My name is Susan and I’m an account manager. I graduated from [the] University of Sydney (USYD) in 2014 with a masters in commerce majoring in business information systems, and logistics and supply chain management.
[I] grew up in Western Sydney [and] completed secondary studies at Sydney Secondary College. The following year I completed [my] first year [of a] Bachelor of Commerce at UNSW and decided that accounting and finance was not my forte. The following year I started my Bachelor of Pharmacy at USYD which I graduated from four years later. The following year would have been my toughest year to date; I spent the year completing my pharmacy internship which was full-time work, with full-time study. During this year I managed to learn vast amounts about the practising side of the pharmaceutical industry, and realised that the industry was not for me. I knew by this point that if I was to change careers, I would have to [do] so stat, and started my postgraduate study in commerce at USYD.
Why [did I choose] commerce? It gave me the flexibility to branch out into other industries, and complemented my bachelor’s degree.
[I] applied for an operations graduate role with DHL Supply Chain towards the end of my master’s degree, managed to jump through the hurdles of the interview process, and have been with the company for almost three years and counting.
Operations graduate was my first choice because I believed [it was where] my masters would [be] most applicable, and where my community pharmacy experience would add value.
It was suggested that I also apply for the IT stream due to my business information systems major. Torn between the two, I sought the advice of the graduate coordinator of DHL and ended up sticking to operations because it was the best way to learn about the core business activities. This would be of great value moving into other areas of the business in the future.
An online application with a cover letter was the first step to applying for the DHL graduate program. From here I progressed to an assessment centre which was called an open day. [It] reminded me of university open days except we were all being observed. We had a warehouse tour, a show and tell session from current and past graduates, and a couple of group activities. The next stage was a group interview with HR counterparts to find out if you would be a good fit for the company. [This gave you] another opportunity to see if the company [was] the right fit for you. Some of the questions asked were quite generic, like, ‘Why do you want to work for the company?’, ‘Where [do] you see yourself in five years?’ and ‘Describe your personality in three words?’, so don’t stress, and stay true to yourself.
From here you are invited to complete a psychometric exam. The final stage was a presentation followed by another panel which included a VP from the business. After successfully jumping through the hurdles of the interview process, you are offered a graduate position.
Study something you are passionate about and a field you potentially see yourself in, in the near future. The best thing about DHL is that you do not have to have a logistics background to join and be part of the family. Having said that, soft skills which I see would be of value would be the ability to communicate with anyone and everyone, as you will meet and have to work with people from all walks of life. Aside from that I highly recommend Microsoft Excel as it will be your best friend going through the graduate program.
DHL Supply Chain provides customised logistics industry solutions in the areas of supply chain management, warehousing, distribution, value added services and lead logistics services, with the aim of helping [to] deliver better results every day.
As an account manager I oversee the daily operations of the healthcare medical device clients that fall under my care, and I am responsible [for] the development, growth and management of the client’s business. I need to ensure profitable growth, excellence in operations, customer satisfaction, employee welfare and identify potential new business streams [for] the customer.
There aren’t any two days that are the same. Some days I start in the warehouse to ensure the operations are smooth running and address any issues, while other days I start by attending to urgent emails. From there, the business’s needs will dictate how the rest of the day flows. Other responsibilities would be attending to monthly, quarterly or annual client meetings, preparing daily operational performance reports, processing invoices, attending to profit and loss reports, facilitating QA audits and identifying areas for potential new business.
The last thing I worked on was an opportunities workshop with our largest medical device client; as the name suggests it was to identify areas which could provide cost savings as well as efficiencies.
Someone who is versatile, thinks outside the box and quickly adapts.
What are the career prospects with your job? Where could you or others in your position go from here?
From account management one can progress to business manager [and] then to general manager. Alternatively, one can become a site operations manager or move horizontally into other areas of the business. It really comes down to your interests and strengths.
Absolutely, one of the great things about DHL is that as long as you can show you are adaptable and have the capacity to learn, the sky’s the limit.
Working for a global company means there are always opportunities to work on new projects. The best part of my job is working with the various departments both internally and externally across different sites. [It is] great for meeting new people and learning about what other global companies perceive as best practice.
The flat organisation structure of the job and [having] no structured guidelines. However I do believe that this is the best way to learn. The people are the greatest asset of DHL and there is always someone who is willing to help.
Work on weekends is rare unless you’re working on critical projects which require temporary support over [the] weekend; DHL does like to practice a work-life balance philosophy.
Stress levels can peak at times, however there are ample amount of staff from all backgrounds who are willing to lend a hand or guidance, so you don’t ever feel like you have been left out alone in the rain.
If I was not working for DHL I think I would have been a biomedical engineer. As strange as it may sound I can [see] myself applying my logical reasoning, and interest for science within that field.
Don’t ever be afraid of trying something new, be curious, and never doubt your own capabilities.