I didn’t grow up wanting to work in finance. I studied economics at school and when I narrowly missed out on my first choice at university, I ended up studying Economics. That was only meant to be for a year but seven years later I graduated with a PhD. And then I had to get a job! The obvious jobs for an economics graduate, like the RBA or Treasury, weren’t that appealing at the time and I liked living in Brisbane so I took a job with a global macro hedge fund and was fortunate that three years later I ended up working for them in London. There’s the thing – working overseas is fun and provides exposure to so many facets of life that you simply cannot get here in Australia – but it costs money and finance provided a good income to suit the lifestyle that I liked. Over the past fourteen years I have worked for a hedge fund, investment bank, asset manager, Australian domestic bank and now one of the country’s largest superannuation funds. It took a while but I have never been more passionate about my job and my career, and the ups and downs along the way are what help you to learn and succeed. If I have one regret it was being too narrowly focused on opportunities that I thought I wanted rather than being open minded enough to take on experiences that were offered to me. A career in finance is also well paid, which provides financial security both as an individual and for my family. I feel empowered not just by what I earn but by the knowledge that I have acquired over the years and my ability to help shape the retirement outcomes of many Australians. That means everyday I wake up eager to go to work. And that’s pretty nice too.
Dr Zoe McHugh, Investment Strategist, First State Super