Sam Lee

Sam Lee

Bachelor of Commerce (Hons)

Current position
Manager, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)

As I was nearing the end of my Bachelor of Commerce Degree, I started looking for a course that would cap off my studies, set me apart and act as a point of difference as I entered the workforce. I had majored in Accounting and Finance but had an interest in Business Law and Taxation, and I felt than an Honours year would help me to develop further knowledge in those areas.

I knew I wanted a flexible program that I could direct myself and which would allow me to explore different capabilities and skills. The Honours program at Monash Business School offered exactly that. Having done an internship in Corporate Tax at a professional services firm at the end of my Bachelor degree, I knew that a professional services environment was where I wanted to start my career. The Business Law and Taxation specialisation of the Honours program was the perfect fit for my interests and helped me prepare for that kind of workplace.

One thing I loved about the Honours program at Monash is that you determine the type of experience you have depending on the course you select. You can choose anything from a structured, subject based curriculum to an almost entirely research focussed one, which is where I landed. Either way, an Honours program provides an opportunity to solidify your knowledge, apply the skills you have learnt in your undergraduate studies and demonstrate mastery of the content before entering the workforce.

"I am a manager in the Global Tax team at Pricewaterhouse Coopers here in Mebourne and I’m proud to say I love what I do."

My particular Honours project, which I was able to select myself with advice from my supervisor, explored the impact of the Basel III capital regulations on the Australian economy. The project touched on finance, economics and law, and if I fast forward to today, those are the building blocks of the work that I now do as part of the Global Tax team at PwC. Having an almost entirely research-focussed curriculum forced me to break out of my normal mindset and self-start in a way I hadn’t needed to before. Looking back on it, this is a critical skill for any workplace and I ended the year much more mature and work-ready than when I started.

When applying for graduate programs, I found that my Honours year was something employers focussed on as a point of differentiation. They were always interested in asking questions about my experiences and discussing the project I selected. I think what employers (and specifically PwC) valued about my Honours degree was that it displayed an intellectual curiosity and a desire to learn. In my work within Global Tax at PwC I am exposed to something new almost every day, so being a person that is motivated by learning is an important aspect to bring to the job.

I am a Manager in the Global Tax team at PwC here in Melbourne and I’m proud to say I love what I do. My team comprises both international tax and transfer pricing specialists and provides a one-stop shop for businesses with a global footprint looking for assistance navigating the tax landscape in Australia and abroad.

I have been at PwC for almost five years, and during my time I have had the opportunity to work with iconic Australian and international clients to solve difficult problems from all corners of the world, and to work with an amazing team from around the country and PwC’s global network in the process. I have a particular interest in technology, and the projects I have enjoyed most thus far have used technology to augment our core international tax and transfer pricing offerings to deliver something new and unique. As someone who enjoys learning, PwC has been a great fit for me as they are big supporters of pursuing additional development opportunities. While I have been here I have completed the Chartered Accountant (CA) program and am currently working towards obtaining the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter.

When I look back on my studies and my time at Monash, if I could give students any advice it would be not to rush. Your university days are precious and you are in the workforce for a long time, so explore everything your course and campus has to offer. Also remember to experiment - commerce is an extremely broad field so try different disciplines and see what suits you. Your career in business can be whatever you make it!