Alumni Q&A - Melanie Alforque

Master of Management (2013), Bachelor of Arts (2011)

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?

As a student, I initially thought that I wanted to work in HR, so I applied for an HR internship at Shell, but ended up with a marketing internship instead. In my final year, I had to choose between a career in consulting vs. marketing and ultimately pursued a marketing graduate program at Mondelez because I’m passionate about food, love creative problem-solving and enjoy executing my ideas from start to finish. Seven years later, I work in marketing in the wine industry. I definitely think I made the right life decision all those years ago!

How have you adapted over the last few weeks? e.g. moving on-line, working from home, etc.

My fiancĂ©e and I moved into our new home in Mount Dandenong the month before isolation started. I’m extremely fortunate that working from home has been amazing and filled with fresh air, walks, runs, lots of gardening and looking after our chickens. I have a lot of work video calls but I miss seeing my team in person and being able to easily bounce ideas off people in the office. I also miss seeing my family and friends, which has been the most challenging part of this unique experience.

Have you learned anything about working flexibly/digitally that you were surprised by?

Switching to video calls over a teleconference call has been a game changer for me. Seeing people at home has created a more relaxed environment and I feel that I’ve gotten to know my team better. This experience has reinforced how caring and understanding people can be – no one cares if your kid runs into your video call screaming, no one cares if you’re not wearing make-up, no one cares if your dog starts barking in the middle of your presentation! I hope this sense of solidarity and community continues for as long as possible.

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

An old manager once told me, “Change is constant. The best thing you can do is embrace it and grow.” This still resonates with me today and is more relevant than ever. My advice to new graduates entering the workforce is to have a positive attitude towards change (I know this is difficult) and look for opportunities to grow. I’ve learnt the most in my career when I’ve embraced change and have been completely pushed outside of my comfort zone. Embracing change can be terrifying at first, but I promise it’s worth it.

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