MAFC Alumni speak out – why I moved from the science lab into start-ups
Many people feel ‘locked into’ a research career after completing their PhD, but I didn’t see it that way.
I started in R&D with Melbourne-based start-up Nexvet Biopharma which was developing antibody drugs for pets. As the company grew I was offered a corporate role in which I supported the legal and finance teams as we prepared to list on the Nasdaq. I managed due diligence, prepared shareholder documentation, maintained company share registers, and assisted with Australian R&D tax credit requirements. I saw the finance team as key decision makers of the business. I knew that if I wanted to be a senior executive, I needed to understand and speak the language of finance. I enrolled in the Master of Applied Finance course. Following Nexvet’s successful US$40m IPO, the company created a new role for me as director of Alliance Management where I managed projects across the company as well as with our external commercial partners. Nexvet is now in the process of being acquired by the world’s biggest animal health company and I have now moved into consulting for other start-ups. The skills and knowledge the Master of Applied Finance course have given me will be critical for obtaining the rewarding senior leadership roles that interest me. While challenging, the Master of Applied Finance course content has developed my ability to deal with new concepts and deliver added value for my clients. The friends I’ve made and the network of alumni at MAFC have been entirely supportive, and are enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge and experience.
Ellie Virtue will complete her Macquarie University Master of Applied Finance in 2017. She is currently consulting to technology start-ups.
MAFC Alumni speak out – how I managed my successful career change
Renata Das graduated in the Macquarie University Master of Applied Finance in 2013. She is an Associate Advisor in a high net wealth team at JBWere.
"I come from a ‘sciencey’ family so I studied veterinary science at Melbourne University before working at my first job in Gippsland in a mixed vet practice in dairy cattle. I moved to England after a few years and did a variety of jobs including looking after the Calvary and Kings Troupe horses as well as the security, bomb and attack dogs for the British Army in Leicestershire. In 2008, I returned to Melbourne to locum but found it wasn’t the most rewarding career with little continuity or consistency with clients. It was part of the catalyst for me looking to finance. At the time I was also surrounded by finance people including my husband, and I had a number of friends who had made a career shift from vet science to finance. They told me about the Master of Applied Finance course at Macquarie Applied Finance Centre. I deliberated for six months, taking a trip to South America, before embarking on the MAFC course. Not having a finance background, the Master was a great way for me to get a solid backdrop of knowledge. My study helped me to get a job at JBWere as an analyst. It also enabled me to establish a very broad network within the industry. My classmates were a great source of support throughout the course and now, as an alumni network, they have been fantastic professionally, and socially. I am not originally from Sydney so it has been very valuable to establishing a network of connections here. It is often easy to get caught up being busy because you are trying to juggle work and study. The alumni network is a key strength of the course. I wish I had known this earlier in the piece as I would have focused on it sooner, and would have prioritised cultivating relationships in all classes."
Position: Associate Director, Project Finance, HSBC Bank Australia Limited
Farrah works in the Global Banking team for one of the world's largest banking and financial services organisations, HSBC. She manages large scale infrastructure accounts, assess credit risk, financial performance and environmental and social sustainability. Hear from MAppFin graduate Farrah Behan about how a postgraduate qualification took her career to the next level.
Kalmar Equipment, Victoria International Container Terminal
Master of Applied Finance, Current Student
I chose to study the Master of Applied Finance because I have long held an interest in the field. My background is engineering and I have worked in a range of areas including Defence (systems engineering), Mining (control systems), and Ports (automation).
When thinking about the next 5-10 years I always first choose an area of interest and second, try to figure what the future trends might be. I chose Macquarie because it offered the greatest flexibility for me, in terms of location, subject choice and of course lecturers with strong industry experience.
The MAppFin has so far provided me with a deeper and broader understanding of the financial industry. I have developed an understanding of the principles involved in project evaluation, funding decisions and financial risk management.
Position: Head of Exposure Management and Dealing, BT Investment Management
“The reputation of the program and the strength of the teaching staff is what sets the Master of Applied Finance from Macquarie University apart from other qualifications.”
Position: Global Head of Loan Management, Institutional Portfolio Management, ANZ
“From studying my Masters of Applied Finance with Macquarie I was able to acquire knowledge and insights that I didn’t have previously which have proven very helpful in what I do. Also whenever the topic of education comes up in conversations, there is an instant recognition of Macquarie University which helps with networking.”
Position: Senior Manager, Macquarie Bank
Brooke is a part-time student studying at our Melbourne centre and working full-time at Macquarie Bank and as a Senior Manager. Hear how Brooke manages to make his MAppFin studies fit around his work and family commitments.
