Skills sharing

Corporate life no longer a pipe dream for elite athletes

Codie at a Macquarie Sports surfing clinic in Queensland

14 July 2020

Elite athletes often possess many of the skills that are invaluable in corporate life, though training commitments can mean they feel unable to pursue the work experience that their peers do. To help bridge this gap, the Macquarie Sports Scholarships program supports elite young sports people by enabling them to pursue both their career and sporting goals.

As well as financial support, the scholarships provide training, mentoring and ongoing casual employment with Macquarie Sports, which provides grassroots sporting opportunities for children around Australia. To date, 74 sports scholarships have been awarded, with several going on to join Macquarie full time. Codie Klein, an Analyst at Macquarie’s Banking and Financial Services division, is one of them.

A surfer since the age of 12, Codie was ranked 35th in the world in the Women’s Qualifying Series in 2015 while she was finishing an Accounting and Finance degree at Bond University. Codie had discounted the idea of a conventional internship, believing that it would be impossible to fit into her competitive schedule. Luckily, a friend from Surfing Australia forwarded her the application and encouraged her to apply.

“Macquarie was very flexible with my schedule. I was studying and travelling full-time to compete in surfing, so I split the internship in two. I remember flying in from Europe on a Tuesday night and starting the internship the next morning – it was the only way I could fit it in. I would surf early in the morning, go to work, go to the gym, and study at night. It was madness but I wouldn’t change it for anything,” says Codie.

The program provides recipients with paid work experience within Macquarie, and supports recipients with the access to networks and resources necessary to enable a smooth transition from the sporting arena to the workplace.

“I can’t believe the generosity of everyone that I worked with. I was exposed to so many different people across the business with so many inspiring stories. It motivated me to continue putting a lot of effort into my degree, so that I could one day start my post-sport career with Macquarie.”

Adaptation, perseverance, and commitment are all key traits needed to succeed in a corporate environment. For elite athletes, these characteristics are often already in-built within them, as part of their formula for success in the sporting arena.

“I only recently realised how much my athletic past shapes who I am in the workplace. There are so many traits and habits that are critical to success in both the sporting and corporate world. In sport, you must be incredibly responsive to the feedback of others, because without it there’s little means of improving,” shares Codie.

“Prioritisation, time management and a solid work ethic are almost guaranteed traits of someone pursuing the two paths. There is no other way to achieve in both.”

Following the scholarship program, Codie accepted a full-time role at Macquarie in 2018 and decided to step away from professional surfing to pursue her corporate career.

“I accepted a graduate role and moved my life to Sydney with the unwavering support of new friends and mentors from Macquarie and Macquarie Sports. The Chair of Macquarie Sports at the time, Guy Reynolds, supported me through my sporting career and was there for me the second I decided to step away from professional surfing.”

Codie is now looking to the future, excited for the career to come at Macquarie.

“I sacrificed a lot to be able to do both – but now I have a career at Macquarie that is only just beginning.”