Westpac Group

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Naomi

UNSW
Advanced Science (Hons)/Arts
Majors: Psychology, English. Minor: Philosophy

Can you let us know which area of the business you work in or which rotation you are currently in?

Transformation Grad Program, current rotation in Business Bank Merchant Payments

What was the first 6 months like?  What have you really enjoyed?

The first 6 months were spent going into the office 1 day a week, and wfh the rest. It was really fun going into the office and spending the day with your team and other grads, but it's also nice having the flexibility of wfh (LOVE not having to commute). The grad program has let me try out very different roles (Instructional Designer, project manager, business analyst), in different parts of the bank(financial crime and mortgages, regulatory projects in the chief Transformation office, and now Merchant Payments). Every team I've rotated through has been really supportive and I've developed so many new skills, and the grad cohort has let me grow lots of new and lifelong friendships.

Was your position with the Westpac Group Grad Program as you expected it to be? Did anything take you by surprise?

I was a Transformation intern at Westpac previously, so I already had an idea of what to expect. The grad program has delivered so many learning and growth opportunities for me, so it really has been more than what I can ask for in a grad program. I think what I didn't realise before is just how big the bank is, and the complexity of the systems and processes in place. It's a bit overwhelming at first to navigate and piece together, but I've now got an understanding on how large organisations operate.

Everyone is keen on maintaining work/life balance, with that in mind what is the longest day you have put in and have you worked weekends at all?

I work in projects, so you can have really long or short days, depending on project deadlines. Long days haven't been that frequent, and will only emerge when you're approaching major project deadlines. I always start at 9am and usually finish at 5-5:30pm. The latest I've finished is 8pm. I've never worked on weekends.

On a day to day basis, what do you work on?

It depends on the role. Right now I'm learning how to be a business analyst in the Merchant Payments Team, working on a project that replaces all the EFTPOS terminals around Australia with our latest one. My day to day work has involved lots of team meetings to work through our approach and process for replacing the terminals, working directly with customers and bankers to gauge their interest in being a part of our Pilot to get their terminals replaced first, getting feedback on what customers like and don't like about the terminals, learning how our back end systems work to keep all the terminals up and running, and learning about what happens when you pay by tapping your card in store.

Have you worked on any projects at Westpac Group?

I've been on some regulatory projects (e.g. Bankruptcy reporting where Westpac set up a process to identify customers who have declared bankruptcy so they can predict and model how much money needs to be set aside to cover bankruptcy debts in future; DDO - Design and Distribution Obligations - where banks needs to have processes in place to make sure they sell the right products to the right customers e.g. Making sure you don't sell a product to someone it isn't suitable for). Right now I'm on more of a tech/product focused project for replacing all the EFTPOS terminals around Australia.

What systems do you use for your role in the graduate program?

Lots of Westpac Specific systems. More general systems and software include Excel, PowerPoint, MS Project, MS Teams, Jira, Clarity, Confluence, Articulate Suite, Holocentric.

What sort of support are you provided at Westpac Group?

There's a big support network for the grad program. The central grad team helps with general grad things and runs lots of development events, the Transformation coordinators organise our rotations and do fortnightly check ins with us to see how we're going, we're assigned a grad buddy from the year above to guide us through the year as someone who's already had the grad experience, we're assigned a mentor who is a more senior person at the bank, and the grad cohort is very friendly and supportive of each other.

What skills do you think you need to succeed in your role and do they differ from what you envisioned?

I think the biggest thing you need is an openness to learn and try new things. You'll be taught everything you need to know on the job, and everyone comes from such diverse backgrounds, so there isn't a definite skill set you need prior.

What are the best perks or benefits at Westpac Group?

Lots of staff discounts from everything like general shopping to gym memberships to health insurance. You also get benefits if you bank with Westpac e.g. Extra interest for your savings account for you and your friends/family. Flexible working options and a beautiful city office. Great office culture and friendly workplace and grad cohort.

