"Check-ins happened everyday – twice a day, in fact – to make sure everyone was doing OK. We knew what each person would be having for lunch and dinner, and we were introduced to babies and fur babies. It was a really positive experience to go into such a welcoming team that was willing to share their lives outside of work with each other.
“I've practiced yoga for a few years, so being part of the Grad Committee, I was able to put my passions to good use and organise virtual Yoga sessions with my cohort. We’d organise an array of virtual activities such as exercise and stretch sessions, as well as everything from trivia, to mindfulness and meditation, to brekkies and lunches.
“Throughout all the uncertainty of 2020, CommBank remained that positive yellow light, that brand that I was so proud to join and be part of. No grey cloud could have outshone my time as a grad.”
Henrietta, RBS Marketing Graduate, Bachelor of Commerce
“I’m a country boy at heart. Growing up on a sheep and cattle farm, I didn’t think I’d end up working at a bank. It was a careers fair back in 2018 that got me thinking about taking a step into the city offices. CommBank offered me the opportunity to do this.
“When I first started working as an intern in Tamworth, I gained firsthand experience supporting our customers. I was looking forward to my rotations when I joined as a grad, however within the first month, a few other grads from the Business Banking (BB) cohort and I were asked to support the Verification and Validation (V&V) team to help customers with loan applications. Our office was large enough to cater to the smaller team, and we spread out across the floor to physical distance. To keep everyone safe, our team was split in half, so one week we’d be in the office and the next week we’d work from home.
“If I hadn’t been seconded into the V&V team, I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to work alongside other grads from the BB cohort. We were all going through the same experience, being asked to move from our rotations and into business-critical areas so we could better support customers. Together we built a comradery that helped us get through those tough few months.
"Throughout the Grad Program I was involved in the Graduate Social and Community Committee. We held regular Skype catch-ups with the cohort, who were spread right across Australia, and put together a Can4Cancer team that went on to raise more than $7,000 for cancer research and together ran the distance between Melbourne and Brisbane.
“A couple of years back I thought about relocating to Sydney, and here I am packing my bags about to head off to the big city to start my final rotation as a BB graduate.
“Who knows where the future at CommBank will take me? Wherever it is, I’m excited.”
Brad, Business Banking Graduate, Bachelor of Agriculture
“I’ve always loved the outdoors. Hiking, camping, and swimming – wherever there’s nature, you’ll find me there. I’ve recently taken up road cycling, and while I can’t hop on a plane, I do feel like I’m travelling every time I hop on my bike.
“Working from home freed up my calendar a lot. It allowed me to introduce a longer walk, swim or cycle to my morning routine and have a relaxed breakfast before starting my work day. I found my time was more focused and less interrupted. I was structuring my day in a way that allowed me to be more intentional and more productive. I put some restrictions on myself like keeping my personal phone away from my working space so I was in the zone to get things done.
“I learned to reach out to people early and often, which helped me stay connected to my peers. It was especially important for me to set up these relationships while working virtually, because they made it possible to quickly troubleshoot any issues I had with a message over Skype.
“My weekends are spent out in nature or baking Swiss bread (zoepfe) for my roommates and I’m glad my weekdays at work are so fulfilling, even during a time like COVID. Being self-aware of what motivates me to have a positive impact on the lives of customers and communities really drives me to wake up and switch on my laptop every day.”
Julia, RBS Commercial Graduate, Bachelor of Creative Intelligence Innovation & Communication
“I’ve always had a passion for fast cars. From age 12 I started racing around in go-karts, which took me all over Australia to compete. It’s now become more of a hobby – something that really gets the adrenaline going. With a keen interest for the intricacies of cars, I always assumed I would enjoy engineering. But as it so happened, that Institutional Banking & Markets (IB&M) was where I found myself interested in.
“The Graduate Academy within IB&M was something I really looked forward to. I was in the team for my first month as a CommBank grad and worked on everything from training programs to case studies. That first month was great because I was able to make friends, network and be in the office.
“By the end of March, the transition to working from home began. Some of the work I was supporting during my first rotation meant it suited me better to come into the office a few times a week to get what I needed done. This meant I got to know my way around the buildings while it was quiet.
“Throughout those first few months, communication lines remained open among my direct team and the network I had built in the Grad Academy. People were really receptive to taking calls and just having a chat to keep connected. Within the Grad Program, whenever we had a virtual chat with the wider cohort, I noticed people were more comfortable asking questions in a chat room then they normally would be face to face.
“The thing that drew me to CommBank was how people-oriented it was, accepting people from all disciplines – not just finance.”
“I work with a great bunch of people who come to the floor with different thought processes. It was also the mobility and opportunity to experience such a wide range of teams and skill sets, to have conversations about everything from the intricacies of cars to what’s going on in the world around us, that made me sure this was the place for me.”
Liam, Institutional Banking & Markets Graduate, Bachelor of Applied Finance & Economics
“According to a few close friends of mine, I'm someone who’d chop down all the trees if you left me in the woods, just to stay busy. On the weekends you’ll find me doing everything from snorkelling and pottery to hikes and looking after my plant babies. I’ve always had an interest in technology but didn’t think it would be something I’d find a career in.
“Getting into the Enterprise Services grad cohort and working among developers and UX designers was a steep learning curve – very challenging but also incredibly rewarding.”
“I stayed well connected with my team and the cohort through COVID. We’d have 15-minute daily check-ins and weekly team catch-ups. The question that was always asked was, ‘how can we support each other better?’ At the end of the week we’d have virtual fun Fridays, where one person would lead and organise something fun for the rest of us to participate in. It could’ve been anything from trivia to ‘guess that baby’ (after we all sent in our baby photos).
“Similarly, as grads we stayed connected through an initiative called ‘Facts and Snacks’ (F&S). F&S was born out of a mutual thirst for knowledge sharing, snacks and connecting with our peers. The aim was for grads to share their experiences, insights and knowledge once a fortnight over lunch or delicious snacks. We heard about everything from free diving to game design.
"When we started working from home, I strived to stay self-disciplined and motivated. My morning routine often included waking up at 6:30am to go for a one-hour walk (getting my step count up) while listening to a podcast of choice, getting in the morning news, sneaking in a 30-minute high-intensity workout, centring myself spiritually through reading the Bible, and making a coffee or smoothie before I opened my laptop. I had a sense of accountability and commitment working from home and in a new area, so I chose to do what I could to take control of my day – and combat the chaos that was 2020!”
Lydia, Technology Graduate, Bachelor of Business & Law