understand the problems that they face. I love building a picture of how things work. My favourite part of a review is right toward the end where you have a bunch of different problems, but you need to figure out how to group them logically and then condense them into a digestible report.
What’s the biggest limitation of your job?
The most difficult part of my job is probably the responsibility placed upon us. While guidance is always there, we are given a lot of independence throughout projects. Because our managers are often on multiple projects at a time, it can mean we have to find solutions to problems ourselves first and then ask if we’re correct later. This gives us a great opportunity for ingenuity, and it’s a forgiving learning space, but it can be stressful as you’re not always sure you’re embarking on the right path. I’d recommend this role to people who like to be challenged and perform well when given some independence.
Which three pieces of advice would you give to a current university student?