Alumni Q&A - Maria-Teresa Sagaria

Master of Management (Marketing)(2014), Bachelor of Arts (2012)

· Current role/company:  Accenture Interactive - Management Consulting Manager

· 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?

During my Master of Management (Marketing) degree, I completed a subject 'Global Business Practicum' whereby I was given the opportunity to travel to Hong Kong to conduct a consulting project for a global logistics company. I remember feeling so out of my depth but I learnt so much in such a short time, working with colleagues from MBS from different disciplines and thought to myself, I want to do this as a career! I've now been at Accenture for five and a half years and have been fortunate enough to work across multiple industries with large global clients as well as some of Australia's most loved companies, consulting on improving digital marketing experiences, global marketing operating processes, product/portfolio management and marketing strategy.

· 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?

I've been working from home for about ten weeks now - and to be honest, I absolutely love it. Accenture and the client I work for were already established in flexible working and were set up for remote working through software like Microsoft Teams, so the transition has been very smooth. 

The biggest take away for me, has been that the somewhat 'stigma' of working from home, correlates to being less productive, is completely flawed and has really allowed for true flexibility for those who need it. Many colleagues are juggling home-schooling and other commitments, and it has really emphasized that when you empower your team mates and colleagues with the true flexibility that they require, in the shape and form that suits them, the outputs are actually superior and morale is higher. 

I think it is really important to develop a routine that suits you and to enjoy the opportunities that it has created. It can be really easy to fall into the trap of feeling chained to your desk for 10 hours in back to back meetings, so I have found creating little rituals have helped me with the adjustment i.e. virtual coffee catch ups in the morning, blocking out 30 mins for lunch and time for a walk. I have also created a specific space where I work for the day. When I finish work for the day, I shut my laptop and turn my work phone off. This has helped me compartmentalise my 'working' space and my 'living' space.

· Why do you think university alumni communities are important?

I do have to preface that my university days were some of the greatest years of my life - the friends I made in my Masters and also in my undergraduate at Melbourne, are some of my best friends, and confidants. We guide and support each other not only professionally but personally too.

We are so fortunate to have studied with some of the world's smartest individuals, and the network we create for ourselves is invaluable. There have been many occasions where friends have asked for an interview, and without a doubt, there will be a colleague that I've been able to connect them with from our MBS days.

· What is your top tip for exam preparation?

I am a very structured person, so I thrive when I feel in control with my plan. I liked to break the subject material into chunks throughout the day, with a playback at the end of the day to reiterate my leanings to test myself. 

I also was a huge fan of study groups and collaboration - sharing learnings with colleagues, and testing each-other really helped me.

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