Meghana

The University of Sydney
Bachelor of Science (Human Physiology Major) and Master of Diagnostic Radiography

Can you let us know what company you are working for and which area of the business you work in or which rotation you are currently in? 

Business Banking Graduate Rotation: Business Controls and Monitoring

What was the first 6 months like?  What have you really enjoyed? 

The first 6 months were challenging, exciting and rewarding! I had the opportunity to learn how to analyse customer financials, conduct industry research, engage with a variety of stakeholders and even sit in on client meetings! Across the various teams I have rotated through, everyone has been extremely supportive and encouraging which really helped make the transition into banking and finance all the more smoother!

Was your position with the Westpac Group Grad Program as you expected it to be? Did anything take you by surprise?

What suprised me the most is a lot of the work is something that can be learnt on the job. Initially I thought having a finance/commerce degree would confer a greater advantage however, I have since learnt that having a genuine curiosity to continually learn and a passion for what you do is critical to success.

Everyone is keen on maintaining work/life balance, with that in mind what is the longest day you have put in and have you worked weekends at all?

The longest I have worked was between 9am-6.30/7pm. The only time I've ever worked on a Saturday was once for about half an hour!

On a day to day basis, what do you work on?

The majority of my roles throughout the graduate program have been in the capacity of an Assistant Relationship Manager/Credit Analyst role. In these roles I would work with a Relationship Manager (RM) of a client to obtain their financial information and to develop a better understanding of the client's business operations. I would use various applications to

  1. identify what products the client currently has with Westpac
  2. input the client's financial information and run an assessment on their ability to repay any debt held with the bank.
  3. Generate a report including commentary around financial and industry analysis.
  4. submit the report/deal to a risk management team for further credit analysis. The team will decide whether or not a deal should proceed or if any additional information from the client is required.

Critical to the role is maintaining phone and/or email correspondence with various stakeholders to obtain relevant information to complete various tasks!

Have you worked on any projects at Westpac Group?

I have had the opportunity to work on a regulatory response project in  covenant remediation.

What systems do you use for your role in the graduate program?  

Optimist, TLW, TLA, Customer Business First, Imaging Systems (BBSI & WIRS), Service Online etc.

What sort of support are you provided at Westpac Group?

Support is available in many forms:

Mentorship: you can choose what you want to get out of the relationship e.g. general advice, career guidance etc.

Colleagues: Westpac has a supportive and collaborative work environment where people are always willing to help. 

People Leader: is your go to if you have any issues affecting your ability to work or need any additional support to make things better. Your people leader will provide feedback on your performance at regular intervals and there to help you achieve your goals. 

Employee action groups: enable you to develop your personal interests for example, volunteering and meet like minded individuals with similar interests. There are plenty of EAGs to choose from - highlighting Westpac's emphasis on diversity and inclusion!

What skills do you think you need to succeed in your role and do they differ from what you envisioned?

Strong interpersonal skills,  self motivation and a genuine curiosity to learn are crucial to success. Initially I thought banking/finance specific knowledge would be a greater asset however, I have since realised that many things can be learnt on the job provided you are willing to put in the effort!

What are the best perks or benefits at Westpac Group?

There are great deals or discounts offered on a range of goods and services. From a financial lending perspective there are also great employee deals on particular products!

Aly

UNSW
Science (Pathology) and Economics (Financial Economics)

Can you let us know what company you are working for and which area of the business you work in or which rotation you are currently in?

Risk 

What was the first 6 months like?  What have you really enjoyed? 

The first 6 months were really enjoyable not only from a professional growth perspective but also because I got to meet a lot of new people and make a lot of  friends through the program. In addition the first 6 months were also very challenging but equally rewarding, getting to understand how the bank operates and the intricacies of banking particularly with respect to risk management and its impact on our customers was very interesting, but it did take some time to get used to this new thought process. I have really enjoyed the entirety of the program but I think two standouts have been, the wide variety of work that I have been able to do, right from day 1 there has been no idle moment, where the tasks which I have been working toward, do not make a difference to the bank, its customers and its purpose. The second standout has been the involvement I have had in the graduate committee, particularly the graduate magazine “GradWrap”. Being part of a diverse team of grads who get to pen articles every two months has been an amazing experience not only in terms of the skills I have acquired, but the amazing people I have met.

