Doris Wu: on running the career marathon

By Seth Robinson

Doris Wu graduated from the Master of Finance in 2016. Now, she works as an Analyst at Culture Amp, a Melbourne startup that’s gone global.

Doris completed her undergraduate studies at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics. When it came time for her to look at options for postgraduate study, she decided she wanted to go overseas, initially looking at options in both Australia and the United States.

“I decided on Australia, because I liked the culture and the attitudes of the people. I spoke with friends, who had experience of studying at Melbourne University and living in the city. The people I knew described it to me as a place where there were lots of people from all different walks of life and cultural backgrounds, where everyone was open minded and there were discussions happening everywhere. I’m happy to say that ended up being my experience as well, I got to meet all sorts of people, and made all of these connections that have stayed with me into my career, both professional, and as friends.”

Doris came to study the Master of Finance, a course that built upon her undergraduate studies in accounting and business management. For Doris, one of the biggest takeaways was the contrast in teaching styles.

“Coming to Melbourne was very different to my undergraduate studies in China, where it was more focused on textbook learning and studying for exams. In Melbourne, it involved a lot of group discussion, coupled with assignments and presentations.

Dan Wu
Doris Wu.

It was a very different structure, that made me engage with the subject more deeply.  I think it also offered the opportunity to develop some really important soft skills.”

After graduating, Doris went on to work with Lion – one of Australia’s largest food and beverage companies – before joining Culture Amp, a Melbourne startup that has now gone global. They deliver digital options to build employee engagement and connection.

“I joined Lion as part of their graduate program, which was a fantastic opportunity, because it gave me the opportunity to work in a variety of roles, and gain experience across a variety of functions,” she says. “But the thing with Lion was that they were already a very established business, they already had their processes and structures in place. When the opportunity came for me to join Culture Amp, I realised it was an opportunity to see a business grow and be part of that evolution. That was definitely what I wanted. That comes with its own challenges, as new problems emerge you might be solving it from scratch, rather than having a framework to fall back on, but it also means there’s room to learn and experiment. It’s made me realise where my interests lie, for example, I’ve become incredibly interested in technology, and can see myself working in that space in the future.”

Doris has also remained connected to the University of Melbourne alumni community.

“I attended lots of alumni events after my graduation. It helped me build connections with people who were already in the workforce and maintain my friendships from university. Now, I’m actively trying to maintain that connection, by joining the alumni association and helping with those events.”

Along with joining those alumni communities, Doris recommends new graduates take a flexible approach to their careers.

“Here in Australia, there’s a really high tolerance to change in your careers. I think it’s really easy for graduates to feel like they have to ‘jump’ into a role, and then that’s it, forever. But the truth is, your career is a marathon. You can expect to change courses along the way, and that’s a good thing. Allow your interests to sway you, and it will open doors.”