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Shanik Lokuge

What's your job about?

CEB, now Gartner is the largest member-based advisory firm in the world. We help executives build capabilities in their specific function, whether it be Finance, HR, Sales, Marketing, etc.

My responsibility as a graduate is to introduce heads of Sales & Marketing to our offering in order to help them solve common functional challenges. As a graduate, I have direct impact on the revenue that we generate each quarter. What I love is that on a daily basis, I am speaking with C-level executives from some of Australia’s largest companies such Woolworths and CBA – not too bad straight out of uni!!

What's your background?

I was born in tropical Colombo, Sri Lanka! I came to Australia when I was seven years old, and I love living in Sydney!

I studied at Oakhill College, and completed my undergraduate degree at Macquarie University. During my high school years I had no idea what I wanted to be and couldn’t even decide on what I liked. Initially, I thought I might become a professional cricket player and cricket did teach me a lot about life, which I’ve adapted in my short business venture. The strategies I implemented and the decisions I made as a cricket captain have helped me navigate group work at university and helped me to hit the ground running in my corporate career.

I first learned about the company when I attended the Macquarie University Careers fair. I met the graduate recruiter and then came in for an interview a couple of months later. I have now been part of the team for six months and have enjoyed every moment of it! We are all about the people. People come first and that’s what makes this organisation one of the best places to work. The culture here is entrepreneurial, and fast-paced which makes every day exciting.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes of course!  The main things we look for in our graduates are intellectual curiosity, good business acumen and strong interpersonal or communication skills.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

The coolest thing about what I do is being able to talk with experienced C-level decision-makers on a daily basis and helping them solve challenges that will lead to growth in their business. I enjoy learning about different industries, then strategising and applying that knowledge to secure time with these busy executives.

What are the limitations of your job?

Not every executive wants to speak to you (and not every executive picks up their phone!). The ability to push that aside and continue to move forward is critical in this role. It’s also what makes it exciting and constantly pushes you to be innovative. I love it – but it’s not for everyone.

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

  • Don’t worry if you don’t know what you want to do – continue to absorb information and you will find something that you will like
  • Surround yourself with the right people who challenge and push you to be great!
  • Enjoy being at university, and continue to build your network – you never know when your classmates will come in handy!