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Rural Bank

  • 1,000 - 50,000 employees

James Yucel

One of the best parts of the job is not always being stuck in the office every day and going out to visit clients on-farm. It’s a great way to see the country, especially in such a beautiful part of Australia like the Southern Grampians.

What's your job about?

Rural Bank is focused on providing specialised banking products and services to the agribusiness sector through our national network of agribusiness lending specialists. I am currently working on the ‘front line’ in Sales in Hamilton, Victoria. The Sales team play a vital role in acting as the link between the bank and clients working to support the clients with any of their banking needs. It is quite a broad role in terms of the different responsibilities and tasks. Clients may be looking to grow their business and thus borrow more money, which in this region is happening more frequently due to a good season and favourable market conditions. When this occurs, the Agribusiness Relationship Manager (ARM) and the sales team work to get a deal ready to be sent off for assessment. Another key part of the job involves reviewing clients which is where the ARM will check in with the clients to review their existing facilities. For myself, this might involve drafting an updated property valuation, inputting the most recent financial statements, or inputting a cash flow budget all of which provides a greater understanding of a client’s position.

What's your background?

I don’t come from a traditional agricultural background having grown up in Melbourne however I sort of just fell into agriculture through my love of food and cooking after deciding a career in a kitchen wasn’t for me. I went straight into university after high school studying a Bachelor of Agriculture majoring in Sustainable Production and soon found I really enjoyed it and saw great potential for a career in ag. I spent the final year of the degree living up at the Dookie campus which meant I was able to get some more practical experience working on a farm.

After I finished my degree, I took some time off to go travelling which resulted in me working in Amsterdam for six months. Once I returned to Melbourne, I ended up deciding that I’d like to do a ski season overseas and ended up applying to a ski resort called Kicking Horse in Canada. That ended up being an amazing (yet freezing) experience where I effectively got paid to snowboard for six months.

I saw the opportunity open up for the Rural Bank Graduate Program and thought it’d be a great opportunity to get exposure across different areas of the business and could use it to really narrow down what I like. I’ve been in my first rotation in Sales for about 2 ½ months now. After this rotation I will be moving to Adelaide to work in some of the back office functions of the bank.

Could someone with a different background do your job?

Yes definitely, almost everyone I’ve worked with has come from such different and unique backgrounds! I think the most important characteristic is a willingness to learn and to build an understanding of the ag industry.

What's the coolest thing about your job?

One of the best parts of the job is not always being stuck in the office every day and going out to visit clients on-farm. It’s a great way to see the country, especially in such a beautiful part of Australia like the Southern Grampians. A big part of that is being able to see the tangible impact our work can have for a client.

Another great attraction of the graduate program is the guarantee of a landing role post the program. The bank works with you to find a suitable role for both yourself and them and is a nice bit of job security.

What are the limitations of your job?

Working in sales as a graduate is great as you aren’t required or expected to hold a significant level of responsibility. However, if you take up a permanent role in sales there is huge responsibility in managing your performance internally as well as managing relationships with clients.

Whilst some might see the travel requirements of an ARM as a big perk of the role, for some it might be a bit of a bother. You can often be on the road quite a fair bit going to meet clients, and in some regions travelling huge distances.

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

The three pieces of advice I would give to myself is to

  1. Make the most out of your time at university. Get involved with the different student societies, and expand your social bubble
  2. Whilst you should make the most of the social aspects of uni, you should also make the most of being in class. Sit at the front of the lecture theatre (preferably away from your friends) so you can focus on the lecture. This was a big one for me!!
  3. Start thinking early about the jobs you want to apply for, particularly as graduate programs open super early in the year!