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What does a graduate program and a sushi train have in common? Your first year of working in a corporate is a bit like a sushi train experience – there are plenty of moving parts, bright lights, and a wide array of dishes to try. Do you go for it early and grab all the dishes coming around, or do you pace yourself, observe the variety of options and then choose your dishes?
In March 2018, I joined Deloitte as a graduate in the Marketing, Communications, and Business Development (MCBD) team. Our department supports the firm across a broad spectrum of needs including marketing campaigns, client experience, relationship programs and, strategy development. It’s a two year graduate program with six-month rotations across different teams, and a rare opportunity to taste the entree before you order the banquet.
My first year as a marketing graduate was a tasty and filling meal, packed with plenty of new learning experiences, flavours, and a generous side of personal growth. There were definitely some juicy challenges, but overall, I’m more than satisfied and give it a five star rating.
There is always a story to be told when there are five stars to a meal. Here are five lessons I learnt in my first year as a graduate:
1. Talent will get you in, mindset will move you forward – You made it! You have been selected because of your unique combination of experience and skills. However, the most rewarding achievements will come as you develop your mindset of growth. I personally found that regular reflection enabled me to focus during periods of uncertainty. What did I learn this month? How will I bounce back when I make a mistake? How will I do things differently in the future?
2. An open mind, will open doors – When you’re presented with a new project or a new way of working, be open to change. Having an open mind towards new ideas breeds creativity and widens the art of the possible. As someone who is traditionally a structured thinker, I initially found the amount of change overwhelming. However the minute I adapted to perceive each experience as an opportunity to learn, plenty of things began to fall into place.
3. Competition makes us faster, collaboration makes us better – If you have a passion or expertise in a certain area, you are bound to find like-minded individuals pursuing excellence at work – at least where I work! A collaborative environment is one of my favourite things about working at Deloitte. Although other MCBD graduates are based in Sydney, we make time to have regular calls to share our learning experiences and ideas on how to do things better. Building genuine relationships with those who are moving in the same direction will provide you with a channel for regular feedback, increase your ability to innovate, and spur on your enthusiasm for success.
4. Mentors make measurable impact – The great thing about being a graduate is that you will have many people to learn from. As you forge your own path, find mentors who are modelling the type of behaviours you want to mirror. What makes a good mentor? Ask yourself, “Is this person living the kind of life you want to live in the future? Does this person seem to genuinely care about your development as a person? Are they generous with their time and ideas?” I have found that the best mentoring relationships come out of shared values and a genuine interest in each other.
5. Manage your energy and resilience – A change in environment and a steep learning curve means it will take time for you to adjust to a new lifestyle. Making time for my wellbeing is something I wish I managed better. In my first six months, I was simply exhausted. I overestimated my capacity outside of work and didn’t have the courage to say “no” to things. Now, I am learning to ask myself in true Marie Kondo style, “does this activity spark joy?” I have found I experience joy in taking classes at the gym. For others, this may be going out with friends after work, or taking your dog for a walk. Whatever it is, find what works for you and create a space for it in your calendar.
There will be a vast selection of flavoursome opportunities to experience in your career. So remember to pace yourself – and enjoy the journey.
Bianca is the Marketing lead for Deloitte Australia’s Consumer Products and Retail sectors. She forms part of Deloitte’s Marketing, Communications and Business Development team to support the Consumer practice in driving campaigns across a range of sectors including food, agribusiness, automotive and retail. With over 7 years of marketing experience (consumer, agency and professional services), Bianca holds a Bachelor of Commerce (marketing & management) and is a recipient of the Monash Business School Strategic Management Award. She is part of Deloitte’s 2021 Inspiring Women’s Program and was also selected for Deloitte’s 2020 Unleashing Social Leaders Program. Bianca has a passion for digital marketing, consumer businesses and making a positive societal impact.