Why a graduate program can kick-start your career

Find out what a graduate program can do for your career

Kelly Smith CPA knows first-hand how important a graduate program is at the beginning of an accounting or finance career.

Not only has she completed Suncorp’s Graduate Program, but part of her current role as Manager Group Performance Management is to look after every aspect of the program.

“I’m really proud to say that six years after starting at Suncorp as a graduate, I’m now managing the Finance Graduate Program. I am involved in everything from recruitment through to when they [the graduates] finish the program,” Kelly says.

Read More: 6 things you need to know about scoring your first job.

The 28-year-old says even though the competition to gain a position in a graduate program is tough, the breadth of experience you will get through a graduate program is worth it.

“With Suncorp’s graduate program you get to see the different parts of the company, how it operates and have the chance to meet so many different people. As a graduate, the program helps to define your career path,” Kelly says.

But being an accountant wasn’t Kelly’s first career choice.

She had originally planned on becoming a corporate lawyer, while studying a double degree in Law and Business at Griffith University on the Gold Coast.

“I actually realised that business subjects were a lot more enjoyable and I was a lot more passionate about those… that’s why I decided to choose accounting as a career,” Kelly says.

You may be interested in: 3 things to help you find a career that you’ll love.

Since graduating, Kelly has been studying the CPA Program and has recently been awarded the CPA designation.  

 “I’m really proud to be a CPA. I think it’s a big accomplishment. So I was excited to walk up onstage and get my award,” she says. 

“The number one thing I got out of the CPA Program is the way it teaches you to use accounting information to support and influence decision-making,” Kelly added.

Graduate job application tips:

Kelly’s top three tips to people who are applying for a graduate position:

1. Learn as much as you can about the company

2. Know why you’re applying to a specific company

3. Give yourself enough time to plan your application

As for Kelly’s future ambitions, she wants to become Australia’s next strategic business leader.

“Bill Gates once said that ‘leaders are those who empower others’ and that has really stuck with me. That’s what I hope to be one day,” Kelly says.

Kelly Smith CPA is a leader to look out for in the future. 


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