The UQ graduate

forging a successful
career in finance

Video: Getty Images nirat

Video: Getty Images nirat

It has been eight months since the first class of students graduated from the Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours) at The University of Queensland (UQ). In that time, the global COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the financial world and job market.

So, how has this cohort faired in the current climate, and how did their program prepare them to thrive in such widespread uncertainty?

According to Professor Stephen Gray, these students have secured a disproportionate share of the top investment banking jobs since their graduation.

Graduation group in gowns

Kate Mann graduating with the first Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics class. Image supplied by Kate.

Kate Mann graduating with the first Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics class. Image supplied by Kate.

The Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours) is an advanced and accelerated program with selective entry, small cohorts and heavy engagement with industry.

Kate Mann was one of the first students to enrol in the program in 2016. During her studies, Kate won a University Medal for achieving outstanding academic results, an award only five per cent of all first-class honours graduates receive.

It should come as no surprise, then, that she secured a role in her chosen industry soon after graduation.

"The program seamlessly combined economics and finance in a way that helped me to develop a flexible and transferrable skill set that is required to tackle the dynamic global economy", Kate says.

One of the unique opportunities this accelerated program offers students is the ability to work with world-class academic staff to establish strong links with leading employers.

Kate says she was fortunate enough during her studies to meet inspiring women in finance who encouraged her to explore her passions and try new things.

“In one class, my team had the opportunity to complete an assignment collaboratively with Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC).”

Image: Kate Mann

Kate Mann

The Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours) is an advanced and accelerated program with selective entry, small cohorts and heavy engagement with industry.

Kate Mann was one of the first students to enrol in the program in 2016. During her studies, Kate won a University Medal for achieving outstanding academic results, an award only five per cent of all
first-class honours graduates receive.

It should come as no surprise, then, that she secured a role in her chosen industry soon after graduation.

"The program seamlessly combined economics and finance in a way that helped me to develop a flexible and transferrable skill set that is required to tackle the dynamic global economy", Kate says.

One of the unique opportunities this accelerated program offers students is the ability to work with world-class academic staff to establish strong links with leading employers.

Kate says she was fortunate enough during her studies to meet inspiring women in finance who encouraged her to explore her passions and try new things.

“In one class, my team had the opportunity to complete an assignment collaboratively with Queensland Investment Corporation (QIC).”

Image: Kate Mann

Kate Mann
Kate Mann Speaking at the University of Queensland Economics Society, Event.

Image: Kate Mann Speaking at UQ Economics Society

Image: Kate Mann Speaking at UQ Economics Society

Kate Mann Speaking at the University of Queensland Economics Society, Event.

Image: Kate Mann Speaking at UQ Economics Society

Image: Kate Mann Speaking at UQ Economics Society

“Most of all, I loved having Professor Stephen Gray as a mentor.

“Steve worked tirelessly to ensure that our program was developed to meet the growing needs of the industry. He never hesitated to listen and incorporate student feedback into the program. This means that new students are now taking courses shaped by the industry experiences of those who have gone before them.”

"During my studies, I gained a solid academic framework and the necessary tools to excel in the workforce".

“I was fortunate enough to take on leadership roles in several of my courses and was the 2017 Sponsorship Director for the UQ Economics Society. These experiences shaped my soft skills and leadership skills, which are critical in a client-facing industry like finance.”

Image: Stephen Gray

Stephen Gray

“Most of all, I loved having Professor
Stephen Gray as a mentor.

“Steve worked tirelessly to ensure that our program was developed to meet the growing needs of the industry. He never hesitated to listen and incorporate student feedback into the program. This means that new students are now taking courses shaped by the industry experiences of those who have gone before them.”

"During my studies, I gained a solid academic framework and the necessary tools to excel in the workforce".

“I was fortunate enough to take on leadership roles in several of my courses and was the 2017 Sponsorship Director for the UQ Economics Society. These experiences shaped my soft skills and leadership skills, which are critical in a client-facing industry like finance.”

Image: Stephen Gray

Stephen Gray

The program also offers students the opportunity to forge lifelong personal and professional connections with their peers.

"The intimate Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours) cohort meant that I was lucky enough to meet people with the same drive, intellectual rigour and enthusiasm as myself", Kate says.
Kate Mann with friends graduating from a Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)

Image: Kate Mann with Jordan Ferrari and Laurie Bristow graduating from a Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)

Image: Kate Mann with Jordan Ferrari and Laurie Bristow graduating from a Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)

Ladies graduating, Graduation gowns, Great Court, The University of Queensland

Image: Kate Mann with Kaitlin Priestley, Annabelle van der Jagt, and Abbey Smith graduating from a Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)

Image: Kate Mann with Kaitlin Priestley, Annabelle van der Jagt, and Abbey Smith graduating from a Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)

Family photograph graduation, graduation gown.

