Nisha Pradhan

How a three-week internship kickstarted Nisha Pradhan’s exciting career

Nisha Pradhan wasn’t sure how her engineering degree would fit into Macquarie, but the three-week Winter Development Program convinced her to return as an intern and then as a graduate, setting her up for an exciting career. She now works on projects that are helping to shape the infrastructure market in Australia.

Nisha was studying Electrical Engineering and Finance at the University of New South Wales when she applied for Macquarie’s Winter Development Program.

These days Nisha, who graduated in July 2018, is an analyst in the Infrastructure, Utilities and Renewables team in Macquarie Capital. And it all started with a three-week winter internship.

“I had a fantastic time, which is why I decided to come back as a summer intern and now as a graduate,” she says.

The budding engineer had been unsure how her engineering degree would fit into Macquarie.

“But the short nature of the Winter Development Program allowed me to dip my toes in and get exposure to what working in financial services would be like,” she says.

“It also provided me with really great networking opportunities. I met a group of amazing and talented individuals who shared their knowledge and advice. And the program made me realise that the engineering skills I had gained were highly transferrable and, in some cases, directly applicable to the work that Macquarie Capital does.”

In just three weeks, Nisha was given lots of responsibility and ownership of important tasks.

“I attended meetings and was immersed in the team. This allowed me to build on core skills and made me realise that, at Macquarie, I would have the opportunity to work on a variety of exciting transactions where I could add value.

“The winter development program provided a direct pipeline into the summer program, and subsequently into the graduate program and gave me the opportunity to understand the type of work that I would be doing as an intern and a graduate.

 “At the end of the program I had the opportunity to come back to the infrastructure team or to try something new over summer. I decided to stay with my previous team.”

As for her graduate role, Nisha says that every day is different.

“As an analyst in Macquarie Capital I find myself continuously working on exciting and challenging projects that are helping shape the infrastructure market in Australia.”

That includes helping to create financial models for transactions and engaging with senior infrastructure executives to explore opportunities to drive value in transactions. She also helps analyse commercial and financial scenarios to assess risk and value; creates slide packs and pitches on interesting commercial opportunities; attends meetings with advisers, clients, vendors and banks; and is involved in commercial negotiations involving big infrastructure projects across Australia. 

What has been her most exciting project?

“I’ve had the opportunity to work on some amazing infrastructure projects throughout my time at Macquarie, but my favourite so far is a social infrastructure project in the education space.”

The appeal of social infrastructure is that “it really shapes the way society lives and works”, she says.

“Education is one of my passions, so being able to work on something tangible in this space really excites me because it helps me contribute to society.”

Nisha has some advice for those considering applying for Macquarie’s Winter Development Program.

“Take the leap and do it. As someone who wasn’t sure whether I should apply, I have absolutely no regrets. This three-week program is a great way to understand whether financial services is for you.”

Of course, university grades are important, but so is the “cultural fit”, Nisha says.

“Be yourself throughout the interview process. Macquarie wants to know more about the type of person you are. The application process is just as much about you getting to know Macquarie as it is about Macquarie getting to know you. Take the opportunity to ask questions throughout the process and decide if it’s for you.” 

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