Study Load: Part-time
Position: Executive Manager Group Learning, Suncorp
Julie finished the Master of Applied Finance in 2007 while working in a finance role, she has since moved into a senior HR role at Suncorp as the Executive Manager of Group Learning. She believes this makes her unique – as the only HR professional with a MAppFin in Australia. Hear how the Master of Applied Finance has help shape Julie's career and how she finds it incredibly useful in a non-finance role.
“I chose to undertake my Masters of Applied Finance with Macquarie University because it is unique as it gives a very good perspective of fund management, corporate finance, derivatives and so on therefore giving middle level managers a better appreciation of the synergies that can be built cross asset classes and disciplines.”
MAppFin Alumna, 2014
- Winner, KPMG Prizes in Risk Management
- Winner, Best Performance in Legal Risk in Finance
- Mentee, NAB/MAFC Women's Mentoring Program 2014
- Senior Consultant, Financial Services, EY
Daniela studied as a full-time student at Macquarie University's North Ryde Campus. Originally from Germany, she came Australia to study the MAppFin. Hear about Daniela’s background, how she found the program and what she enjoyed most about her studies and her classmates.
"I really liked the practical approach and that all students had professional work experience. I enjoyed Financial Risk Management and Financial Instruments as they were what I had worked in before, and they helped me to better understand why certain products are sold or not sold and why the banking industry introduces certain policies and measures. I understand a lot more of what is going on 'behind the scenes' and why products are being traded, sold or used. I enjoyed being in a group full-time students from all over the world, and in one of my favourite cities!"
Head of Financial Institution Solutions, National Australia Bank
Master of Applied Finance, 2005
“I am still in contact with a lot of fellow MAppFin alumni, we get together often and bounce ideas off each other, there are a lot of people in the market who have done the program.”
Matt completed his MAppFin in 2005. Upon graduating he progressed his career to the senior position of Head of Group Capital Management, Group Treasury at National Australia Bank. Hear about his career and the insights he has gained along the way.
Advisor, Resolution & Enforcement at APRA
Master of Applied Finance, 2014
Brendon completed the Master of Applied Finance in 2014 at our Sydney CBD centre as a part-time student, whilst working full time at Australian Bankers' Association as Associate Director - Industry Policy and Economics.
Find out how Brendon finds the structure and content of the program, as well as the insights he has gained so far.
MAppFin Alumnus, 2014
- Winner, Finsia Prize for Best Performance by a full-time student completing first year of the MAppFin
- Winner, Best Performance in Investments
- Senior Accountant, William Buck Chartered Accountants and Advisers
"I wanted to focus my studies in corporate finance and the MAppFin Program was a great complement to the valuation and financial modelling skills many of us had begun developing in our previous work experience."
"The electives helped me fully understand corporate finance from the viewpoint of various industry players, such as corporates, investment banks, and private equity funds. I also learned more about the range of activities that take place in the financial sector. My classmates came from many different backgrounds and geographies, and working with them through each of the assignments gave us the opportunity to share our knowledge and perspectives."
Position: Chief Financial Officer of HSBC Singapore
“The portability of the course was a major attraction to me. I recalled I could finish an elective in Singapore and take the examination in one of the other locations. Portability and flexibility is particularly important for executives who have high mobility across different countries.”
Position: Managing Director, Head of Financial and Official Institutions Group, BNP Paribas
John finished his MAppFin in 1995 and now holds a senior position at BNP Paribas. Click through to hear about John's experience of the program, how it has helped him in his career to date, as well as further insights he has to share.
"The MAppFin provided me with practical and extensive learning experiences. It provided the means to understand business quickly, which is really beneficial to managing business and setting strategy."
“The Master of Applied Finance is a premier finance course and was an obvious choice. With the knowledge and networking it served it added great value to perform my role and also my capacity for bigger responsibility... and it has certainly looked good on my business cards! People do give me the respect knowing that I had completed the course. It has certainly helped to raise my competency and qualification, not to mention my resume.”
Position: Team Leader, Dow Jones & Company
"I chose Macquarie’s MAF program as it is well-known in the Asia Pacific region and the only finance postgraduate program in China that is taught by experts with substantial industry experience as well as extensive academic qualifications. This program has substantially improved my understanding of the financial markets and has helped me do a better job."
Position: Head of Offshore Banking Unit, Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Ultan completed his Master of Applied Finance in 2002 and now holds a senior position within the Commonwealth Bank. Click through to hear how the MAppFin qualification has helped his career, as well as his advice to those thinking about undertaking the program.
"The Master of Applied Finance demystified many of the assumed complexities surrounding the world of finance. It helped me to think more strategically and that was instrumental in my career progression."