Home Blog Graduates and Interns March 2021 How being part of the Telstra Graduate Program kick started my career

How being part of the Telstra Graduate Program kick started my career

by Ankita Suryavanshi

Business Operations Analyst

Being in the Telstra Graduate Program taught me a lot of valuable skills and showed me how to function effectively within a very large organisation.
During my rotations, I worked on an existing product as well as one in the pre-launch phase, which exposed me to everything from the legal, to budgetary, to go-to-market elements of the product development process.
As part of this, I also learned how to access the help that is always available in a big company when you need it. Now, largely due to everything I have learnt and the relationships I have built, I’m a full-time business analyst within Telstra’s Product and Technology (P&T) function.
When Kim Krogh Andersen, the Group Executive for P&T, addressed my cohort at our graduate ceremony, he gave one piece of advice that stuck with me: "say yes to every opportunity that comes your way".
That is exactly what I intend to do.

The most valuable things I took away from the Telstra Graduate Program
Broadly speaking, I would have to say that the most valuable thing I learned was how a team functions as part of a large organisation.
This began from my very first rotation. The team I joined had a real start-up vibe, which was fantastic because it was totally unexpected. It was also cool to learn about how the team operated within the context of Telstra. Whatever it needed, from a new resource, to legal counsel, Telstra had it.
It felt like I was working in a start-up, because we were already operating in Agile, and an environment where no idea was a bad idea.

Even as a grad in her first rotation, I was always encouraged to share my ideas and able to execute on many of them. It was such a great experience and an excellent learning curve! 
I was adamant that I wanted to work in P&T at the end of the Graduate program, and given the relationships I had developed during my two rotations in the team, I was able to set up meetings with senior leaders to speak about potential opportunities. My mentor (appointed by the graduate team) ended up having a position open up in her team, and after going through an interview process, I secured the role.
My first, official full-time role
My P&T Operations Enablement team is the oil that keeps the P&T engine running – we are the bridge between functions such as our Networks and IT and Finance functions.
Even though I had some previous knowledge of P&T, I’ve still had a lot of learning to do. Right now, I am working on coordinating the P&T component of our T22 strategy – this essentially means I need to have knowledge of all the teams, their products and where they sit in P&T, and work with the Transformation Delivery Office to ensure a smooth delivery of their milestones.
I look after the full-time equivalent (FTE) for P&T and associated operational expenses (OPEX) costs, and our Monthly Business Review reporting. Because of the nature of my team, things are constantly changing so it's important I keep up to date on the latest trends – and this means I’m always learning!
I’m continually learning
As far as actual skills development, the three most important things I’m learning are:
  • Stakeholder management: Everything I thought I knew about dealing with stakeholders got flipped on its head when I joined this team. I’ve realised that it’s not simply a matter of communicating the facts back and forth, but really maintaining relationships as well. It was like starting over due to the nature of the team and the work we do.  
  • Financial skills: As someone who doesn't have a background in finance, I am having to learn a lot on-the-job about what it takes for a team to function.  
  • Decision-making: I was an indecisive grad – I would always ask my leader or team members before making any decision. Being part of this team has really boosted my confidence and although I still can't make every decision on my own, I’ve gotten a lot better at it.
I have a very rough idea of where I want to go from here, but nothing is set in stone. I don’t want to limit my options by sticking to one thing. Instead, I have a list of skills I want to develop, and I think Telstra will play a big role in ensuring that I have the support to work on them and improve my capabilities.
Are you interested in jump-starting your career with Telstra the way I did? Head to the Telstra Careers website for information on our graduate program and how you can be a part of it, too.
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