Was your position with the Westpac Group Grad Program as you expected it to be? Did anything take you by surprise?

The position of a risk graduate was as I expected both in terms of the program and the work that we do, nothing surprising, as everything was made quite clear during the recruitment process in terms of what we could expect through the program i.e. support, rotations, post program opportunities. In addition, since I have joined these expectations have only been made more clear, so that the grads can truely focus on making the most of the program and developing a wide range of skills useful for their future careers. In terms of the work performed, I had a vague idea of how risk management works in general but I had never been exposed to it, in such a complex manner. It was a bit surprising to see the reliance of data that all risk teams have, even ones that many would deem as the qualitative risks.

Everyone is keen on maintaining work/life balance, with that in mind what is the longest day you have put in and have you worked weekends at all?

I have never had to work a weekend. The longest day I have worked, might have been till 8:30pm but that was only a one off.

On a day to day basis, what do you work on?

In risk typically you are doing one of three things within your team and with other colleagues in the bank. Regular oversight/control: This varies from team to team and can encompass running daily reports, developing models, writing memos or chairing daily meetings to convey to the wider business, what their risks are looking like. This is crucial, as it gives the business comfort, that the activities they are undertaking whether it be lending, transacting or even working toward tailored client solutions is being done in a controlled manner which is acceptable to the bank and in the interests of customers/stakeholders. These type of periodic oversight tasks usually culminate in either a weekly or monthly update to a wider part of the bank, so they are informed. In addition, there are many teams who do various types of these oversight activities, but could be in various forms, for example one team might perform controls and issues management, where as another team might produce a snapshot of the banks lending risks etc.

Process improvement/ projects/ insight: There is a big emphasis in risk management for us to always be optimising our processes to ensure we are capturing the most accurate information and thus presenting the clearest picture about the banks risk position to our stakeholders. These process improvement tasks usually take a longer time and could involve, designing new processes such as BI dashboards to convert manual reports to automated one. Alternatively it could be working towards a new policy or decisioning tool which could be used by one of our customer serving teams to help them make better decisions.

Working on bank wide projects: Another common task within risk is usually being a representative for risk on a larger project or strategic initiative the bank is working toward, whilst I have not been on any large ones myself, I know it is a very common thing for many risk staff to be a part off. Ensuring that all the initiatives the bank is looking to develop have input from teams who specialise in their respective area i.e. risk, finance, marketing etc.

Overall the work in risk is varied, but as a grad you will typically work on whatever the team is currently doing, some teams do not have daily oversight but do their tasks on a weekly or monthly basis, so in those you will be part of their projects or even get to run some of your own.

Have you worked on any projects at Westpac Group?

During my rotations I have worked on projects such as:

  • Working on data validation tools and process to help teams mitigate key risks around data quality and validation.
  • Working on developing BI dashboards to help teams better understand how they can leverage qualitative data to get a better overview of where the gaps are in their processes and provided clearer paths to action.

What systems do you use for your role in the graduate program?

Like most workplaces, Microsoft office is the base for all tasks, in addition to that teams typically use customised systems which could be internally developed as well. In general most work is done on the office suite.

What sort of support are you provided at Westpac Group?

The support received here is phenomenal, at every stage of the program right from accepting the offer, there has been extensive support provided. In terms of specifics, the support from work is excellent, especially in these trying times, there hasn’t been a moment, where employee safety and concerns haven’t been at the forefront of a decision made by the management. In terms of specifics, the bank offers a wide variety of programs right from vaccine roll out initiatives in recent times, to providing the right resources for you should you need them whatever the need may be.

