Steph Poynton

Steph Poynton

Degree
Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Science

Current position
Manager, Government Infrastructure and Capital projects, Deloitte.

Working in a government consulting team at Deloitte, I often jokingly explain the role as “implementing State Government’s latest cool election commitments”.

The team and I work to assist the Government on a variety of projects from healthcare and education to transport and defence. We work directly with Government to assist it in purchasing large assets and expensive services – like hospitals, roads, trains or schools.

All in all, we try to offer simple solutions to complex Government problems. On a day-to-day basis, I analyse, research, and negotiate the implementation of services and asset purchase agreements. I love the variety of project work. It’s incredible to have diversity in work content but consistency as a work team.

Working in a big organisation like Deloitte has its benefits. The culture is young and fun, the work is diverse, and most people willing to invest in your development. It’s an excellent place to learn and grow. My team is great - we work hard knowing that at the end of a project we will celebrate together.

The most recent project I worked on was the Mildura Base Public Hospital Transition. The team and I assisted the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to transition the hospital from private to public. The transition was a huge success with tangible benefits for the Mildura community.

"I think having the double degree shows a prospective employee I can think in a plethora of different ways. The nuance of both degrees enables a different perspective which is often the key to solving the problem."

Outside work, I’m also the Treasurer of a small not-for-profit organisation which runs a community kitchen every Monday, and has just started providing affordable housing for refugees.

Looking back on my uni days, the best experience I had was going to New York to meet NYC-based Monash alumni. The experience was part of the Global discovery scholars’ program, which was about connecting with alumni and understanding where a Monash degree can lead. But the trip taught me so much more. I learnt how to ask critical questions of prospective employers, and that smart people chose smart team members to build each other up and collaborate with. And I saw that those doing well were passionate about what they did.

This trip gave me the confidence to ask for my first internship, to leave a job I didn’t like – and to apply for my current role at Deloitte. I used insights from the NYC alumni to make connections, ask questions and push for what I wanted.

On the subject of my double degree - I love science, and I have a curiosity for commerce. Commerce and Science together seemed like a great option - I thought science would be exciting, and commerce would give me job-ready skills. A commerce/science degree also seemed like a good way to hedge my bets. I followed my heart down the science route and followed my head down the commerce route. I loved not having to pick a single degree, and the double degree turned out to be an excellent choice.

In science I found a passion for physiology and pharmacology. This science/health pathway was fascinating and gave me health sector acumen I still use today. The commerce degree taught me about the economy, finance, tax and business management. Again, these are skills I still rely on every day. I often work in projects for the DHHS, where I use my sciences/health sector insights while undertaking financial/commercial analysis.

I also think having the double degree shows a prospective employee I can think in a plethora of different ways. As I’ve learnt with Government, nothing is ever straightforward! The nuance of both degrees enables a different perspective which is often the key to solving the problem.

I had incredible teachers in both science and commerce. One Physiology lecturer comes to mind - this teacher was able to recall every student’s name in a lecture room of more than 150 people. Perhaps it was the fear of being picked on by name, but every student was engaged and wanting to learn.

I got very involved in university life at Monash, and was an Access Monash Ambassador and a representative in the Monash Student Association (MSA).

The Access Monash program was an extremely rewarding mentoring program. We mentored high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Much of the program involved having an open, honest and friendly face, and being a positive role model. My mentee and I discussed how to apply for uni, what courses may suit them and how to get through year 12! The students I mentored all would have been the first in their families to attend university.

The MSA was (and still is) a fantastic space for students to represents students. I highly recommend engaging in Government’s current plans for higher education, as well as engaging in current Monash student services.

My advice to students today is to make friends in your classes, because friends and connections will help with your motivation and workload. Also join the union (MSA) – they help! And say “yes” to opportunities, because experiences feed passion.