Meet our Graduates

Read about graduates and their experiences working at the Reserve Bank.

Serena Russell

Analyst, International Department

Photograph of Selena Russell
While a background in economics and/or finance is very helpful, I would encourage anyone with an interest in policy and a keen analytical mind to apply.

What's your role about?

I'm in the International Financial Markets team which monitors a range of advanced economies and emerging markets, but my role focuses on developments in China specifically. This involves daily tracking of fiscal and monetary policies, debt, equity and money markets and market expectations, as well as longer-term analytical work on policy and the development and functioning of financial markets more generally. This, combined with the work from other members of the International Department, helps to keep our colleagues informed about major market developments and supports the policy discussions that occur at the RBA.

What's your background?

I grew up in Perth, Western Australia and maths and numbers has always been my thing. Because of this, my high school education was primarily focused on maths and science, and when I enrolled at the University of Western Australia I decided to major in engineering. However, I quickly discovered that I had little passion for the subject so I enrolled in a few economics units to try something new and quickly fell in love. I had no idea that economics involved so much maths! After that, my path was set and I graduated UWA with an Honours degree in economics before moving to Sydney to begin my career as a Graduate at the RBA.

What other backgrounds would you encourage to apply in this stream?

While a background in economics and/or finance is very helpful, I would encourage anyone with an interest in policy and a keen analytical mind to apply. A background in data sciences would also be very valuable, as a key part of the role involves analysing and interpreting data.

What do you enjoy the most about your role?

It's hard to pick one thing – there are so many aspects of my role at the RBA that I love! I must say though, one of my favourite parts is the passion for research and learning that I see all over the RBA. There is such a wealth of knowledge amongst all of my colleagues, and everyone is always so excited and willing to share what they know. There is so much interesting work going on here and I am always learning new things about a whole range of diverse topics!

What are the challenges in your role?

Jumping straight into analysis on China, an economy with an incredibly complex and unique financial system, was tough. My studies had focused more on the real economy, so my knowledge of financial markets was quite sparse. Altogether, that meant I had a lot of learning to do as soon as I started! But my team and other China analysts around the RBA were all very supportive, and over time I have become much more confident in my understanding of the Chinese financial system.

What are the fun things you are involved in as an employee at the RBA?

One of the major benefits of starting at the RBA as a Graduate is being a part of the graduate cohort. I've attended a number of fun social events with my cohort, ranging from picnics to beach trips to bowling nights. At work, another thing I really enjoy is the weekly Friday email quiz. My team is quite enthusiastic about participating every week (and we usually win too!).

James MacNaughton

Analyst, Information Technology Department

Photograph of James MacNaughton
The working conditions at the Bank are very flexible, and the graduate program provides a large amount of support from both peers and leadership.

What's your role about?

I'm in the Information Technology department at the RBA, as a developer in the Innovation Lab. I consult with internal stakeholders to flesh out issues with processes and systems at the RBA, suggest potential solutions that may involve emerging technologies and then implement these solutions in an application, usually through delivering a proof of concept technical demo. The response of the stakeholders to the demo can direct us to other important research questions that may also be worthy of an experiment, or even result in the demo concept being implemented as a longer-term system.

What's your background?

I grew up on the Northern Beaches in Sydney, New South Wales, and have always had an interest in technology. In primary school I was always the kid who the teacher or other students asked to fix their computer issues. My education at St Aloysius College in Milsons Point for high school was not very technology focussed, but I really enjoyed the subjects I took, especially Economics, Ancient History and Mathematics. Going to UTS to do a Bachelor of Information Technology was where I really started to understand how powerful technology was as a tool for organising information and disseminating it in ways that are really useful to humans and developing the world.

What other backgrounds would you encourage to apply in this stream?

I believe the Innovation Lab team thrives on being made up of a broad range of experiences and people. You do not have to be a programmer to work in the Lab, though it can help when developing software-based solutions. It is more important that you are able to bring a diverse range of ideas to the team, contribute to discussions, and have the motivation to research new and emerging technologies. Being able to clearly express yourself to stakeholders and empathise with their issues is also important.

