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Transforming finance at Macquarie - Dean Dunlea and Priti Mehta’s stories

Macquarie’s Finance team is currently undergoing a major transformation. Two members of the Finance Projects and Change team, Dean Dunlea and Priti Mehta, talk about their roles as Business Analysts and shed some light on the different projects in which they’ve been involved.

 

A global perspective

Dean Dunlea, a Senior Manager and Business Analyst in the Finance Projects and Change team, says he enjoys the variety that comes from working at Macquarie.

“One of the best things about my job is that there is no average day,” he explains.

Dean started his career as a consultant in his home country, Ireland, having completed a degree in Business Information Systems followed by a Masters in Corporate Finance. He then worked in banking in London before travelling to Australia.

On his first day in Sydney, Dean walked past a Macquarie building and remembered a colleague in Dublin telling him to look for jobs at Macquarie. Within a week he’d applied for a Business Analyst role, which he started in November 2018.

“There are so many different types of Business Analysts, from regulatory to procedural, tech or systems, but this Business Analyst role was unique because it was a project in itself,” Dean says.

Dean was the lead Business Analyst on a project to automate EMEA regulatory reporting to reduce manual work. As the only Business Analyst in Sydney working on the project, he took ownership by developing a strategic solution which produced fast, complete and accurate data for the reporting team.

“It was a global project, working across time zones and countries with colleagues in Macquarie’s EMEA offices as well as colleagues in Jacksonville in the US and Gurugram in India, and that was also exciting,” Dean says.

The project took two and a half years to complete.

“As a consultant, you usually move around so you never get to fully complete a project, but I actually got to finish and hand off this project, which was a great feeling,” Dean says.

 

A growth mindset

Dean then moved to establishing the requirements for a project to rebuild and create efficiencies for liquidity reporting, giving him exposure to different products and areas of the business.

“Each project brings its own unique complexities,” Dean says. “From building rapport with teams in different global locations to sourcing data for new regulatory reports and regulations, you need to be adaptable.”

Dean says that a key part of his role is breaking down disconnected thinking and communicating effectively with stakeholders.

“We come in to solve problems and create systematic solutions, but we need to work closely with the business to understand what they want from it,” Dean says. “The inclination can be to jump into solution mode without fully dissecting the problem, this often leads to weak solutions. We need to consult everyone – the business, system architects, the developers, etc. – and analyse the risks and benefits before implementing changes.”

 

An atmosphere of challenge

“Macquarie puts a lot of trust in its staff and if you want a challenge, it’s always there,” Dean says.

“I can’t believe the growth, resilience and mindset changes I’ve experienced over the three years I’ve worked here,” Dean says. “I was recently promoted to Senior Manager and have been given the chance to achieve goals that I thought may have to wait until far later in my career.”

Dean says Macquarie seeks to recognise the current and potential skills of an individual, which creates a level playing field. He’s also been encouraged to expand his skillset by completing a Business Analyst course and volunteering his time to not-for-profit organisations to give back to the community.

“Some of these opportunities may not visibly benefit my day job but they help indirectly by developing my skills and giving me a different perspective,” Dean explains.  

“Macquarie is very open to career development and career mobility and there are continually new possibilities,” he says.

 

An opportunity to grow

Priti Mehta joined Macquarie’s Finance Projects and Change team in January 2020. She studied an MBA in Finance and a Masters in Economics and brought a wealth of international experience to the role, having spent more than 13 years working in risk management and regulatory reporting for consultancies and financial services across India, the US and Singapore.

In late 2019, Priti’s family decided to move to Australia and took a holiday to explore Sydney. When she returned home, Priti saw a role advertised for a Manager in Macquarie’s Finance Projects and Change team and thought it looked like the perfect fit.

“Everything fell into line to speed up our move to Australia,” Priti says. “The role at Macquarie was a challenging learning opportunity. It had a regulatory reporting focus and I’d get to interact with other teams to gain an understanding of Macquarie and see the breadth of the retail banking and commodities and global markets businesses.”

Eighteen months later, Priti says she has found the journey exciting. She has developed knowledge across different groups and teams, has enjoyed visibility to leadership and has been given opportunities to grow and excel.

 

Leading capital framework reforms

Priti initially worked on an economic and financial statistics project, before joining a project to understand and implement the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority’s (APRA) proposed capital framework changes in late 2020.

“APRA’s proposed capital framework reforms need compliance by January 2023,” Priti explains. “I’m leading the requirement stream of work.”

“We are currently in the discovery phase, understanding and interpreting the changes, doing a comparison to the existing framework, and holding brainstorming sessions with subject matter experts across the wider business.”

“We are looking at what needs to be done, how we can do it, and the impacts it will have. Everything from costs to compliance, to system or policy changes or what data sources may be required.”

Teamwork is a vital component of this work, according to Priti.

“I’m one of many Business Analysts working on this project,” she explains. “I work on my own to undertake some of the analysis. But I also work collaboratively, matching the right people to the right requirements for the planning, design, implementation and delivery.”

 

Motivated by the challenge

A typical day for Priti involves not only project work, but also people management and working alongside the project manager to prioritise tasks.

“I’ve personally gained much exposure to a range of work, been able to collaborate with different parts of the business, and discover new things daily,” Priti says. “I’m motivated by the challenge, the support, the visibility and opportunities for learning, and the leadership.”

“The leadership at Macquarie are very approachable,” she says. “They are supportive, and empower you to be curious and take ownership of the work, which in turn creates a dynamic, enriching culture.” 

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