Career insights with Bank of Melbourne

Bachelor of Commerce students share their 12-week internship experience with Bank of Melbourne.

January 2017 saw Bank of Melbourne (BoM) roll out its inaugural internship program in partnership with the University of Melbourne. Lewis Chow and Yanzi Han, in their penultimate year of the Bachelor of Commerce at the Faculty of Business and Economics, spent 8 weeks rotating through 12 different areas of the business to develop a holistic understanding of Bank of Melbourne's operations. Some of the areas they gained exposure to included Premium Banking, Private Banking, Asian & Migrant Banking, and Foreign Exchange Markets.

Aligning with its Asian and migrant banking strategy, the aim of the program was to help BoM achieve the following:

  • Increase the bank’s talent pool of highly capable bankers with an Asian heritage; and
  • Develop an Asia-capable workforce to attract, develop, deploy and retain.

“The experience surpassed my expectations,” Chow said. “In addition to our daily corporate tasks, we also had the opportunity to participate in a number of the bank's key events, meetings and client visits.” These included the official launch of its Chinatown branch, a Lunar New Year client banquet held at the National Gallery of Victoria, and assisting with Bank of Melbourne’s sponsored stall at the University of Melbourne’s Orientation Week.

I thoroughly enjoyed this internship – the experience has helped me develop as a young professional. Lewis Chow

Bank of Melbourne stall at UniMelb's Orientation Week. L-R: Daniella Cursioski, Tony Wang, Katy De Los Reyes, Lewis Chow, Yanzi Han,  Isabelle Layton, Chandler Liu

During their time there, students completed a valuable project to capture, analyse and map the language capabilities of the financial institution’s retail branch network. They conducted phone interviews with over 100 managers and retail staff across 63 branches, and collated results from online surveys to uncover front-line staff's insight and ideas. This information was crosschecked with the 2011 census data of suburb demographics. As a result, they were able to recommend and initiate tangible actions to drive acquisition and retention strategies for business growth.

The students’ findings included Bank of Melbourne boasting a diverse and growing team (63 branches with 453 employees) with strong language capabilities:

  • 39% spoke a foreign language
  • Total of 54 different foreign languages
  • 9 out of 10 branches have some foreign language capability

However, they also discovered that language skills are not always distributed in the right locations.

As a result of their findings, Chow and Han recommended the following improvements:

  • update multicultural branches
  • accurate mapping of multilingual staff
  • develop staff capabilities
  • streamline support system

In addition, they suggested the following promotional strategies:

  • introduce branch signage
  • increase targeted marketing

My experience at Bank of Melbourne has taught me that it is equally important to both 'talk the talk' and 'walk the walk'. Yanzi Han

L-R: Irene Yu, Lewis Chow, Sam Matarazzo, Qin Hang, Jonathan Ayres, Scott Bissett, Yanzi Han, Darin Roy, Stefania Buzzanca, June Anderson

To conclude their internship, Chow and Han presented to Scott Tanner, BoM Chief Executive and University of Melbourne alumnus (MBA, Melbourne Business School, 1990), as well as the executive team. The group were impressed with the level of professionalism and maturity demonstrated by the students during their internship, and praised their outstanding delivery during the final presentation.

When asked about how this experience has prepared them for life in the workplace, Chow talked about the immersive learning from day one, and particularly appreciated the opportunity to present their recommendations. “It helped me gain confidence in presenting to major stakeholders – a crucial skill to develop,” he said. “Working on a real-world project at Bank of Melbourne has certainly helped prepare me for my future career.”

Faculty of Business and Economics students have access to a wide range of enrichment activities. Visit us online to learn more about our internships.

Find out more about hosting an internship.