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Giving back to the community with Macquarie's Graduate Volunteer Network

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From volunteering to skills sharing and fundraising, the Graduate Volunteer Network partners with the Macquarie Group Foundation to offer a way for those on the Graduate Program to give back to the community. Georgia Waites, Zoe Osborne and Allen Qi, all played an active role in their Graduate year and count it as a highlight that provided them with networks as well as a sense of having made a meaningful contribution.

Zoe Osborne: Co-Chair of the Graduate Volunteer Network in 2021

I discovered the Graduate Volunteer Network when I was researching Macquarie, and it was definitely one reason why I was excited about Macquarie’s Graduate Program. I liked the values it represented.

I studied Business and Arts, majoring in HR and philosophy. I’ve always been passionate about the intersection of business and corporate responsibility, so I knew I wanted to have a social impact beyond or through my work.

I was accepted to the 2021 Graduate Program, and rotated through four different Human Resources teams: Graduate Recruitment, Talent Transformation, Macquarie Capital Business HR, ending up in Global Reward, where I was able to secure a permanent role. I am now a Reward Adviser, where I work alongside our business groups to provide advice on remuneration and retention matters.

I put my hand up to get involved in the Graduate Volunteer Network and became Co-Chair for 2021. Working closely with my Co-Chair who was based in Brisbane, we led the committee team of 12 graduates from across the organisation. A large part of the role was also representing the Graduate Volunteer Network when we were pitching for funding for our initiatives from various stakeholder groups within Macquarie.

Our committee ran a number of fundraising activities throughout the year, including an initiative to design, produce and sell two limited edition Indigenous art puzzles.

We worked with an Aboriginal Art Centre and Macquarie’s First Nations Employee Network Group, and 100 per cent of sales as well as matching from the Macquarie Group Foundation (Foundation) were donated to an Indigenous Literacy charity. A real highlight was seeing the puzzles arrive in the office, as well as receiving pictures from our Macquarie employees completing the puzzles and enjoying the artworks at home. 

I was also able to volunteer for monthly food van shifts, preparing food and serving hot meals for people experiencing homelessness, which was very rewarding. 

The network is full of passionate people, but none of us were experts or knew a lot about navigating corporate fundraising or volunteering. 

W​​e collaborated to achieve the right impact, drawing on Macquarie’s networks and leveraging the expertise and knowledge of others, including mentors within the business. Over 2021 we raised a record $A165,000 thanks to Foundation matching.

The ability to have a social impact alongside your day job, and to feel supported by the organisation to do so, means a lot to me."

I’ve made good friends and relationships across the business with people I never would have encountered if I hadn’t been involved with the Graduate Volunteer Network, and have been able to support the new 2022 Graduate Volunteer cohort and remain active in the volunteering community at Macquarie.

What surprised you when you started working at Macquarie?

How informal and non-hierarchical Macquarie really is. Right from the start I felt comfortable and empowered. Graduates are given a lot of responsibility, trust and autonomy and I felt really supported to take it on and succeed.

Do you have any tips for someone applying to a job at Macquarie?

I did a rotation in Graduate Recruitment, and something that stands out is when a candidate can explain what Macquarie might mean for them, and their personal career. In an interview, ask lots of questions of your own, stay calm and collected and remember that it’s ok to take the time to think through a response.

What’s your top tip for someone just starting their career journey?

You need to focus on your day-to-day work, but don’t underestimate your network. At Macquarie people are happy to share their knowledge, and are very generous with their time, so take time to build relationships and learn from others. 

Georgia Waites: Foundation Liaison for the Graduate Volunteer Network in 2022

I applied to Macquarie's Graduate Program after completing a Bachelor of Commerce and Advanced Studies majoring in finance and data science. 

​​​I joined as an Analyst in the Finance, Risk & Regulatory Team in Banking and Financial Services in 2022. ​​My role involves being a conduit between the engineers and business stakeholders when we’re building new reports or data pathways in response to new regulatory requirements. It’s a dynamic space. 

