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How very different career paths led to the same team at Macquarie - Tahlee Stone and Angel Teng’s stories

Tahlee Stone and Angel Teng are both Quantitative Modellers in Macquarie’s retail banking Treasury team. Despite their titles, their career paths towards a role at Macquarie, are very different.

 

There is a lot of innovation taking place within Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Treasury team and Quantitative Modellers Tahlee Stone and Angel Teng are an integral part of it. Tahlee was previously a research economist at a central bank while Angel’s background is as an actuary in the insurance industry.  

 

A focus on career development

After completing a Bachelor of Economics, Tahlee Stone pursued her interest in econometrics, spending three years as a research economist at the Reserve Bank of Australia. There, she was responsible for analysing market behaviour data across a broad range of areas from the housing and labour markets, to the supply of counterfeit banknotes. She then returned to her hometown of Newcastle, where she strengthened her modelling skills with a role that involved optimising supply chain networks for logistics and mining.

Two years later, in 2019, Tahlee jumped at the chance to join Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services Treasury team as a Quantitative Modeller.

“Having a financial economics background, I’d always been aware of Macquarie, and knew of its innovative approach to investment and banking,” Tahlee says. “I also wanted to work for a large organisation and was drawn to the broad type of opportunities that Macquarie offered.”

 

Testing for stress

Tahlee used her coding and analytics experience from her previous roles to help run the Treasury team’s credit risk models for capital and provisioning, analyse scorecards and contribute to new model rebuilds.

The following year when COVID-19 took hold, Tahlee transitioned into the stress testing area of Treasury. Here, her team saw their hypothetical modelling of one-in-100-year economic crises put into practice.

“For stress testing, we run scenario analysis to check the resilience of Macquarie’s balance sheet in the face of large economic stresses,” Tahlee explains.

“We engage different internal teams and Senior Management with our results, before reporting back to regulators.”

“Conducting this modelling during a global pandemic was particularly interesting. We derived insights during this time that directly helped inform Macquarie’s credit risk management of COVID.”

“More recently, I’ve also been involved in a project looking at the relatively new area of climate risk, using stress test models to examine the potential financial impacts of climate change on households and businesses.”

While Tahlee’s role as an Associate Manager is very hands-on, she also focuses on driving various initiatives, coordinating internal teams and meeting with stakeholders. She is actively involved in mentoring other employees and assists in running a monthly technical learning and development program for the broader Banking and Financial Services team.

 

Flexible opportunities

One aspect of Macquarie that Tahlee really enjoys is that she hasn’t had to sacrifice her hometown lifestyle. She works from Newcastle three days a week and commutes to Macquarie’s Barangaroo offices for the other two, which provides her with the flexibility she enjoys.

“I experience the best of both worlds with this work-life balance,” Tahlee says. “My team feels like an in-house consultancy, and I enjoy the fast-moving and intellectually stimulating environment as we collaborate to find ways to use our models to help the Banking and Financial Services team.”

“The challenges are also the rewards,” Tahlee says, highlighting the interdependencies and variety of the work.

“I’ve been at Macquarie almost two years, but have worked across a number of topic areas, my team has doubled, and there are plenty of other positions and work to transition into or scope for my role to continue to grow. The opportunities are exciting.”

“There are clear conversations about career development and the onus is on you to own and drive your career. It presents many new experiences.”

 

Variety and a supportive culture

Angel Teng studied for a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science in Actuarial Science and Statistics. Upon graduation, she started her career as a predictive modeller for an analytics consulting firm, where she utilised her modelling skills to solve real life business problems. She then worked as an Actuary in the insurance industry for four years, before joining Macquarie in 2021 as a Quantitative Modeller for Banking and Financial Services Treasury - a move she believed would help develop her technical skills while exploring another side of the financial industry.

“Macquarie is a strong player in banking, and I wanted to find out more about why it’s so successful as well as explore my career options in banking,” Angel explains.

But Angel also says that what she’d heard about Macquarie’s young, inclusive and energetic culture gave her the courage to make the leap into this new role.

“I can’t believe how supportive the culture of the team is. People are motivated, encouraging and really take the time to answer questions and give you context of what we’re working to achieve.”

Angel’s position involves undertaking mathematical, statistical and financial analysis to help Macquarie make more informed decisions in a wide range of business problems, including strategies, provision valuation and risk management.

“The Treasury team has a big umbrella so I’m working with a wide range of people with different backgrounds, skills and expertise. Through this, I can learn about what is happening in areas like liquidity, funding, interest rate risk, provisioning and capital.”

Beyond this, Angel also enjoys the formal learning opportunities that Macquarie offers – such as team-led monthly technical training and development sessions and the wide range of online training programs.

 

Every number has a story behind it

“In just six months my role in the modelling team has already diversified,” Angel explains. “I’m currently doing modelling for credit risk. This involves collating historical data, monitoring portfolio performance, building the model and applying business judgement to adjust for potential risks not captured in historical experience.”

As an Associate Manager, she has been provided the opportunity to embrace more responsibility by becoming involved in a project focusing on liquidity.

While her job involves a vast amount of numerical skill, model design and analysis it also requires strong communication and problem-solving skills.

“The job title might sound like I’m hiding behind a screen but the reality is it’s more collaborative, dealing with external and internal stakeholders across data, finance, product and treasury teams,” Angel says.

“Every number has a story behind it: it’s not a number on its own, it’s linked to the real world.”

“Every single one of our customers also has a backstory, contributing to why they need a loan or other financial product. So, it’s about trying to understand the behaviours that create numbers and putting the right strategies in place.”

 

Continual improvement

Angel says her team is always working to innovate and improve credit risk modelling.

“We always ask ourselves, ‘how can we do it better?’ We are always reviewing, analysing and improving our work alongside the functionality, by trying to automate processes.”

“Every day is very different, which is both exciting and a challenge.”

Angel appreciates Macquarie’s strong emphasis on work-life balance and enjoys the social aspect of her team which includes regular coffee chats, events and group catch-ups.

She also loves being involved in the Giving Employee Network Group, which empowers employees to give back with fundraising and volunteering, and values Macquarie’s support of its staff to explore different opportunities available to them.

“If you speak out, there are opportunities for you to take on different work, I can see how I might be able to move across different functions, or collaborate with different people,” says Angel. “I enjoy the constant learning.” 

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