Updating Results

Mastercard

4.3
  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

William Zhang

I think the great part about consulting is that people from any background are able to be successful in the role since problem-solving is a universal skill for any career.

What's your job about?

I work within Mastercard’s Data & Services Advisors division, the professional services business unit for Mastercard, specialising in consulting and data analytics for our retail and financial institution clients. As an Associate Consultant, the breadth of work we experience is really great as it provides constant new challenges to keep you on your toes given that each project you are staffed on is always different to the next. As an example, over the past year I’ve had the chance to work on projects across Open Banking, fraud operations, Buy Now Pay Later, and regulatory response. On these strategy consulting projects, a typical week’s tasks may vary from leading interviews with client stakeholders to understanding current organisational pain points, to building out a financial model/business case for a new strategy and talking with global Mastercard subject matter experts to develop strategies for the client. 

In addition, new graduates also get the chance to work on data analytics projects. Over the past year, I’ve also worked on our Test & Learn business experimentation analytics platform that helps organisations test new strategic initiatives to see if they actually provide incremental benefit to the business. On Test & Learn projects, typical week to week work includes working on propensity models for customer targeting, conducting working sessions with clients to guide them through new analysis, and working in SQL for data maintenance of the platform.

What's your background?

Looking back, my personal and academic background definitely had an influence in forming my early career path. I grew up in the suburbs of Sydney, in a migrant family where my parents worked on our family’s small business. Growing up, they would always share what business problems they were facing at the time and what ambitions they had to grow the business. While this was at a small scale, this was my first exposure to the world of business problems and how ever-changing the environment was. During high school, I was most engaged with the social sciences (e.g. geography, economics, and history) that explored how our modern-day society works which led me to choose commerce as a degree. 

University was probably the biggest factor in leading me towards a career in consulting at Mastercard. During my time at uni, I became super engaged in consulting case competitions and had the fantastic opportunity to compete against other global universities overseas. Through these experiences, I realised that I particularly enjoyed working in consumer-facing industries like financial institutions, retailers, and airlines, which drew me to the type of consulting projects that Mastercard Advisors offers. In addition, the opportunity to learn data science-based skills through Test & Learn was a great opportunity to continue my technical development. 

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes, totally! I think the great part about consulting is that people from any background are able to be successful in the role since problem-solving is a universal skill for any career. In my team, we have people who have transitioned from all sorts of different career paths and academic backgrounds including professional photography, supermarket managers, medical science, and mining engineers who now all lead client consulting and data analytics engagements. As my manager says, "technical skills can always be taught on the job, but what’s important is displaying a willingness to learn and win!”

What's the coolest thing about your job?

There are two things that really stand out as the coolest parts of my job. Firstly, junior members of the team are always trusted with great responsibility for their projects. As an example, I’ve been trusted to present recommendations multiple times to C-level executive leadership members for some of Australasia’s largest organisations. Additionally, a lot of the work we do is consumer-facing and the recommendations we deliver to clients result in actual decisions being made with real-world impact. It’s always a pretty cool feeling as a consumer seeing one of your recommendations in real life, whether it be a new store launch or a new product release.

What are the limitations of your job?

Following on from my previous answer, being trusted with great levels of responsibility that will result in a decision being made can feel like a lot of pressure at times. This comes from the nature of the consulting profession where you are supporting senior leaders in making tricky decisions, and no one has a crystal ball to see perfectly into the future and know if you will be right or wrong. I’ve come to realise that the way to help alleviate this pressure is to really lean on your teammates for another opinion on how to approach that particular problem and see if they have any suggestions when you’re stuck. 

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

  1. Enjoy university while it lasts! – I know this is something that is said a lot but it’s actually true. Uni is the perfect balance of responsibility and a safety net, so make the most of the opportunities presented to you at uni (e.g. make the most of your extra free time, try new hobbies/activities / societies, meet new people).
  2. Don’t follow the pack – Looking back, it’s quite easy to get lost in the university bubble of chasing prestige when choosing career paths. Really consider what you might value the most in a career and what’s actually going to motivate you to get up in the morning to go to work.
  3. Find mentors – When it comes to choosing a career, applying for internships, or nailing subjects, as Biggie perfectly puts it, it’s often an “if you don’t know, now you know” situation. So, get ahead of the curve by reaching out to senior students or recent grads for guidance.