What do you enjoy the most about your role?

The great thing about working in the Innovation Lab at the RBA is flexibility. Part of being on the team is having ‘crazy’ ideas about how software could be applied to an area and being given the time to test it out. In a broader sense, the graduate program at the RBA is an awesome way to gain a set of short experiences in a bunch of areas and teams that might otherwise be quite hard to enter on a short term basis. You finish the program with much more exposure to different technologies and broad experience than simply entering into a permanent role. This is perfect for people who are less sure of which area in technology they would like to end up working in.

What are the challenges in your role?

The working conditions at the Bank are very flexible, and the graduate program provides a large amount of support from both peers and leadership.

Sometimes working in an information technology department can be stressful, for example when you are near a deadline for delivering a system or doing something for a stakeholder or customer. However, if you are able to be transparent about your work to your manager and team, collaborate with others easily, not be afraid to ask questions (yes, even the ones that seem silly) and generally have a passion to produce good quality work, you will do well.

What are the fun things you are involved in as an employee at the RBA?

One of the best things about working at the RBA is the community you are joining, especially as a graduate. Being in a graduate cohort gives you the opportunity to form connections with a bunch of other young people starting at the RBA at the same time as you. There are also a variety of social groups ranging from the Beer Appreciation Society and sporting clubs to the Benevolent Fund. It's pretty easy to find something fun to do at lunch, whether it be the on-site gym or going for a walk with a friend in Hyde Park or the Botanical Gardens.

Callum Hudson

Analyst, Economic Analysis Department

Photograph of Callum Hudson
One of my favourite parts of being in the Overseas Economies team is that I get to work on a wide variety of projects, which keeps me on my toes and excited to come to work!

What's your role about?

I work as an economist in the Overseas Economies section of the Economic Analysis department, where I work with my colleagues to summarise key trends in the global economy and work with the domestic teams to place Australia in a global context.

Each team member monitors economic conditions in a specific region of the global economy, as well as some additional cross country macroeconomic variables, such as employment, inflation and trade. In between monitoring global economic conditions and preparing material for the Board, we have time to work on longer-term analytical projects that are of interest to the RBA, allowing us to dig below the surface on important topics.

What's your background?

I grew up in Perth, Western Australia and studied a Bachelor of Commerce (honours) at the University of Western Australia, majoring in economics. I initially started studying sport science at university, but switched to economics after completing some introductory economics units as electives which got me interested in macroeconomics. During my time at university I also had plenty of great experiences including teaching English in east-Asia as a volunteer and interning at an economic think tank in the United States.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I love having the opportunity to provide information to the Board that forms part of their monetary policy decision and has a real world impact on Australians. The work environment is also fantastic, offering a safe environment for graduates to engage in discussion, share opinions and learn from more experienced economists. One of my favourite parts of being in the Overseas Economies team is that I get to work on a wide variety of projects, which keeps me on my toes and excited to come to work!

What are the challenges in your role?

I find the main challenge for me is also something that I love about my role, and that is the wide variety of work. I often find myself working on a project that I have little prior knowledge on, and have to quickly get up to speed. Luckily, the RBA is a great place to face this challenge, with lots of supportive staff and resources. Another challenge is learning to filter out the noise and understand what trends in the global economy are important information for the Board.

Kasia Kopec

Analyst, Payments Settlements Department

Photograph of Kasia Kopec
One of the most interesting and challenging parts of my role is understanding how all the elements of Australia's payment system fit together.

What's your role about?

