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Claire Fan: Fast tracking a career in tech

Claire Fan combines working in Macquarie’s technology team with her study. She says it’s the forward-thinking environment that first attracted her to Macquarie and the opportunities that make her stay.


Claire Fan fast tracked her career into tech by working part-time at Macquarie while she studies for a Bachelor of Commerce and Computer Science at UNSW Sydney.

She applied to join Macquarie as a junior staff member after completing year 12. While in the second half of her first year at university, she commenced a six-month full-time cadetship.


The social impact of tech

Claire's interest in tech was piqued when she became involved in robotics at high school.

“I wanted to try using technology to build different things and see their effect in the real world,” Claire explains.

She attended a National Youth Science Forum camp, where she was able to explore possible STEM careers in computer science.

“I was always into maths and computers, but my experiences on the camp really opened my eyes to the opportunities of technology,” Claire says. “We visited a centre for robotics and saw artificial intelligence (AI) being used to help with social issues like understaffed hospitals.”

“Seeing this social impact inspired me and made me determined to pursue a career in tech.”


An innovative approach

When Claire attended her interview at Macquarie, she quickly discovered synergies between the organisation’s ethos and her own interests.

“Macquarie interested me because although it offers banking products, they have few physical branches,” Claire explains.

To see Macquarie put digital innovation at the core of its operations made me realise it would be a forward-thinking environment to work in."

Claire was also engaged by the emphasis on social impact and diversity.

“I saw this diversity play out in both the makeup of the teams, but also in the way Macquarie can adapt its portfolio depending on the economic climate,” she explains.

“I also realised there would be many opportunities at Macquarie to try something new and to work within teams that were given strong accountability.”


Experiencing different sides of tech

Claire joined Macquarie in late 2019, working with the Workplace Business Management team.

“The work I did was around tech and development related to risk reporting, head counts and driving compliance across the workplace teams,” Claire says.

After 11 months, she wanted to expand her experience with the front end of tech and expressed an interest in joining the Enterprise Technology Workplace team working on digital applications.

“There was a lot of support for that internal mobility, which was amazing,” says Claire. “I have now been able to also experience the development side, working on internal digital staff apps.”

Right now, Claire works two days a week to accommodate her study.

“A lot of my day is spent coding, but we have a daily stand-up meeting, briefings, and regular catch ups with our team’s business analyst about app projects or any issues,” Claire says.

Claire is also involved in broader team/UX (User Experience) or UI (User Interface) design feedback sessions and is looking forward to exploring other areas of tech at Macquarie. This includes a planned rotation to Human Centred Design, ahead of her graduation in 2023.

Open conversations

Claire says one of the things she enjoys about working in tech at Macquarie is the culture that encouraged her to challenge herself and contribute meaningfully from day one.

“You can propose an idea and people will give feedback right away. There’s an atmosphere of continuous improvement and open conversations.”

“In my previous team, my manager gave me the opportunity to run a weekly risk meeting and do some public speaking events to help grow my confidence,” Claire says.

She also likes the fact that Macquarie is open to new ideas and that there is no resistance to adopting new ways of working.

“The current framework we are working with, Flutter, was a very new player in front end framework when I started working on it for my team,” Claire explains.

Claire was asked to explore the framework and formally share her learnings with the wider team, with support from Women In Tech, one of Macquarie’s Employee Network Groups which aims to empower people to invest for a better future by advancing the growth of gender diversity in Technology.

“It was being used for a big and challenging project that gave me a great opportunity to learn about the whole stack of tech, develop and apply new skills,” she says.


A different perspective

Claire says gaining hands-on experience at Macquarie alongside her studies has been invaluable, and while switching between work and study has had its challenges, her team has always been encouraging.

“As a junior team member, my managers have been really patient with me learning new skills, and the team has helped me with tasks and questions about the job and the professional environment,” Claire says.

“My teams have been super accommodating of my studies and flexible with shifting schedules, which has really helped me juggle it.”

Claire explains that this flexibility has been instrumental in helping her gain the sort of hands-on experience that helps reinforce what she learns at university and to give it meaning.

While university has a practical component, in the workplace we’re considering the end user, so it provides a different perspective. I get to see the human side of tech, through user feedback."

Claire also says that working at Macquarie showed her that the real world of tech is forever changing, from coding languages to corporate structures.

“In a workplace, you need to see the bigger picture, collaborate with stakeholders outside your team, and understand the business objectives and real-life ramifications,” Claire says.

“My time at Macquarie has helped me develop a continuous learning mindset, alongside persistence and resilience.”

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