Master of Finance 2019
Current role / company: Analyst at EM Advisory
Where in the world are you? Melbourne
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?
I will never forget the moment when I received the email with an offer letter to study the Master of Finance degree at the University of Melbourne. It was July 2017, and I was windsurfing with my friends in Greece. When I told everyone I’d been accepted, they were really excited for me, but everyone, including myself, assumed that in 3 years’ time we’ll be back together on beautiful Greek sand. Almost 4 years later, I’m here in Melbourne having the time of my life.
I graduated in December 2019, and I was lucky to be offered a permanent position at the boutique corporate advisory firm, EM Advisory. I met the founder of EMA, Natasha Mandie, while she was presenting on valuation to the cohort as a guest lecturer. It didn’t take long to understand that it would be a lesson that would challenge your confidence and provide insight into the real-life dilemmas faced by advisors. She explained to us the power of questions and curiosity, that makes people successful in the field. I was so inspired by her passion and brainpower, that I decided to give it a shot and ask if she was looking for interns. This is how I started interning at EMA one month later, and how I began my career as a corporate advisor for purpose-driven companies.
I wouldn’t say that when I started my master’s degree I knew that it was the role I always wanted to be in, but I knew I loved solving complex problems and continuously challenging myself. I realised that working in the corporate advisory and investment banking field, would give me all of that and more, guaranteeing no boredom along the way.
What is the best way to develop your CV while you’re at university?
Making the most out of it is definitely the way to go. I believe that experience you can gain outside the lecture hall, from student associations, pro-bono work to sport activities, teaches you skills that you would never learn from any book. The best way is to put yourself out there and start building your social networks around activities you’re truly passionate about.
During my two years at the University, I participated in countless social and professional activities; although, possibly my participation was slightly skewed towards the social ones! I was fortunate to lead the Melbourne Business School Student Association as a COO and work with a group of great people. I took part in the FBE Career Mentoring Program and the Global Business Practicum in Paris. I also played for the Melbourne University Soccer Club and represented UniMelb in alpine skiing at the National University Championships. I believe these types of experiences available at the University help to develop your narrative, which is ultimately what prospective employers are looking at.
Tell us about your experience of the Global Business Practicum during your studies.
Similar to the other extracurricular activities available at the University of Melbourne, GBP is an amazing opportunity to get professional experience, meet new people, and enrich your personal brand. I love travelling so I really valued the opportunity to go overseas, work in a different country and experience a new culture.
I worked for Transdev on a consulting project focused on planning tools. Considering my background in finance, the project wasn’t in my wheelhouse, so I had to leave my comfort zone and learn new skills from my colleagues and team-mates. Learning to draw from these new experiences and challenges to further your personal and professional development is what GBP is all about and what makes it so special.
What is your top tip for exam preparation?
Unfortunately, there is no substitute for hard work. My advice is to always capitalise on the available resources: lectures, tutorials and consultations. Avoid having to cram for exams by making sure you always understand the content as it’s delivered. Having a genuine interest makes a huge difference to your motivation and focus and really helps with your interactions with lecturers.
If you’d like to ask Kasia more about her experiences, connect with her on LinkedIn and mention you have read the Q&A.