Alumni Q&A - Aditi Kapadia

Master of Management (Marketing)(2016), Bachelor of Arts (2013), Bachelor of Psychological Science (Hons)(2014) from La Trobe University

Current role/company: 
Senior Consultant (Management Consulting), KPMG

Where in the world are you:
Melbourne, Australia

Tell us about your experience since leaving university. How have you come to your current position? Is this the sort of role you always wanted to be in, or were there some twists and turns along the way?

The path to my current role has had a few twists and turns, but I am glad for every curveball along the way!

Straight out of university, I started as a graduate at a Melbourne based ad agency. Within about two months, I realised that advertising was not the career for me, so I decided to explore other options.

I was looking for a role where I would be challenged to learn something new every day, use my business school education on the job, and progress quickly in my career. So, I decided to try Management Consulting instead. I was lucky to land a consulting role at Accenture, where I spent a year learning the ropes. From there, I moved on to KPMG, where I help clients design and execute customer driven strategies as part of the Customer and Operations advisory team.

How have you adapted over the last few weeks, e.g. moving on-line, working from home, etc? Have you learned anything about working flexibly/digitally that you were surprised by?

It has been a delight working from home. I love being able to work in my pyjamas, and not having to face the daily onslaught of traffic in order to get to a certain place at a certain time.

It has also been surprisingly easy to work collaboratively with my colleagues and clients over
Skype or over the phone.

For most meetings, I don’t use any fancy technology. I am old school at heart and usually prefer a good old phone call over Skype or VR software. Lately, I have been using Microsoft Teams to run client workshops, which has been a breeze.

What method would you say is best for reaching out to connections and networking?

Networking is hard in the best of circumstances! Now that everything has moved virtually, it might seem even harder to get out there and meet people.

How you reach out really depends on the context and circumstances. For instance, if you see a role on LinkedIn, it might serve you well to call the job poster to express your interest over the phone. Or, for general networking opportunities you could consider joining a relevant industry association, and attending their online networking seminars or conferences. The Faculty of Business and Economics also offer a range of alumni events which give you exposure to like-minded young professionals, as well as more experienced senior business leaders from within the FBE community.

I would also suggest you get on Twitter and LinkedIn and regularly share content related to your career, or field of interest. Follow people you admire, and engage organically with their posts, content and followers. This can often lead to new contacts and job opportunities. Some will be more comfortable than others to do this, but from experience, people today are more open to engaging with strangers over the internet than they used to be, so you have a shifting trend to your advantage!

What do you think the most valuable skills for new graduates entering the workforce are?

There will be plenty of opportunities to build the skills needed to succeed in a new job while on the job, and most employers do not expect new graduates to hit the ground running. What employers do expect from new graduates is resilience, reliability and flexibility, now more so than ever, given the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Graduating in the current social and economic situation will be challenging. However, an optimistic, courageous and mature mindset will go a long way in securing and succeeding in that ever elusive graduate role. Here are my two cents to graduating students:

  • Find opportunities in the Pandemic: Whilst COVID-19 has bought some sectors such as travel and tourism to a screeching halt, it has placed huge demands on other sectors such as banking, telcos and supermarkets. I would encourage new graduates to apply for the temporary roles that have arisen due to the pandemic, particularly in the frontline. These roles, whilst tough, will give provide invaluable exposure to customers, which will be looked upon favorably by future employers. A frontline role will also give new graduates a foot in the door of the big banks, telcos and supermarket chains, in a time where employers are scaling back on hiring. Customers are the heartbeat of any business, and understanding the customer will serve new graduates well, no matter which functional area they eventually choose to specialize in.
  • Be brave and take risks, even if you are unsure about the outcomes. It is ok to fail. Failures are never final, and are useful life lessons about what works and what doesn’t work in the world.
  • Be flexible: Your first job probably will not be your dream job. Your second job might be even worse! Do not be afraid to regularly evaluate your decisions and change the course of your career multiple times over the next couple of years. It takes time to find a career you enjoy, and often you find you enjoy lots of different things at once.
  • Regularly ask yourself if you are happy and fulfilled at work: over the span of your career you will spend over 90,000 hours at work. This is a lot of time, and it is important to ensure you are doing work that makes you happy, and leaves this world in a better place. Where possible, chase fulfilment and impact over prestige, as your career is a marathon, not a sprint, and you are more likely to do well in a job you love.
  • Be discerning about who you approach for advice: ensure you seek career advice from people who will listen to your thought process, rather than push you into a decision. The world is changing rapidly, and accumulated wisdom from as little as a year ago might not apply today.
  • Develop an unyielding optimism: nothing in this world is definite. You must have faith that things will work in the end.

Your top tip for exam preparation?

  • Attempt past papers under mock exam conditions wherever possible
  • If past papers are not available, you could create own mock exam with friends to practice writing answers in exam conditions
  • Read your notes or text books on a given topic, and then summarise your learnings in a single page in writing

If you’d like to ask Aditi more about her experiences, connect with her on LinkedIn and mention you have read the Q&A.