After 14 years working in management consulting for financial services organisations in South Africa, Dubai and Australia, Amelia Naidoo has recently moved in-house at Macquarie.
When Amelia Naidoo graduated with an honours degree in electrical engineering she followed a traditional path by working for an energy utility company in her home country of South Africa. But it wasn’t long before she was looking to use her skills in a different context, so she sidestepped into a new career as a management consultant for an advisory firm.
It was in that role that she received a taste of product development for a large South African bank. Amelia quickly decided that financial services was where she wanted to be, so she focused on working in the sector as a consultant.
“Financial services was attractive to me as the industry was undergoing rapid change, which brought huge challenges and excitement,” says Amelia.
Coming from an engineering background, Amelia decided formal finance qualifications would help her career and she completed her CFA. She also embraced the travel opportunities that being a management consultant brought her.
Her work as a consultant took her from South Africa to Dubai and back, before she transferred to Sydney with a large consulting firm where she worked on change and transformation projects for organisations in the financial services space.
Looking for an opportunity where she could still get the variety and complexity that comes with a consulting role but also enjoy the opportunity to get to know a business from the inside, she came across a permanent role in Macquarie’s Finance Projects and Change team. Knowing Macquarie as a diverse organisation, both across its business and people, she knew that this could be the right fit.
As a senior project manager within the Finance Projects and Change team, Amelia is responsible for delivering some of the group’s regulatory and upliftment projects.
She says that the transition from external management consultant to in-house senior project manager wasn’t a difficult one.
The role itself has a very similar operating model to consulting, in that I’m working on different projects, with a team from across the business, and every day is different and presents new challenges. I’m always learning and exposed to diverse perspectives."
Amelia says her current project aims to create a one-stop-shop for Macquarie’s capital data requirements.
“There is no average day and that’s one of the things that keeps it exciting,” she says.
“I keep the project going and I get involved with a range of different things on a day-to-day basis from project resourcing through to user training, we need to understand what key stakeholders are looking for, and make sure we deliver on end-user satisfaction.”
"I work closely with almost all teams across the organisation in Australia, and even some teams outside of Australia. In my interactions I have been able to leverage the strategy development, structured problem solving, program management, communication and inter-personal skills I developed during consulting to deliver effective outcomes."
Amelia had consulted to many financial services organisations, but says she was attracted to Macquarie due to its size, as well as its global reach and reputation.
“I was impressed by the diversity within Macquarie,” she explains.
From senior leadership down there is a good mix of gender and ethnic diversity, which creates a great culture. Everyone is friendly, helpful, and wants to roll up their sleeves and get the job done."
She also says that despite being a large organisation, Macquarie has a welcoming and fun environment.
“It’s such a nice team to be part of and there's a real culture of professionalism and respect.”
Amelia believes her move in-house will allow her to take the next step in her career journey.
“Joining Macquarie allows me to build in-house expertise,” she explains. “When you get to know a business so well from the inside, it helps you provide better solutions.”
While her role as an external consultant saw her move from one project to the next, establishing projects across industry sectors, she often missed out on being part of the outcomes.
“Being in-house allows me to witness the change I help implement,” says Amelia. “I’m also looking forward to building a professional home, and forming stronger relationships with my team.”
She’s kept engaged by the variety of the work and the people.
“I’m absolutely loving my time at Macquarie,” Amelia says. “There’s a good mix of exciting work, great people, and incredible opportunities to move globally or within divisions. I don't think I can see myself going back into consulting.”