Image: Kate Mann on her graduation day with her parents, Antonetta Mann and Dr Jeffrey Mann, who is also a UQ alumnus.

Image: Kate Mann on her graduation day with her parents, Antonetta Mann and Dr Jeffrey Mann, who is also a UQ alumnus.

Kate Mann, Graduation, Great Court, The University of Queensland, UQ BS

Image: Kate Mann.

Image: Kate Mann.

Ladies graduating, Graduation gowns, Great Court, The University of Queensland

Image: Kate Mann with Kaitlin Priestley, Annabelle van der Jagt, and Abbey Smith graduating from a Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)

Image: Kate Mann with Kaitlin Priestley, Annabelle van der Jagt, and Abbey Smith graduating from a Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)

Family photograph graduation, graduation gown.

Image: Kate Mann on her graduation day with her parents, Antonetta Mann and Dr Jeffrey Mann, who is also a UQ alumnus.

Image: Kate Mann on her graduation day with her parents, Antonetta Mann and Dr Jeffrey Mann, who is also a UQ alumnus.

Kate Mann, Graduation, Great Court, The University of Queensland, UQ BS

Image: Kate Mann.

Image: Kate Mann.

"University life can be daunting, and so can entering the real world, but it was assuring to know that I was not alone and that I could rely on those in my network to provide support and encouragement."

These connections proved to be a comfort to her during the 2020 border closures between Queensland and New South Wales that occurred as a result of COVID-19.

“I didn’t anticipate the borders would remain closed for as long as they did, so I decided to stay in Sydney. I found it quite hard to be away from my family during the crisis, but I felt fortunate to have a wonderful network, including many UQ alumni, in Sydney that I could rely on”, Kate says.

covid 19 finance drop, Digital generated image of financial line chart showing fallings because of coronavirus COVID-19 on blue background.

Image: Getty Images Andriy Onufriyenko

Image: Getty Images Andriy Onufriyenko

Since graduating, Kate secured a role as a Corporate Advisory Analyst at Lazard after successfully navigating the 2020 Graduate Recruitment process.

In her role, Kate provides support to the more senior members of her team on projects by assisting with research, creating presentations and excel modelling.

Kate says completing the Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours) at UQ trained her to think about the bigger picture and how the current global pandemic will create an impact at micro and macroeconomic levels. It also taught her the importance of an agile business strategy and to strive to remain one step ahead of the pack.

“Given the ever-changing global landscape, I think it’s unrealistic to have a specific career aspiration.”

“I hope that I can continue to work in a finance/business-related role, but most importantly, I aspire to embody the same determination, fearlessness, and tenacity as the many inspiring women that I had the honour of working alongside during my internships over the last few years.”

Kate’s advice for those who have recently graduated or will be soon is to avoid being too harsh on yourself.

"It’s inevitable in your first year of work that you will face a learning curve and that you’ll make mistakes. I have learnt over the last six months that the best way to improve is to take setbacks in your stride and take each day as a new learning experience."

Image: Kate Mann

Kate Mann graduating from a Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)

“Given the ever-changing global landscape, I think it’s unrealistic to have a specific career aspiration.”

“I hope that I can continue to work in a finance/business-related role, but most importantly, I aspire to embody the same determination, fearlessness, and tenacity as the many inspiring women that I had the honour of working alongside during my internships over the last few years.”

Kate’s advice for those who have recently graduated or will be soon is to avoid being too harsh on yourself.

"It’s inevitable in your first year of work that you will face a learning curve and that you’ll make mistakes. I have learnt over the last six months that the best way to improve is to take setbacks in your stride and take each day as a new learning experience."

Image: Kate Mann

Kate Mann graduating from a Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours)

The strong cohort effect fostered in the program inspired the first graduating cohort of The Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics (Honours) program to establish the UQ BAFE Giving Society in 2019. This initiative allows those who have graduated from the program to support and give back to students commencing their studies who may otherwise never have pursued the program because of financial disadvantage.

For more information about the UQ BAFE Society Prize, contact Steve Francis.

Learn more about UQ’s

Bachelor of Advanced Finance and Economics
(Honours)
program