I work as an analyst in the Business Policy team within the Payments Settlements Department. I am responsible for analysing developments in domestic and international payments systems. This might include analysing new domestic payments services which influence demand for the RBA's settlement services. I also look at changes in international regulation and standards for key financial infrastructure such as RITS, or new payments settlement services offered by overseas central banks. We use the payments data we have, and research global institutions and other central banks, to find ways to keep Australia's Payment System innovative, secure and efficient with the aim to be one of the world's leading payment systems. I often research updates and innovations in cross-border payments, which are payments where the payer and receiver are in two different jurisdictions. I find this area particularly interesting because it affects not only central banks globally, but also how businesses, customers and families send important international payments such as remittances.

What's your background?

I grew up in Sydney, New South Wales and always enjoyed working with numbers and solving puzzles. When I began my Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Sydney, I naturally aimed to major in numbers based areas of study, namely finance and banking. Although after taking an introductory macroeconomics course just to give it a try, I ended up finding a new passion in economics. I was particularly interested in the way economics classes would discuss how policy and world events impact a nation's economy as a whole. This interest in looking at the bigger picture was the first reason for me wanting to work at a central bank like the RBA.

What other backgrounds would you encourage to apply in this stream?

The main skills required for my role are data analysis and research, making the role open to a wide variety of backgrounds. A degree in economics is not essential, although an interest in analysis, payment systems and innovation is a large part of the role. Analysis takes the form of research and written analysis as well as working with a variety of data sets, so an interest in using various software for analysis or a data analytics background is also highly valued in the role.

What are the challenges of your role?

One of the most interesting and challenging parts of my role is understanding how all the elements of Australia's payment system fit together. Payments range in type from large payments between financial institutions, payments for property, eftpos and Mastercard payments all the way to smaller payments between customers, like when you might go out for dinner and split the bill between friends. Each of these are settled in slightly different ways, but this also means they give us different insights into the economy.

What are the fun things you are involved in as an employee at the RBA?

The RBA has a wide variety of social and sporting clubs to participate in. Aside from these clubs I also took part in some yearly events such as the interdepartmental run/walk, where departments compete to have the most people undertaking the 3km walk or run. I also took part in a 10,000 steps challenge where teams from around the RBA compete to reach 3.8 million steps, roughly the amount required to walk across Australia! As a lover of trivia, I also joined a team in the Reserve Bank Benevolent Fund Bank-wide quiz.

Gary Wang

Analyst, Note Issue Department

Photograph of Gary Wang
Personally, I had very little experience with data work, which is a big part of my role. However, the RBA provided me with a lot of support and opportunities to learn and improve this skill.

What's your role about?

I am currently working as an analyst in the Analysis and Policy section of the Note Issue department. My role is essentially to carry out analysis and research on a variety of topics related to cash demand and use, banknote distribution, and conducting analysis that informs the ongoing development of banknote strategy and policies and providing an economic perspective.

An interesting piece of work I have been working on recently was looking at cash demand in Australia during the COVID-19 pandemic, and comparing our experience with other countries.

What's your background?

I completed a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Economics (Honours) double degree at the University of New South Wales, with a background in finance and economics. Most of the economics courses I took were related to microeconomics and industrial organisation. My honours thesis was related to optimal taxation policy, which is part of public finance.

What do you enjoy the most about your role?

One of the great things about my section is that it combines a mix of operational, policy and analytical work which provides the opportunity to work on a variety of different day-to-day tasks and longer term projects.

An example of a day-to-day task would be working on our section's banknote demand forecasts, while my longer term project would be working on a Bulletin article or an analytical piece of work. I also really enjoy the fact that I can work on my technical skills such as learning and improving my use of Excel, R and SQL, as well as my writing skills.

What are the challenges in your role?

Personally, I had very little experience with data work, which is a big part of my role. However, the RBA provided me with a lot of support and opportunities to learn and improve this skill. For example, I had the chance to attend a number of Excel, SQL, and R workshops, which gave me the confidence to use these programs to efficiently perform my duties.

What are the fun things you are involved in as an employee at the RBA?

Now that we have returned to the office on a regular basis, I am looking at potentially joining the touch footy team and the Beer Appreciation society!