Vinella Mendonca says her move from tech support to a front-office role in Macquarie Capital speaks to Macquarie’s culture. Vinella joined Macquarie's Hong Kong office as an intern, providing internal IT support through the Tech Assist team. The year after joining full-time she moved into Macquarie Capital’s Equities Sales team, where she now leverages her tech skills to automate and transform work processes and generate insights.
In 2019, Vinella Mendonca began her career as a summer intern in Macquarie’s Hong Kong office, where she worked in the Tech Assist team, which support Macquarie’s internal IT services. Just a few years later, she found herself working in a Client Account Management role for Macquarie Capital.
“Having undertaken a Bachelor of Computer Engineering, I’d planned a career in technology,” Vinella says. “I had minored in finance, and I was interested in working in the financial services industry, but I had never envisaged myself in a finance role.”
Vinella started her degree in Hong Kong and secured an exchange program in Singapore, gaining overseas exposure during her term of study. While there, she discovered Macquarie and applied for a 10-week internship in Macquarie’s Hong Kong office.
Vinella describes the summer internship as 'the perfect opportunity'.
“I loved tech, but I knew I didn’t want to be a programmer,” she explains.
“The tech assist position was an internal, customer focused tech role, but required communication, training, learning and interacting with people,” Vinella says. “I was exposed to all of Macquarie’s businesses, from the client facing business groups to the support teams.”
Beyond the variety, the fact that Macquarie was headquartered in Australia, and had what she describes as a 'unique culture', also appealed to Vinella.
Vinella enjoyed the internship and continued working part-time, alongside her studies, to assist on a major Windows 10 transition project. On completing her degree in 2020, she then joined the Tech Assist team full-time as an Associate.
“We dealt with problem-solving – computer crashes or applications not working, but also transitions like shifting from one system to another, software migration, new laptops or upgrades,” Vinella explains.
I had global exposure while hosting training to support the launch of new products, and got to take on priority support for management and C-suite executives, which was amazing as a junior."
It was while she was working in Tech Assist and solving issues on the trading floor that Vinella’s interest was sparked.
“I really enjoyed supporting the sales and trading teams because I loved the intensity of the trading floor,” Vinella explains. “I could see there was a focus on numbers, with client interaction and something new every day.”
Working in an open-plan office, Vinella sat next to the Head of Sales for Macquarie Capital Equities who helped her learn more about opportunities in the division.
“I wanted to learn more about finance and everyone was generous with their time,” Vinella says. “But I didn't know what account management was when I was approached about a Client Account Management role within their team.”
“My skills and experience were a good fit because they wanted to evolve the role in a data-centric direction.”
In 2021, Vinella took on the role, starting as an Associate for the sales team within Macquarie Capital Equities.
“Essentially, it’s client relationship management for the Cash Equity product” Vinella says. “Talking to clients, understanding how well we service them, gathering feedback, finding out how we compare to our competitors and how we could deliver our services better.”
Day-to-day, it involves forging and maintaining new relationships, understanding their interests, analysing the opportunities and connecting them, and that’s where Vinella says there is a commonality with her previous role in Tech Assist.
“The role has traditionally been focused on relationships, but we’re evolving and integrating a quantitative approach by using data analytics to help gain insights and make better use of the existing products.”
“We use Excel, Power BI and coding to analyse the data and make improvements and suggestions for clients,” Vinella says.
Vinella says she was grateful for the opportunity to transfer to a front-office role while still at a junior level.
I wanted a challenge, and I got it. People at Macquarie are great at providing recognition, and I appreciate the belief and confidence the team had in me."
“It speaks to the culture and values here,” Vinella says. “Mobility is highly encouraged – internally, between teams, regions, or roles, and it’s a genuine highlight, including for juniors.”
“My managers also worked with me to overcome challenges and make it happen by implementing a transition period between the two roles,” Vinella continues.
This support for employees is something that she also recognised as an intern when she says Macquarie went the extra mile to help assist with visa requirements and, later, make her part-time work arrangement flexible enough to fit in her studies.
While she is part of the Equities Sales team, Vinella also highlights the chance she’s recently been given to sit with the trading team to learn more about how they work.
“People really invest in you and are supportive of learning,” she explains.
Vinella credits this engagement with her colleagues and other teams as one of the things that precipitated her career change.
“Macquarie offers a lot when it comes to networking and giving back,” Vinella says. “I’m a member of the Hong Kong Community Advisory Committee for the Macquarie Group Foundation and a mentor for the internship program. I’ve also found the women in finance events particularly impactful.”
“If I hadn’t networked, I might not have moved from Tech Assist to Equities Sales,” she says. “It pays to keep an open mind, talk to people, and find out what you don’t know.”