In addition the wider teams which coordinate the graduate program are absolute aces, every question no matter how big the ask, is dealt with, to ensure that all grads feel welcomed. In terms of support from leaders, this is also really good, direct leaders are always open to hear your concerns and help you reach your goals whatever direction they may take. In addition, the leaders at the bank are always open and approachable - something I find always adds an extra layer of support should you need it.

What skills do you think you need to succeed in your role and do they differ from what you envisioned?

There are many skills which I think would be useful in the role of a graduate such as critical thinking, teamwork, communication, presentation, stakeholder management and many more. However there is one I think is most key and that is communication, but it's not just about writing an email or presenting a powerpoint or an idea, to succeed I think, engaging in active communication is essential. This is where, when you  tailor your communication style to suit the counter-party, sometimes there are people who like to be straight to the point, where as other times there are people who like to have a more casual chat before getting into the business of the day. Hence being able to tailor your communication style from time to time is very helpful in cultivating a positive working relationship.

I knew I would need all the mentioned skills above, but what I didn’t realise was how deeply integrated they were with one another till, I started working, as in university you are really trying to hone them one by one, but at work, often it is their combination which is the most powerful.

What are the best perks or benefits at Westpac Group?

A lot of perks, right from discounts to having in place support for a variety of situations which might need you to take leave. In addition there are a range of perks such as flexible working arrangements, access to other leading offerings to do with wellbeing, and a whole lot more!

Carlos

University of New South Wales
Bachelor of Information Systems

Can you let us know what company you are working for and which area of the business you work in or which rotation you are currently in? 

Transformation Delivery

What was the first 6 months like?  What have you really enjoyed? 

The first 6 months were more interesting than I expected. It was eye-opening to find out how much you can learn about yourself and a large organisation in such a short amount of time. What I really enjoyed was beginning to contribute to projects that were greater than just my vision, learning new soft and technical skills, and meeting all sorts of new people who would help shape my journey.

Was your position with the Westpac Group Grad Program as you expected it to be? Did anything take you by surprise?

Each position I've held (depending on rotation) has had more variety than I expected. You may hold a 'Graduate Business Analyst' role for example, but be asked to do far more than just that. Getting exposure to new areas such as Change management and Human Centred Design in addition to my title not only broadened my skill capabilities, but also showed that my leaders cared about my development.

Everyone is keen on maintaining work/life balance, with that in mind what is the longest day you have put it and have you worked weekends at all?

The longest day I've worked was 10 hours (including breaks). I have not had to work Saturdays.

On a day to day basis, what do you work on?

That depends on the role. In my first rotation I was assisting Business Analysts and a Scrum Master planning out Scrum Team activities, developing master information pages for reference, developing user stories/acceptance criteria for project iterations, and dabbling in some process map development and analysis. My second rotation involved assisting with the analysis of a new initiative that we were testing. This included facilitating meetings to discover the in's and out's of this initiative, drafting key deliverables that demonstrate a change in state from how we operated vs how we will operate with this new initiative, and in addition - developing communications and trainings that make bankers aware and prepared of such change. Currently I am helping to ensure that key objectives, funding and timelines for Transformation Projects align with the over strategic vision of the Bank, whether that be at a quarterly view or short-medium term perspective.

Have you worked on any projects at Westpac Group?

Mortgage Platform Design, Merchant Payments Solution Delivery, Institutional Bank Portfolio Delivery

What systems do you use for your role in the graduate program?

Jira, Confluence, Microsoft Office Suite, Holocentric/Modelpedia (sometimes), InVision (sometimes), Qualtrics, PowerAutomate

What sort of support are you provided at Westpac Group?

Health & Wellbeing Days, Regular check-ins with placement leaders/day to day managers/mentors, Care Packages from the Graduate Team, Seminars around personal and professional development, 24/7 access to online support content

What skills do you think you need to succeed in your role and do they differ from what you envisioned?

