Graduation has been a long time coming for Brooklyn Cundy, a UniSC student who is nearly at the finish line of an ambitious double degree – with a full-time job already lined up.
It wasn’t always a straight road for Brooklyn, who went through a long process of trial and error to discover where her true passions lie; in the logic of numbers, the fun of programming and the satisfaction of solving problems in business.
Now, Brooklyn is about to graduate with a Bachelor of Business majoring in information systems, and a Bachelor of Science majoring in maths.
“I went straight from high school into a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical), but after two years I realised I didn't have a passion for it, I was losing interest,” she says.
“So, I changed to science with a chemistry major, hoping to find my dream there, but soon realised I didn't really like the chemistry aspect.”
In wondering what her perfect fit would be, Brooklyn remembered her love of maths in school, a love ignited by her “really good maths teachers” at Maroochydore State High School.
“They made me realise that maths was actually pretty fun if you’re open to learning it,” she says.
Brooklyn’s natural affinity for numbers prompted her to wonder what she could do with maths. “I always had a very structured and methodical way of thinking, and that’s what maths is really, thinking logically,” she says. “Maths is really just a bunch of processes and getting used to them.”
She changed her science major from chemistry to maths, then added a business focus with a double degree. “I thought if I added a business component to it, it would broaden my career options,” she says.
“I went into the double degree with no idea what I wanted to do. And then, when I was a year and a half into it, I became really interested in data science."
Brooklyn admits for a long time she “ruled out many things,” thinking there were others who could do it so much better. Programming was one of them.
“I thought, there are tons of people who are whizzes at programming and anything to do with that, so I'm just never going to be that good. Then I decided to just give programming a go, and while I don’t believe I’m amazing at it and I've still got so much to learn, it's something that I’m really having fun learning."
“Once I got the confidence to believe I could work in programming, it opened up a lot more options and possibilities of what I could do.”
Then, an opportunity to apply for a competitive internship at Deloitte put Brooklyn’s newfound self-confidence to the test.
“A friend sent me the link to a consulting role at Deloitte, something I'd never considered doing. I thought, I might as well apply, as I need to start thinking about getting a job after I graduate.
“The application process was intense…it included an online assessment to test my skills in statistics, problem solving and general thought processes. I was then invited to a four-hour group interview with 50 to 60 other people…via Zoom, which was intimidating. They had us work in a group to solve problems and make a short presentation.
“It was a good experience. I thought, even if I don't get the internship after this, I’ve definitely learned something from it.”
Fortunately for Brooklyn, she was among those chosen for the four-week internship and placed on the data and AI consulting team. The best part, Brooklyn said, was being part of a like-minded team where everyone was interested in what everyone else was working on. “It felt so good to interact with people who share my passion for mathematics,” she says.
“It was also really cool to hear about what everyone does, and the projects they take on, even in their spare time. There are some crazy smart people working there that are doing some insane projects, purely for the fun of it.”
“I was assigned to the Optimal Reality Project, which uses digital twin technology to make a replica of a complex network. Using that replica, they can simulate and see how things perform and use that to problem solve and optimise system performance.” While this may not make much sense to everyone, Brooklyn says her work boiled down to problem solving and contributing to an overall project for a real client.
Now, after nearly seven years discovering her niche at uni, Brooklyn’s determination to find the right fit for her mathematical mind has paid off.
In a huge win for the soon-to-be graduate, Brooklyn was offered a full-time position with Deloitte starting in July, working in the same data and AI consulting team where she did her internship. She says the experience is invaluable when transitioning out of uni and into the workforce.
“I was so nervous at first, but when I think about the graduate role now, I'm just excited to use the skills I’ve learned,” she says.
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