Photo credit: Sebastien Wainwright-Poirier
Bachelor of Business Administration and Bachelor of Asia Pacific Studies (2012)
Seb is a Senior Strategy Manager within the Institutional Banking and Markets division of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA). His role involves supporting the bank to identify pathways that will enable it to serve its largest clients across corporate banking and global financial markets. Upon graduating from ANU, Seb commenced his career as a management consultant at Accenture for several years. He later moved to an internal strategy role at the Westpac Group, and subsequently joined CBA to focus on the institutional finance sector.
1. What are some perks associated with working in the banking sector?
Location – Taking time to travel after graduation confirmed for me that I wanted to live in large and busy cities. Working in finance, particularly in the institutional sector, lends itself to the opportunity to work in financial hubs, which are often the most bustling metropolises around the world.
Culture – Starting my career in management consulting, I found the environment to be very fast-paced, competitive, and intellectually stimulating. These were attributes that I wanted to retain when moving in-house, which the financial services industry has closely mirrored.
Subject Matter Content – While dependent on personal interest, understanding how the finance sector works provides great insights into many of the financial (and non-financial) opportunities and constraints that are faced by companies, irrespective of industry. A great quote that I remember from a lecture during my time at the ANU was that ‘finance is the language of business’ – this quote has increasingly resonated with me as time goes on.
2. What has been your biggest lesson in terms of moving up the corporate ladder?
Take initiative and ownership – In the early years of people’s careers, it’s often easy to fall into the trap of only considering your personally-assigned responsibilities or ‘chunk’ of a solution, regardless of achieving the overall outcome. I’ve found that inspirational leaders and those that quickly rise up the ladder frequently take personal ownership to drive the delivery of outcomes as a whole. Forming a mindset as if you are the business owner will ensure that you are invested to drive progress and tackle problems head on, rather than relying on others to address the gaps.