Listening skills, communication skills, analytical skills (understanding a problem and assisting with solution generation), note-taking skills, ability to have fun and connect with others, technical skills  (around using new softwares and sites), technological skills.

No, this aligns with what I expected.

What are the best perks or benefits at Westpac Group?

Health & wellbeing days, COVID vaccination leave, reward systems via peer nominations for awards, COVID Vaccinations, free professional and personal development seminars, benefits & discounts on banking and external products, salary sacrificing, access to internal trainings on a plethora of topics, access to clubs and associations

William

University of Adelaide
Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology

Can you let us know what company you are working for and which area of the business you work in or which rotation you are currently in? 

Financial Markets - Institutional Sales

What was the first 6 months like?  What have you really enjoyed?

My first 6 months have been fantastic - extremely steep learning curve but very supportive and positive environment. I have particularly enjoyed the effort that has been made to give me relevant, useful projects that give me the chance to learn skills I am interested in like coding and data analytics. 

Was your position with the Westpac Group Grad Program as you expected it to be? Did anything take you by surprise?

I was surprised by how generous people were with their time and the collaborativeness of the environment.

Everyone is keen on maintaining work/life balance, with that in mind what is the longest day you have put it and have you worked weekends at all?

The longest day I worked would have been 7:15am to 6:45pm. The lateness is not really expected.
I have never had to work a Saturday or had any contact with work on weekends.

On a day to day basis, what do you work on?

This varies from team to team. However, most days will include morning meetings where different teams discuss the markets, any data, news or moves. There will also often be a variety of morning admin tasks to update everyone on overnight news. There will sometimes also be other types of admin tasks that revolve around the bank's financial and regulatory obligations (e.g. updating daily P&L).

There was also a huge focus on communication, organising calls and meetings with experienced traders and salespeople to learn more about their jobs and about financial markets.

Personally my daily work was mostly project work. This included lots of data analytics, market research, and also projects to upgrade or automate existing processes.

I was given a large number of projects like this because I specifically asked for the opportunity to obtain these skills, so I really appreciated that.

Have you worked on any projects at Westpac Group?

I asked for opportunities to learn coding and data analysis, so some projects I was given were:

  • creating a process to clean and format a raw dataset of transaction data
  • building a pricing and risk calculator for structured securities
  • building a pricing and risk calculator for swaps and interest rate derivatives
  • researching cross-border relative value of bank bonds
  • researching historical currency moves and correlations
  • researching leading indicators for economic data
  • automating data importation and visualisation
  • speaking to team members to ensure data is integrated into their daily processes

What systems do you use for your role in the graduate program?

  • Excel (and full MS suite, Outlook, Teams, SharePoint etc)
  • Python
  • Tableau
  • QlikSense
  • Murex
  • Tradeweb
  • Yieldbroker

What sort of support are you provided at Westpac Group?

I get substantial support. Every grad at Westpac has a buddy from the previous year's grad cohort, a mentor from within the business, two grad managers for the cohort, their own grad manager for the year, and one or two people leaders in each team they rotate through. There are lots of people I can reach out to at any time if I need help.

The company has also been extremely communicative and focused on employee safety during COVID, especially with working from home arrangements, but also with vaccinations and sick leave.

What skills do you think you need to succeed in your role and do they differ from what you envisioned?

I think the most important skill anyone needs in this role is the curiosity and persistence to learn new skills. All the skills associated with the role can be learned by anyone with the right mentality, because the environment is so supportive to learning those skills.

I thought perhaps I would need more background in finance, maths or coding, but honestly that hasn't really been the case at all. If anything, the critical thinking approach I learned in my arts degree has come in handy a lot.

What are the best perks or benefits at Westpac Group?

Westpac is extremely flexible and supportive to workers which is a huge perk. It provides very good leave and extremely well priced employee banking discounts. It can pay for education and learning opportunities, and has overseas offices in major capitals. Westpac also gave me relocation assistance to move from Adelaide to Sydney.