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Kx Cortez: From Graduate to Senior Manager in Tech with Macquarie’s Manila office

Kx Cortez joined Macquarie’s Manila office in 2009 as a Graduate Test Analyst for the Risk Management Group. Now she is a Senior Manager and Delivery Lead for the Specialised Asset Finance Energy team, part of Commodities and Global Markets Technology. She's enjoyed a culture of support, growth and flexibility throughout her 13 years at Macquarie.


In 2009, Kx stumbled across a job advertisement for a Graduate Test Analyst position, working in Macquarie’s Manila office for the Risk Management Group. At the time, Macquarie's presence in the Philippines was small, but Kx says the organisation’s vision for the future inspired her to join.

“I’d applied to other companies, but Macquarie stood out during the interview process,” Kx says. “I was impressed when the Head of Manila described the potential he saw and the vision for Macquarie to grow and thrive in this country.”

Over her 13 years with the organisation, Kx has been involved in bringing this vision to life. She has also experienced several different tech roles, including being promoted to Senior Manager and Delivery Lead for Specialised Asset Finance Energy in Commodities and Global Markets Technology.

“We have become very well-established in Manila as a tech organisation and, over the years, we’ve also gained the trust of Macquarie’s businesses internally. We are more than a service provider; we work in a true partnership with the rest of the group,” Kx says.

“But I think it’s the culture and the way that Macquarie invests in people that really sets Macquarie apart.”


A culture of learning, support and autonomy

Kx says she always had a passion for tech but because she hadn’t graduated with an IT degree, when she joined Macquarie, she spent time learning new skills.

“A few years in, I was the first Test Analyst in Manila to join Corporate Asset Finance, which is now Specialised Asset Finance operating under the Commodities and Global Markets group’s Tech team,” Kx explains. “Over time I got to move across different areas and projects, learning more about the tech stack as I set the standard in terms of test practice and culture.”

Kx says she’s appreciated the autonomy she’s been given in all her roles at Macquarie.

Each person at Macquarie is empowered, and their work is valued. Even when I was a junior tester, I was able to contribute to meetings and the decision-making process."

“If things don’t go to plan, we discuss it. The focus is on what we learnt and on collaboration, which leads to great outcomes.”

In 2014, Kx led a Specialised Asset Finance testing team before moving on to a management role. In 2019, she became a Delivery Lead and Scrum Master. Along the way, she helped the Specialised Asset Finance Energy team transform from manual testing process to automation.

She remains unassuming about the career growth she has achieved, crediting it to the many successes she’s shared with her team.

“I’m focused on tech, learning new things and doing things professionally. Passion and excellence are my key values,” she says.


Choice in your own career path 

Kx was offered the role of Delivery Lead several years ago but chose not to take it at the time, because she wanted to gain more skills first.

“My manager respected my decision and led by example,” Kx explains. “Gradually, I found myself naturally stepping up to this role.”

Currently, Kx manages operations, development and testing and oversees a broad range of work.

“Each day, I prioritise any incident resolution before moving onto project delivery,” Kx says. “I’m second in charge, for a re-architecture project, reengineering an existing platform to ensure its scalable and making sure we have a good test strategy in place. Then there’s business-as-usual work, delivering monthly enhancements to the existing platform. On top of that, there’s compliance, with an eye to cyber security.”

“My role has become more project management and people management based over time, but I still love to code and script.”

Kx counts the test automation transformation project as one of her career highlights.

“None of the team had performed automated testing when the shift started in 2014,” Kx explains.

With strong support for the tech leadership team we devised a plan to upskill the division, onboard subject matter experts and build a good framework. It was a real team effort but with planning and collaboration we managed to transform in three months."

Alongside this, we transformed how we delivered in an Agile manner. 

“Moving from waterfall to Agile methodology was a mindset shift, but my team was able to influence the business and drive the tech changes.,” KX says.


Flexibility, upskilling and growth

Kx believes Macquarie’s supportive approach to flexibility is something that enhances productivity. 

“Since joining Macquarie, I’ve become a mom of three, so now I start my work shift in the late morning and work until dinner time,” Kx says. “This allows me to overlap with our UK teams, but I can also home-school my kids before work.”

“I’ve always been able to work flexibly when I need to,” Kx says. 

Keeping up with the latest tech as it evolves is also very important, and Kx says Macquarie facilitates this by funding certifications and other learning opportunities.

“I admire the way that Macquarie embraces and adopts new technology but also manages a good balance with risk control frameworks,” Kx says. 

“As technologists, we continue to enjoy the opportunity to deliver new tech whilst learning how to manage new risks.”

Kx says that delivering tangible value for the business gives her a sense of fulfilment. 

“Understanding how our work will help the business grow, close more deals, and seeing the new features we create being used and making things easier for the business, provides me with great satisfaction,” she says. 

“I really enjoy the managerial aspect too, in seeing my team grow and helping them scale up and take on new responsibilities.”

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