I’m Sophie. I completed the National Graduate Program in the data analytics stream.
I completed a Bachelor of Science, majoring in microbiology and minoring in Korean Studies.Graduating with a science degree, I thought research and lab work would be the rest of my life. I didn’t even know graduate programs were a thing and I didn’t think my degree would be relevant. But what the employers look for are your skills and willingness to learn, not necessarily the degree you have. So with my degree I was able to enter into the data analytics stream of the National Graduate Program.
The best thing about the program for me was the networking. I have excellent connections with people from my grad year, other grad years and also with senior executives.
The graduate network extends far beyond your year group. I’m fortunate to work with a team that has many past grads, including directors who went through the program. The support and encouragement that they provide, really helped me to adjust to the new job. I knew they understood what it was like to be in my position. And I knew they didn’t mind that I had to ask what an acronym meant 20 times a day.
I grew up in a small town on the south coast of New South Wales. I moved to Sydney for uni and then to Canberra for the grad program. It can be hard to move interstate by yourself.
But the instant support network that the grad program provided made the move a lot smoother and successful. I really appreciated the support from the grad team during the moving process. And the support from other grads and my new colleagues was better than I could have ever expected. Without them I don’t think I would have adjusted to my new life and workplace as fast as I have.
I also received great support from senior executives. As a grad, I didn’t expect to have much interaction with people at the senior executive level. I was surprised to find that my National and General Managers are very present. They’re always checking in with the staff. And my mentor has helped me create a career plan and answer all of my questions.
Something that’s important to me when I come to work is to know that I’m making a positive difference. My team’s main goal is to make sure the right people receive the right amount at the right time. We improve the processes for working with our customers, focusing on helping customers learn how to report properly. We also help resolve compliance issues that arise from customers making mistakes.
My main role in my team is creating and updating documents to track the team’s performance throughout the year. But I also get to do a large variety of ad hoc tasks, keeping things interesting. I update statistics on our achievements and look into how we can improve our work with different business areas. I help draft answers to questions from Senate Estimates or the Ombudsman about our processes and results.
My advice to potential applicants is to give it a go and always be on the lookout for new opportunities. I didn’t know whether the grad program was going to be right for me, but I’m glad I applied.