The Sum of our Parts

By Seth Robinson

As children, most of us wanted to be movie stars and secret agents, firefighters and astronauts. As time goes by, we change. We consider careers as journalists and marketers, bankers and management consultants. But when is the moment we make that choice, and what does it take to make an informed decision? For Bachelor of Commerce student Tina Tian, it was the industry experience she gained from internships and the Management consulting subject that set her course.

Tina and her family immigrated to Australia from China when she was eight. From then on, she was a Melburnian, growing up and going to school here, and eventually attending the University of Melbourne. She majored in Finance and Marketing, a choice of majors that opened up her options, “but I was always better at numbers,” she says. In that time, Tina went on exchange to study in Boston and immersed herself in the uni curriculum, but ultimately, it was her Work Integrated Learning (WIL) experiences that set her on course for life after uni.

Tina
- Tina Tian

“Originally, I was really interested in doing Global Management Consulting, but being on exchange meant I missed the onboarding process. It was kind of a blessing in disguise, because I enrolled in the Management Consulting program, and I got a huge amount out of that. It allowed me to develop some really in-depth skills and begin building a local network. I also think it’s really valuable being able to have the experience in a place where you have your support networks already established. It’s really challenging, and those supports stop it from becoming too stressful.

Tina’s Management Consulting group was partnered with UBS Australia, a pairing that gave her some insight into the financial services industry.

“I’m glad we worked at UBS, because it gave me a chance to find out what investment banking is really like. I think there’s a major disparity between the realities of banking and how people perceive it, it’s that way for a lot of industries. We got a chance to develop an understanding of their culture, to see the kinds of backgrounds that people come from and learn how to operate in the kind of high-pressure environment.”

In addition to going on exchange, and enrolling in the Management Consulting subject, Tina also undertook an internship with Deloitte Digital, where she has now secured a graduate role in their optimization team, beginning in July.

“I initially did a two-day program with Deloitte in 2016. As part of that, we had a woman come and speak to us about personal branding. She was from the customer team, which was largely strategy, marketing, and digital. I pulled her aside afterwards and said hello, and that I was interested in pursuing something in marketing. It sounded like a lot of what she did was coding, but I don’t know how to code so I wanted to find out what the options are. She suggested I look at the customer behaviour team, which is more marketing based, with less involvement in coding.”

The idea stuck with Tina; that her overall experience was something different to the parts she had studied so far. When it came time to undertake her internship with Deloitte, the roles had changed. She added an array of new skills to those she had gained through university, a collection she’s brought together into a future graduate role very different to anything she imagined.

“By the time I did my internship, the ‘customer behaviour team’ had become ‘digital optimisation’. A lot of that team was about metrics and analytics, which can then feed into design. It’s lucky, my dad worked in IT, so I think some of that had distilled into my genes. I was introduced to the fundamentals of Python – a system of coding – and I really liked it. That was the beginning of a varied experience, I dived in and learned a lot, while also being exposed to other streams, from UX design to strategy. I always wanted a job that would continually teach me new things. I think that’s one of the most important things in life, that’s what we’re here to do.”