I love my job but having the chance to get involved in meaningful activities outside of work was also important to me. While studying I’d enjoyed creating events and galvanising people to get involved in charity fundraising, so when I found out about the Graduate Volunteer Network during my induction I immediately signed up."

I took on the role of Foundation Liaison, building connections between the Graduate Volunteer Network and the Foundation. We work together to decide which charities to support, get people involved and have a bigger impact.

Being involved in the Graduate Volunteer Network helped me build relationships with Macquarie’s Employee Network Groups including the Giving Employee Network Group, who sponsor some of our initiatives. Together with them I helped organise a trivia night which raised $A150, 000 with Foundation matching for a charity close to my heart: the Cooper Rice-Brading Foundation.

I also led our ‘Headshot for Charity’ initiative in 2022, where a photographer takes a professional photo for LinkedIn, and the money goes to charity. With Foundation matching, ​​we raised $A28,000. I also got involved in a Beach Clean-up and, related to my day job, I’ve helped with troubleshooting for the online fundraising platform. 

The support of my team and manager for my involvement with the network has been so important. At one point I felt a bit overwhelmed, but I was transparent with my manager who was so supportive and that helped me have an impact. 

The highlight has been the range of people from other parts of Macquarie I’ve met through the Employee Network Groups, and other grads I have met through the Graduate Volunteer Network and learning about what drives them, beyond work.

What surprised you when you started working at Macquarie?

In my interview with Macquarie I felt the people interviewing me genuinely wanted to find out about me as both an employee and a person. There is a push for people to enjoy their lives as well as their jobs at Macquarie. 

Do you have any tips for someone applying to a job at Macquarie?

Know exactly what you are applying for and don’t apply for a role you’re not interested in. You need to be passionate, sure of yourself and don’t sell yourself short.

What’s your top tip for someone just starting their career journey?

Putting your hand up for things is a great way to get yourself noticed. Be good at your job and a decent person – don’t sacrifice one for the other.

Allen Qi: Part of the City2Surf working group for the GVN in 2022

I graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering and Surveying, but after completing some engineering internships I realised it wasn’t for me, so decided to pursue my interest in investing and finance.

I joined Macquarie’s Graduate Program in 2022 in the Business Services Division, where I completed four different three-month rotations. I experienced Group Procurement, Corporate Real Estate and the Sydney Metro Martin Place Project.

For my final rotation I requested to return to Group Procurement because I enjoyed the fact that Procurement works with the whole business, and you are exposed to a wide range of internal stakeholders, from the retail bank to Macquarie Capital and Macquarie Asset Management. My managers were able to make this happen, which demonstrates the ability you have to steer your own career at Macquarie. 

I found out about the Graduate Volunteer Network through the Graduate Development Program. It felt like an excellent initiative to bring grads together to do something meaningful and give back to the community. 

I like running and sports and saw it as a good opportunity to volunteer for the City2Surf working group. It was hands-on, and we divided up the tasks amongst us, with different people working on marketing, fundraising and admin. I was in charge of taking expressions of interest and registration forms and created the starting groups for walking, jogging and running. I also organised merchandise like singlets and water bottles.

One of the highlights of my involvement with the network was seeing the success of the event. We had around 20 graduates run on the day, and we beat our target to raise $A3,000, including donations matched by the Foundation, with our proceeds going to Batyr - a ​​youth mental health charity."

Over my time with the network, I also participated in Headshots for Charity and Youth Off The Streets food van initiatives. 

Being involved in the Graduate Volunteer Network was so valuable. I met a lot of graduates from different business groups and knowing we’d achieved something and given back to the community felt good.

What surprised you when you started working at Macquarie?

The pace is different to what I’d imagined. You can take time to network, catch up for a coffee and meet people from other areas of the business. 

Do you have any tips for someone applying to a job at Macquarie?

Not everyone has a finance background. Know your strengths and weaknesses and be able to express them and show the value you can bring to the business. Additionally, read and understand the business, demonstrate your interest towards working for Macquarie.

What’s your top tip for someone just starting their career journey?

Meet as many people as you can and talk to previous grads. If you can, find someone who can act as a mentor or sounding board, to help you make the many little career decisions that crop up along the journey. 

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