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Samadhi Pelenda: From Intern to Graduate Analyst with Macquarie Capital

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“As a graduate at Macquarie, you don’t need to have the exact experience for your role already. But you do need to be confident in your ability to learn and willingness to try everything,” says Samadhi Pelenda who joined Macquarie’s Graduate Program in 2021 as an Analyst in Macquarie Capital’s Financial Institutions Group.

 

In 2021, Samadhi Pelenda completed her first year working as an Analyst for Macquarie Capital, as part of Macquarie’s Graduate Program. 

“My degree is uncommon for a finance career,” Samadhi says. “I followed my interests in legal studies, languages and current affairs into a combined Bachelor of Law and Bachelor of International and Global Studies.”

Samadhi had thought she would pursue a career in the public sector, but when she took an internship in the finance department of a public sector organisation, she says it proved to be a defining experience for a very different reason. 

“I discovered I really enjoyed the quantitative elements of the work I was exposed to,” she explains. 

Samadhi’s friends suggested she apply to Macquarie and, in 2019, she joined Macquarie Capital’s Winter Development Program on a three-week internship that was open to STEM students, as well as female students from any degree.

“Having not studied finance, I didn’t have high expectations, but Macquarie saw my potential, rather than what I already knew,” Samadhi says.  

 

Embracing finance and infrastructure

Samadhi first worked for Macquarie Capital's Infrastructure team. 

“Infrastructure deals go for a significant period of time, so the Winter Development Program gave me a taste of the work while allowing me to get to know the people and how the teams within Macquarie Capital operate,” she says. 

“I discovered Macquarie was a great fit and ticked all my career boxes.”

At the end of 2019, Samadhi then returned to the same team for a three-month summer internship. 

“The summer internship gave me a deeper understanding of the work and allowed me to get involved in the strategic considerations of a deal as well as the quantitative side,” Samadhi explains. “I learned a lot and acquired soft skills that continue to be useful today.”

Samadhi says that completing both winter and summer internships with Macquarie Capital set her up to hit the ground running when, in 2021, she accepted a role as an Analyst on the Graduate Program in Macquarie Capital’s Financial Institutions Group. The challenge was that the team and responsibilities were very different, which took a little adjusting.

“In the Financial Institutions Group, the work is significantly different to Infrastructure,” Samadhi says. “There is also a lot more responsibility as a graduate because you’re treated as a full-time analyst from day one. But there is plenty of support and everyone was happy to teach me everything I needed to know.” 

She also says that the training and mentoring built into the Graduate Program has helped fill any gaps in her finance knowledge. 

 

A flexible approach

The Financial Institutions Group team is a relatively small team which means everyone, including Samadhi, needs to be across all the work that is happening. 

“I split my time across calls, financial modelling, pitches or client updates.” Samadhi says. 

In her graduate year, Samadhi worked on the acquisition of a US-based fund manager for one of Australia’s largest listed Australian fund managers as part of their global expansion. 

“I was focused on the investor presentation and the process that supported Macquarie’s underwriting process. It was exciting helping on the disclosures for a publicly listed company and rewarding to see it in the news.” 

“I love being in a client-facing role and getting to take ownership of different aspects of the work,” Samadhi says. “I get to be involved in everything - from the modelling and preparing presentations to being a facilitator and point of contact through the transaction process and making sure it runs smoothly.”  

“Right now, I'm playing a project management role on the sell-side for another deal, so I’m liaising with the client, facilitating the Q+A process and preparing strategic presentations.”

Samadhi says a new challenge was introduced in the second half of 2021 when Sydney endured a four-month lockdown. However, her team embraced hybrid working.

“It’s always easier to ask questions in person, but the benefits of flexible working are fantastic.”

 

Diverse opportunities

Samadhi says she was surprised by the variety of the work available within Macquarie Capital. 

“With the deals my team works on there are so many nuances, ranging from who the client is, to the deal structure or how it’s financed,” she explains. “The end result is that you’re always learning because no two transactions are ever the same.” 

Samadhi enjoys the social and professional networks she has established with other interns and grads; alongside the opportunities she’s had to interact with CFOs and CEOs at such an early stage in her career.

“Macquarie embraces diversity in all its forms, from gender to culture, race and sexuality,” Samadhi explains. “But the organisation is also good at hiring different personalities, which leads to real diversity of thought and makes it an interesting place to be.”

She describes the investment Macquarie makes in its people’s careers as “phenomenal”.

“As a grad at Macquarie you don’t need to have the exact experience for your role already, but you do need to be confident in your ability to learn and willingness to try everything.”

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