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Kathryn Teo: Working on innovative technology in a supportive environment

As part of the Technology Graduate Rotation Program, Kathryn Teo has had the opportunity to experience the different ways that Macquarie uses technology. From supporting regulatory applications to working on a large data project, she says it’s the supportive environment that she’s enjoyed the most.

 

Kathryn Teo completed high school in Perth, before moving across the country to study a Bachelor of Science majoring in Computer Science, Data Science and Statistics in Melbourne. She chose the degree because it allowed her to combine math, software engineering and data science with other subjects including languages.

“I was always interested in science and computer science seemed new, modern and exciting,” explains Kathryn.

“I could also see the job opportunities in computer science as all types of companies need to look at new ways to process information, build programs and optimise data to improve business processes.”

As she came towards the end of her degree, Kathryn knew she wanted to move into an industry where she could gain broad exposure to many areas of business and decided to look at how she could use her skills in financial services. She relocated again, this time to Sydney, to accept a position on Macquarie’s 2019 Graduate Program in the Technology team.

 

New beginnings

Kathryn arrived with what she describes as a learning mindset but was unsure of what to expect.

“Macquarie was my first full time job and my first taste of corporate life,” says Kathryn. “I hadn’t completed any other internships. So, naturally, it took a little while to settle in and understand the work.”

She says she felt supported by her manager and team right from the start.

“My managers and colleagues have been great. They’ve lifted me up and trained me as I learnt. Everyone here wants you to grow, learn and succeed.”

Kathryn says that one of the unexpected benefits of joining the Graduate Program was the bonds that have been forged between the grads.

“My intake had thirteen grads in the Technology team and we still have a very strong connection,” says Kathryn.

As one of the more experienced members of the close knit Technology grad group, Kathryn now mentors and buddies with new interns and graduates, helping them with questions. She also helps senior stakeholders understand the graduate perspective and how to best support them and volunteers to help coordinate graduate rotations into different teams.

 

Experiencing different aspects of tech

Kathryn says she’s found the Graduate Program flexible and says she has benefited from her own two rotations into different Technology teams.

She first spent time in the Finance, Operations, and Risk division in a team supporting infrastructure for regulatory reporting applications.

She later moved into the Service Management division, where she now works in the Data, Process and Transformation team.

“The team has evolved in my time here, so I've experienced quite a lot,” says Kathryn. “We look after technology asset data, and the ultimate aim is to manage risk. It’s project-based work and I do a bit of coding, business administration and look at human-centered design.”

In terms of the work itself, Kathryn says her own customer service mentality, which she honed through working casual hospitality jobs, has helped her tech work.

“It is an essential part of the journey to place the customer first when we are working towards human-centered design and understanding the user’s needs.”

Kathryn likes that an average day doesn’t simply see her at her desk focused on analytical tasks, but also lets her engage with stakeholders through presentations and meetings.

“My current tech team is relatively small, with just ten people. We start each day with a stand up to share what we will be working on for the day and discuss any roadblocks or issues. As grads we are given a lot of autonomy to own the work we are doing independently.” 

 

Data and risk

In 2020, Kathryn became involved in a large data quality project, aimed at ensuring Macquarie’s technology asset data was accurate, complete and could be used for making risk based decisions. She says this has been one of the highlights of her time so far.

“We’ve been analysing the data, evaluating what needs to be done, how to govern it, and pushing the message out to the asset owners,” Kathryn says.

“Data is becoming a focus across all industries because there is huge value in having good data. It’s exciting to be part of exploring that in a large organisation. Working with internal stakeholders means we get to experiment with new ways of problem-solving, like design thinking.”

 

Embracing a culture of diversity

“The culture at Macquarie centers around accountability and opportunity,” explains Kathryn. “So if you want to do something and you put your hand up and own it, you’ll usually get the opportunity to give it a go.”

“I’ve been surprised at how much I enjoy being at Macquarie,” Kathryn explains. “The workplace is far less formal than I’d imagined it would be, you can really make it fun and exciting, and I’ve gained valuable connections with my team and stakeholders.”

Kathryn says there have been so many ways to get involved in different aspects of life at Macquarie, from the work itself to social activities. She says there is also a strong emphasis on creating a good work/life balance, including wellness and mental health.

“Macquarie values diversity in its people and work,” says Kathryn. “I’m really happy here and love the fact that each day I can continue to learn, enjoy work and add real value to my team.”

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