“A lot of people think they need to study commerce or finance to work in financial services, but there’s no ‘right degree’,” says Arjun Bhuyan who has a mechanical engineering degree and joined Macquarie Asset Management’s Graduate Program in 2021. “Macquarie employs people from a range of backgrounds, and that diversity matters when it comes to collaboration and having a range of perspectives.”
Arjun Bhuyan says that studying a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering was a logical choice even though he wasn’t certain what he would do once he finished his degree.
“I enjoyed the foundational aspects of engineering, the maths and science, and had an interest in mechanics,” Arjun explains. “But I didn’t choose engineering with a career in mind.”
Arjun completed a mechanical engineering internship with a public sector organisation - an experience which he said helped clarify what he wanted to do with his degree, to pursue a role in a fast-paced environment where he could become involved in the bigger picture.
Arjun’s parents had both studied engineering but ended up in financial services careers. Inspired by their experience, he applied to Macquarie’s Graduate Program, joining Macquarie Asset Management in 2021 as a Business Analyst.
“A lot of people think they need to study commerce or finance to work in financial services, but there’s no ‘right degree’,” Arjun says. “Macquarie employs people from a range of backgrounds, and that diversity matters when it comes to collaboration and having a range of perspectives.”
Arjun says he chose Macquarie because of its reputation for attracting the best people and offering them challenging work from the outset.
“The asset management business of Macquarie stood out because it gave me the opportunity to use my engineering knowledge, in a space I was really interested in, while still experiencing the fast pace of working on transactions. It seemed like the perfect environment and I knew I’d learn a lot”.
During his interview, Arjun discovered that aircraft were a part of the Macquarie Asset Management portfolio, and as it was one of his passions, he was excited to learn more about this.
“It felt like a two-way interview,” Arjun says. “I learned as much about Macquarie’s business and culture as they did about me.”
Arjun says the skills he gained through an engineering degree translated well to financial services and asset management, and his experience so far has proved that expertise can be developed on the job.
“Technical aptitude can be developed on the job, so it is helpful but not a must-have,” he explains. “Curiosity and problem solving are valuable skills and are often a better marker of future success on the job.”
Arjun has spent his graduate year within the Asset Finance team, focusing on a range of transactions in the transport space, as well as research and data analysis to support Macquarie’s existing portfolio of assets.
“The work we do has a significant impact on our portfolio companies and their customers,” Arjun says. “Our commercial aircraft are used by airlines around the world to keep people connected, and we also have emergency service helicopters that provide critical services to people in need.”
“We look at how our companies are performing and are continually exploring new opportunities to expand our business. It’s great to be given responsibility for work that contributes directly to the transaction. We have to be selective in choosing the best deal for investors, using reasoning and logical thinking” to balance risk and reward.
Arjun has had to learn finance terminology and financial modelling and believes being afforded a holistic view of the work his team does has accelerated his knowledge and sense of contribution.
“Even as a junior member of the team you’re always involved in the ‘why’ and aware of the bigger picture, and your opinion is heard,” Arjun says. “I’ve never felt I can't ask a question and that speaks to Macquarie’s culture as a whole: questions are welcomed and we work collaboratively, side-by-side with senior staff.”
Arjun’s team interacts with other areas of Macquarie including the Risk Management Group, Financial Management Group and other teams within Macquarie Asset Management.
“There’s no typical day,” Arjun says. “It’s fast paced and challenging”.
“The work we undertake on transactions goes to senior leaders. It’s exciting that a small piece of work impacts a lot of people.”
Arjun explains that consideration of environmental, social and governance factors is a major focus across Macquarie and says he has worked on sustainability initiatives in the sector.
“Macquarie is always looking ahead,” Arjun says. “We take pride in our current assets but are always exploring new opportunities to better serve the community.”
The pandemic has fast-tracked hybrid and flexible working, and Arjun has spent much of his first year working from home through the Sydney lockdown.
“In your first year as a Grad, the one thing you do know is that there are a lot of things you don’t know,” Arjun says. “But there is so much support, great tech and my team have been excellent communicators.”
Arjun says the Graduate Program offers valuable opportunities to connect with other grads, create a network and learn about the other parts of Macquarie’s business.
“The learning and development opportunities - both professional and personal - were a real incentive to join Macquarie,” Arjun says. “It shows that Macquarie is invested in our development and wants us to grow as people, as well as in a role.”
“There are so many things you can do within one role, and endless possibilities in terms of where it may lead through the connections and skills you gain.”
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