Sandhya studied a double degree in Science (computer science) and Commerce (accounting) at the University of Queensland. During her penultimate year, she endeavoured to undertake a vacation placement with a smaller financial services firm within their tax team. Whilst Sandhya enjoyed her placement, she yearned for a more enriching and invigorating experience. Something was lacking, and she questioned herself, "where is the technology!?".
"I felt like I was stuck in the dinosaur age! Where were the cool apps and machine learning that long ago eradicated these tedious tax processes? What is casting this immense shadow across my desk? Oh...it’s just the leaning tower of legislation volumes my manager just assembled".
In an attempt to utilise her technology skills, Sandhya decided to apply for a vacationer role within the R&D team of the Tax business at PwC. Unbeknownst to her, Sandhya was eventually offered to join a brand new area of the business that would allow her to use both her commerce and technology skills to solve business problems with apps, websites and machine learning.
"I was offered a vacationer role within the Enterprise Digital team in the Brisbane office, and I then transferred to Sydney when offered a graduate role in the same team."
The ED team, is a unique group of professionals from technology and tax, that focus on creating digital solutions for business problems.
"Our team has a great dynamic - we work collaboratively and encourage input from all levels. Very rarely do you have an opportunity to work for a firm where you feel empowered to say to a partner 'I have a crazy idea' and then have them respond with 'Okay, let’s do it!'".
Sandhya says that every day in the office is completely different, whereby one day she could be travelling interstate to meet with a client’s management team to the next day learning how to do front-end and back-end coding, and putting that into practice by helping to code a GPS tracking app for fleet management purposes.
Before beginning her career at PwC, Sandhya admits she had not once considered PwC as an employer of choice, or even thought about the prospect of working for a ‘Big 4’.
"At University, there was absolutely no mention of the dire need for technology in business. I didn’t even realise that PwC offered jobs in technology and certainly would never have dreamt of using the words ‘PwC’ and ‘innovation’ in the same sentence! I soon learnt that in fact, PwC is very much in the business of creating custom digital solutions for the big technology giants themselves".
Sandhya believes that strength of the misconception that STEM students are all male and only work for IT and engineering companies is contributed to by the fact that nobody really speaks of the application of technology in business.
"In actuality, technology is at the heart of every successful business - it’s the glue that binds all the processes and elements of a business together. Whether that be by connecting employees, conducting analytical processes, data-crunching or artificial intelligence - technology revolutionises the way we work".
"As a STEM student, you have an amazing opportunity to help shape the future of the economy through innovation. You are in high demand because companies are recognising that the only thing separating their business from success is technology."
"PwC is leading the pack in refusing the provide stock-standard services to companies that need out-of-the-box solutions. It’s a very exciting place to be - especially so early in my career. PwC has given me an amazing opportunity to be part of the technology movement as it’s happening!".
So far, Sandhya attests that the highlights have been the level of responsibility, including one of her first projects which allowed her to design and code the prototype for PwC digital platforms. Further, Sandhya stands by the unique culture of PwC and highlights the benefits of the stance on ‘all roles flex’.
Sandhya’s future career aspirations include working on projects in the medical and health industries, but admits she’s not too fussed at this point in her career but is more focussed on ‘continuing to create cool things and inventing new ways for PwC to improve businesses’.
Interested in Sandhya’s story? Well here’s her number one tip for university students looking to follow in her footsteps:
"Try different things. Whether that be choosing different subjects and opting for electives, or taking part in a variety of vacation programs or internships. Don’t start your career unhappy - it’s unnecessary! As a STEM student, you are in high demand and have an amazing opportunity to be a part of so many fields and areas. Once you find your niche, pursue that and don’t give up!"
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