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Sandra Ma: Exploring a technology career in finance on Macquarie’s Graduate Program

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Sandra Ma had already completed an internship with Macquarie’s Technology team before joining the Graduate Program in 2021. A Bachelor of Commerce and Information Systems graduate, she chose Macquarie for its balance of career and personal growth, as well as the opportunity it gives her to pursue a technology career within a finance environment.


Sandra Ma originally enrolled in a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Law. However, when she took an additional subject in Information Systems, she found that she liked it even more than some of the core subjects that were part of her degree. 

“I enjoyed the collaborative, team approach to working on Information Systems subjects as the projects provided me with opportunities to collaborate with diverse teams, and solve real problems with technology,” Sandra says. 

This discovery precipitated a switch to a Bachelor of Commerce and Information Systems, where she then combined her studies with internships at consultancies in Singapore, Bangkok and Sydney. 

In 2019, Sandra met a Macquarie recruiter and discovered more about the organisation’s culture and the various technology roles available in a finance-related environment. She decided that joining Macquarie’s internship program would offer her the right balance.

“I could see that at Macquarie, I would be supported not only in my career growth but also in my personal aspirations to improve my health and fitness,” she explains. 

“Macquarie invests in its recruitment process, and it values growing the individual, the teams and the organisation holistically.”


A career journey in technology

Sandra accepted a summer internship at Macquarie’s Sydney office as a Technical Business Analyst within the Corporate Operations Group. She continued working part time throughout 2020 before joining the Graduate Program in 2021.

She has contributed to a variety of technology programs, including an IT Service Management Transformation Program within Infrastructure and Personal Technology, uplifting one of Macquarie’s platforms to a cloud-based product. Here, she engaged with vendors, developers and process owners to understand the requirements, then worked closely with the change manager to uplift critical change enablement controls, processes and matrixes.

Sandra is working on the Starters Transfers and Leavers Next Program, part of Macquarie’s Enterprise Technology function.

Our technology aims to empower the organisation to create an experience that makes our people feel valued."

Sandra’s role on the project is to act as a conduit between internal stakeholders, improving and automating the technology that enables Macquarie to have people join, transfer internally and leave the organisation in a seamless manner. 

“I drive empathy interviews with 12 global teams including recruitment, who are using 10 different systems,” Sandra explains. “We look to understand their processes, systems, and pain points, whilst collaborating with technical teams to create impactful solutions. So, communication, collaboration and negotiation are a key part of the job.”


Growing responsibility

Sandra says that the level of responsibility she has been given has defined her intern and graduate experiences. 

“Even though I was the most junior member of the team, I was trusted and had the opportunity to lead meetings with developers or process owners to define requirements for our program,” she explains. 

“The support and encouragement from the team in allowing me to step up and take responsibility was empowering.” 

The teamwork Sandra has experienced has also been a highlight, helping her fulfil her goal of being immersed in a collaborative workplace. 

“My team provides an environment where I can ask questions and learn,” she says. “And the large scope of the project means that there are many opportunities to add value to Macquarie and its people.”

Within the wider organisation, Sandra is involved in the Women in Tech Employee Network Group, an employee-led initiative promoting gender equity in technology. She also attends events aimed at empowering women working in finance and technology.

I discovered that technology is more than just coding at Macquarie. There’s a breadth of opportunities to explore from digital design roles to business analyst roles and project management roles!"

Sandra says Macquarie’s technology teams encourage diverse perspectives to help produce the best outcomes.  She also notes that Macquarie places a strong emphasis on risk management, and that it is unique insofar as it is open to different technology solutions, from large scale products to start-ups.


Graduate opportunities in a unique culture

Working from home during the pandemic required Sandra’s graduate cohort to adapt. She created connections through weekly Zoom lunches, got involved in the Graduate Volunteer Network, which works closely with the Macquarie Group Foundation to raise money for charity, and completed a semi-virtual Walk for Freedom fundraiser with her cohort.  

“The graduate cohort made me feel like I was on a journey together with others,” she says. “We have a buddy program which mixes us with previous year cohorts. This has been invaluable as it enabled us to connect with other graduates to provide and receive support.  

Sandra believes Macquarie’s culture contributes to the feeling of being valued at work.

“As a graduate, a huge part of the experience is team bonding,” Sandra explains. “During lockdown, my manager set regular times in our calendars to replace the general office chit-chat we were missing and blocked out our calendars with regular meeting-free periods. I felt valued that my manager was empathetic and did what he could to keep us connected and productive.”

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