Geraldine Buckingham

Geraldine Buckingham - MBBS

Growing up, Geraldine Buckingham always wanted to study medicine. She had not anticipated taking a different path, following a series of opportunities that would eventually lead her to become the Global Head of Corporate Strategy at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager with $4.9 trillion  of assets under management.

After graduating with an MBBS degree from Monash, Geraldine was awarded the Rhodes scholarship in 2003. She went on to study Comparative Social Policy at Oxford before pursuing a career in the corporate world. Despite the seemingly diverse set of experiences across medicine, consulting and financial  services, Geraldine firmly believes it was the medical experience early in her career which set her up for success, irrespective of the job or industry.

Geraldine’s decision to study at Monash originally stemmed from the University’s policy of interviewing medical school applicants, which was quite unusual back in the 1990s. She says this was an excellent indicator that the degree prioritised the personal aspect of medicine and established  the kind of doctors they hoped to develop. Further, Monash emphasised the importance of early exposure to clinical experience in addition to more traditional academic commitments, which differentiated the course from its competitors at the time.

Geraldine also had the opportunity to pursue her final year medical elective in Kenya as well as an exchange program at King’s College in London. She strongly believes these experiences added a critical global element to her education and are key to successfully interacting with people from different  cultural backgrounds, whether it be in a hospital or corporate office.

“Studying abroad really showed me how big the world was, and the multitude of opportunities that were available.”

While Geraldine would have been happy to remain in Australia as a medical practitioner, the opportunity to learn new content and skills saw her move to McKinsey & Company and subsequently to BlackRock, a decision she had not anticipated 15 years ago.

The most important skills she learned at Monash medical school were “interacting with people, problem solving and maintaining perspective.” She found these transferable skills relevant and applicable to her current job in the corporate world. Monash's emphasis on developing doctors with  strong people skills in particular has helped Geraldine smoothly transition from medicine to management.

“My career path may have been unorthodox, but my time at Monash was very foundational to where I am now. I now have clients rather than patients, and spend my time problem solving rather than diagnosis – but there is a lot of commonality in the two skill sets.”