The Graduate class of 2019

Tom Hutchinson – Client Partner at Pacific Search Partners

At this time of year, my thoughts normally turn to reliving summer holidays spent with the family and on the golf course… but then quickly to Graduates who will soon start their professional journeys into the workforce. Having spent 7 years with Grant Thornton’s HR team in Melbourne, I rode the ups and downs of graduate recruitment campaigns and training and development platforms for many accountants over the years. Some of those students that I first met on University campuses have since gone on to make Partner in the accounting profession (looking at you James Castley, Neil Cahir, Laura Rogers, Tim Jackman) and many others have chosen different careers in commerce, banking, family business, education, not-for-profit and countless others.

2,500 graduates will commence working at the Big 4 firms in Australia in 2019, plus hundreds of others in mid-tier, boutique and suburban advisory firms. I still remember fondly my time with Grant Thornton, and am incredibly grateful for the training and disciplines that I was exposed to in my formative years. Even though I was in the HR team, the transferrable professional skills from time spent in an international professional services firm have held me in good stead for my chosen career in executive search and recruitment. Specifically:

  1. Have fun whilst you’re working by creating a great environment which encourages people to give their discretionary effort;
  2. Professionalism, intellect and respect form the backbone of great client relationships, which allows trust to develop over time to deliver high quality client service outcomes;
  3. Tight controls over quality and standards of advice prior to client delivery are essential to maintain the integrity of services offered;
  4. Continue to invest in your ongoing professional development, and manage your career actively because no-one else should take ultimate responsibility for this; &
  5. Being on time, courteous and well-prepared costs nothing, but separates great practitioners from the competition – it’s a bit old fashioned, but those disciplines matter to me.

I know that a lot has changed in 16 years as my 2003 Grad group will agree (Adam Birrell, Chris O’Meara, Chris O’Connor, Nick Prohasky, Jelina Vukasinovic, David Galloway, Martin Foote, Craig Gourlay, Adam Cahill, Kate Harrington, James Lee, Jamie Aikman, Lisa Tucker, Damien Crommie), but I wish the Class of 2019 all the best for the exhilarating journey ahead.