Over the years, IQ Group has developed a great Graduate Program to kick-start the careers of new graduates and introduce them to the world of superannuation consulting.
With our 2019 Graduate Program well underway, we thought it would be a great opportunity to check in with our team of Graduates, Carmen Yang, Justin Robb and Damien Huynh, to find out what work they are doing and their motivations for joining the program.
Left to Right: Damien, Carmen and Justin.
Q.) How long have you been in the IQ Group Graduate Program?
Damien: Well, Carmen and I have been here for a month.
Carmen: Yeah, just a month.
Justin: I started the last week of January, so I’ve been here almost 2 months now.
Q.) What were you doing before joining the program?
Carmen: I was finishing my master thesis at the University of Auckland prior to coming on board.
Damien: Well I was just watching Netflix – nah I’m joking! I just finished my degree and graduated in December.
Justin: I recently transitioned from a completely different career. I’ve been in teaching for the last several years, and prior to that I was in IT. I’ve been jumping around and trying to figure things out, and I’ve figured out where I want to settle.
Q.) What motivated you to apply?
Damien: I was looking for a job that would give me exposure to different companies. I didn’t want to be stuck with the typical 9-5 job. I wanted to experience something different and to develop problem-solving skills and apply those to the companies that I was working for. IQ Group provided that, which was really good. That was one of the points that made me want to apply.
Justin: So as I mentioned previously, I was working in a different industry for quite a while. I’d been thinking for a while, due to some industry instability, that I wanted to get back into something that was more stable.
After hashing it out with my wife for quite a while, figuring out what I was going to do and how I was going to get there, I ended up meeting with Brian [IQ Group’s CEO] while he was in Sydney in June last year. Brian asked if I’d thought about coming and seeing IQ Group. He explained that the Graduate Program had been completely revamped and was very different from the last time I had worked there. So after looking around at a number of different job boards and workplaces, I found the Graduate Program to be the best fit for me in terms of getting back into the industry. The exposure is huge, as Damien said, and it’s a great way of getting into a lot of different businesses and gaining different skills, experiences and building a really good career foundation for myself.
Carmen: So I had similar career aspirations and knew I wanted to get into consulting. I decided to apply because of the reach of companies and the scope of learning I could do. As Belinda [IQ Group’s Resourcing Manager] was interviewing me, she told me about the various roles that they offer. There are four different streams and there’s a chance to see which of them I like. I was very interested in this because I want to be a jack-of-all trades.
Q.) What work have you been doing as part of the program?
Damien: Our first 4 weeks in, they sent us to [a client] and I was placed in the PMO team, helping out with support. While I’ve been working there, I’ve been attending meetings, taking minutes, shadowing project managers and learning exactly what the process is when starting a new project up to its launch date.
Carmen: I work in the CRM testing platform team. Over the last three weeks I’ve been doing a lot of Salesforce work and testing. What I’ve been doing is helping with [a client] transition and data dictionaries, and helping with Salesforce testing.
Justin: I spent the first week just going through the motions, learning what consulting is, about IQ Group and what we are doing in terms of super and our clients. I have done a lot of LinkedIn Learning to up my skillset, and we’re learning BABOK and RG146 to get qualified for consulting work.
In terms of my client, I started off there doing a little bit of admin and backlog clearing. There’s a lot of the clients user documentation that needed cleaning quite urgently.
And recently I’ve jumped on a new project that’s started up in the last couple of months with Pam and her team. Without going into too much detail, I’ve been doing a lot of data mapping work. Due to the ramifications of what we do, I can’t say too much about it, but I’ve been quite heavily involved with the project manager, product managers, lead [Business Analyst’s] (BA’s) and people at all levels in order to generate this program.It’s been great being an integral part of a key project for our client and helping them to deliver a new product to their clients. While it’s been a challenge to step up to the responsibility this early, I’m really enjoying it.
Q.) What have been the highlights of working with IQ Group?
Damien: The highlight for me has been just being able to experience firsthand what it’s like to be a consultant. This years’ graduates were fortunate to engage with clients very early. I think the method IQ Group has adopted enabled us to get an early preview of what we should be expecting. And the people are really nice, which is really important; especially when you’re looking at the kind of company you want to work for.
Carmen: For me it’s similar. The thing I’ve enjoyed the most has been getting hands-on with the client-facing roles. Getting to know the ins and outs of IQ Group and the client early on has been really rewarding. Another thing that I’ve enjoyed has been the support we’ve been given from the IQ staff every time. Especially my team leader, Steven, and the support and guidance he has been giving us since we got here has been really helpful. The people and the culture have been really nice.
Justin: When I was looking at making my career change, the thing that I really wanted to get into was BA work. I was looking into what BA’s do and the skillsets required, and I thought this is something that’s right up my alley and it’s exactly what I’m looking for.
When I was doing my initial interview with Pam, I explained BA experience is what I’m after, and she said being a BA is what she does and that’s the type of work I would get. It’s been pretty awesome to jump straight into work, get all of that down and start applying some of it at the client sites and to know that the pathway is there.
It’s great to know that I have goals in place to get to where I want in future, and that there are people who have already done it supporting me to get there. They know exactly what to do and can answer pretty much anything I come up with in terms of a struggle or problem. It’s really good to know that there is that support in place.
Anyone who starts a Graduate Program has probably just finished a whole bunch of study and to then be told ‘well, now that you’re working, you’re going to spend another 2 or 3 months studying some more’ isn’t really what they want to hear. Being able to get onto the client site straight away is definitely a bonus. Learning hands-on is very useful for both the company and ourselves.
To find out more about IQ Groups Graduate Program, visit: http://www.iqgroup.com.au/graduate-program/