24 December 2014

Virgin Money Mentoring Program

From the moment I first started studying at the University of Sydney, I have been involved with the Inspired by Business Program. Through this program, I was provided with a unique mentoring opportunity with professionals working for Virgin Money Australia. I was fortunate enough to have been partnered with Brian Bissaker, who was appointed CEO of Virgin Money in April 2013, and before that, had conquered a long and high-profile career in financial services.

During our first session, we discussed a variety of my goals, and I described some of my work preferences. From this, Brian identified a number of roles that were within the financial services industry that may complement my personality. He provided a number of examples from his own career and taught me about certain jobs that I never considered, and some that I didn’t even know existed. From this, I was provided with information that allowed me to really narrow down and understand where I would eventually like to gain employment, and once this was identified, I could really make sure that I was taking the correct steps towards achieving that goal in the future. During this time, I was also in the process of applying to internships as I’m currently in my penultimate year of study. Brian was really helpful here, as he ran through interview tips, and allowed me to ask him a number of questions about what employers might typically look for. Through this preparation, I was instilled with the confidence to sit through an interview and not feel too nervous about it.

In our second session, we went through skills development. Here, I was provided with the opportunity to discover what skills I currently had and also learn about which skills I might need to acquire before I complete my degree. Brian went through a range of skills he himself has found to be important, and I was able to ask him about the specific roles I was interested in, and what abilities would be advantageous in such fields.  This really helped me understand what I might need to do to achieve my goals.

In our final session, Brian and I went through a CV Review. I found this to be particularly useful since I was at that stage of my education where it was important to try and secure an internship. I was very eager to learn about what could be changed on my resume, and what could make me stand out among other candidates. I always had the idea that with resumes, the best bet was to keep everything short and concise, but through Brian, I actually learned that employers appreciate the details about your previous work experience, any of your personal interests as well as any educational accomplishments because they often use the resume to try and get to know the person who’s applying for the role, and they appreciate when your personality can shine through your writing.

That last session was in the early days of November. Currently, a month following the Virgin Money Mentoring Experience, I have begun working as an intern in financial services, I have a clear vision of where I want to go in terms of career progression once I finish university, and I definitely know more about what path I might need to take to get there. This has been a truly insightful experience, and I’m very grateful to Brian and everyone involved.

Ivana Dimic

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