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  • #7 in Technology
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

Mohamed Halawi

What I enjoy the most is getting information from the analysts in my team. It gives me the opportunity to network more and understand at a higher level what they’re sending means.

What's your job about?

I’m currently working in the ICT finance team. My responsibility is to ensure I meet my task deadlines and liaise with analysts in the business to consolidate the financial data I receive. I’m one of the finance graduates in the Optus Enterprise division, where we take care of enterprise and government clients. ICT is an interesting area of the business as there are a plethora of products which fall under the ICT branch, so I get to diversify my knowledge in the company instead of focusing in one special area. My main monthly tasks include end of month balance sheet items. This task involves me posting journals in our accounting system so the analysts can use the data for their individual roles.

Another task is creating business performance review packs where I work with analysts to collect different lines of business financial results. This pack is shared with high-level directors so there’s a little bit of pressure to make sure it’s perfect.

Another task I do is to reconcile the journals to ensure the numbers are consistent to our accounting database. If you have an interest in accounting or finance, you may understand what I’m doing as some of the concepts learned during HSC and early semesters at university are utilised in my role.

What's your background?

I grew up in Blacktown in Western Sydney. My first major achievement was smashing my HSC to get into the double degree I applied for. My love for sport has allowed me to accomplish so much from representing my high school in regional athletics, playing premier league-level soccer and being selected to represent Sydney in an interstate soccer competition. In terms of education, my most important accomplishment was completing a double degree in Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Business at the University of Technology. During university, I undertook two jobs to build my experience and confidence.

I worked at an Optus retail store as a sales consultant – and I loved that Optus invested heavily in sport – and I also worked at Commonwealth Bank to gain an understanding in financial products. I applied for the Optus graduate program and was successful. It felt so rewarding to get the role as all that hard work tackling a tough degree, undertaking two jobs and balancing my sporting had paid off. In terms of personal events, while at Commonwealth Bank, I was selected to be in a career advertisement and had to speak in front of a camera which was completely new and made me feel proud that I had the potential to inspire people with my advice. My most recent life accomplishment was buying my first investment property which has always been a massive goal of mine since university which has now given me the momentum to keep accomplishing my future goals.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes! It helps to work in the same background you studied in university as you build a foundational understanding during that time however you essentially can study something else, say for example mechanical engineering, and work in finance. It’s a combination of your interest and willingness to learn not just what you studied. A lot of the tasks I don’t necessarily relate to what I studied but it’s all about my determination and willingness to learn to understand how to do my tasks correctly. In finance, the most important skill is understanding Excel.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

What I enjoy the most is getting information from the analysts in my team. It gives me the opportunity to network more and understand at a higher level in what they’re sending means. It also builds on my leadership skills as it’s my responsibility to reach out to my team so I can receive the necessary data. My favourite task is building the BPR packs as I’m learning how our different lines of business are doing and feel like I’m contributing to Optus Enterprise. The job requires intense focus and high attention of detail which can be challenging but it’s all worth it as having my manager simply saying well done and the team thanking me indicates I’m doing my job properly.

What are the limitations of your job?

My job involves a great amount of responsibility as every task affects someone in my team and the overall business. There are days I have stayed up late at night, but I’ve done this on my own terms to make sure everything looks perfect, and numbers are consistent. High-level directors in Optus and our parent company, Singtel, eventually look at the BPR pack, so if something is out of place it reflects on me and my team. The biggest limitation is timing as all tasks have deadlines. If a task isn’t finished on time, it puts the whole team behind. So, it’s important to keep updating the team on where I’m at with my work.

3 pieces of advice for yourself when you were a student...

  • My first piece of advice would be to do some volunteering such as joining a group that helps homeless people, it’s always good to inspire and support those who are in need or even start a society for my university as it’s a good way to meet likeminded people and instrumental to building leadership skills.
  • My second piece of advice is to travel overseas. During university, I traveled interstate to places like Melbourne but never took a fulfilling trip out of the country. I am planning to travel somewhere overseas once COVID-19 cools down.
  • Lastly, consider delving deeper into some of the subjects you are interested in at university so you can qualify as a tutor. It’s a great way to build leadership skills, hone your craft and tutor students who need help.