Sitting for final exams right before finishing a degree can be a very stressful time. But for Griffith University’s Alexander MacInnes, it was made a little bit easier by an unexpected job offer from Commonwealth Bank.
A student heavily involved in extracurricular activities, Alex had submitted his resume to the bank hoping to secure an internship when he finished his Commerce degree in Finance.
But although optimistic about his chances, he didn’t hear anything for about a year and a half and put it out of his mind. Then he got a phone call.
“It had been ages and all of a sudden I got a phone call saying an actual position was available, and I should apply,” he said.
“I met with the executive manager and he explained the role and got to know me and from then we enjoyed a really good rapport. He told me then he wanted to put me right through the interview process of the first position, and skip the actual online application.”
Unfortunately, Alex missed out on the position to someone internal. But it seems a great impression was left because a few months later, he heard back from the bank.
“I got a call on the Tuesday of exam week, I remember because it was the morning of my first exam.
“They said ‘We’re not even going to bother interviewing this new position, we’re just going to offer it to you!
“I was studying with some friends at the time and I hung up and we all just celebrated! It was pretty cool.”
Alex says the new position will see him assisting not-for-profit companies make the most of their finances.
“I am really people focused and I really like being able to interact with people and help them achieve their goals so this job is perfect for me,” Alex said.
“Through my previous sports management degree, we did a lot of not-for-profit analysis and working out how those companies should structure themselves.
“I am looking forward to combining that with the financial knowledge and trying to help clients. I also get to interact with clients daily and build a real rapport.”
The former Bachelor of Commerce student believes the experience gained from his global and local internships contributed to his success with Commonwealth Bank.
“Everyone always raves on about how you need to get experience and I really was keen on getting experience as early as possible,” Alex said.
“I went to Germany for three months and it was the best three months of my life.
“I worked for a real estate investment company analysing how we could try and get them onto the DAX index. My role was to study competitors, see how they’d grown and where their strengths were and work out how we could catch market share.
“My local internship was at the Cold Coast Turf Club. They just built this brand new events centre and my job was to come up with a marketing and business plan to ensure it was maximised. They actually implemented it now and it’s thriving. So I take a lot of pride when I drive past it and think that I helped.”
He says there are numerous benefits to doing internships both globally and locally. “Professionally it gives you the edge to show you have experience in different markets and overseas working with different people and you can understand different cultures,” he explains.
“But personally it helped me grow because I had to go overseas. I’d never spoken a word of German before in my life so I had to go over there, learn the language, learn how the culture worked. Learning those sort of life skills are invaluable to my future career.”
In fact, he’s such an advocate of the internship program that he’s been made Griffith University’s Global Internship Ambassador, a position he will continue after he leaves.
And he has some advice for current students looking to replicate his success in grabbing a job with one of the major banks after graduation.
“Do everything while you are at uni; work, play sport – there are heaps of sporting clubs – get involved in the social side,” he says. “I’ve done it all from captain of the football team, to getting involved with other social stuff, gone to parties, and also working full-time to make sure I had a strong understanding of finances and budgeting.
“Griffith allows you that flexibility, and the Business School is especially good with how they structure their programs so you can do that. The ensure that when you have your degree you’re well rounded, not just leaving with a piece of paper.