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Real Business : Issue 3 2008
figures, tourism leapt 7.8 per cent on the previous year – its strongest growth in almost a decade. Despite the industry’s sporadic hard landings, the United Nations World Tourism Organisation estimates that between 1990 and 2007, international tourist arrivals worldwide increased annually by 4.3 per cent on average. Covering air and water transport, accommodation, travel agency and tour-oper- ated services, as well as tourism authorities, it also reaches into hospitality and car hire. “Travel is a great training ground for finance professionals,” says Adam Kolokotsas of recruitment firm Tanner Menzies. Longer career prospects are in big hotel chains that offer glitz and worldwide job options, and in airlines where finance roles extend into almost every part of the business. Mikhael, now in her fourth role at Jetstar after working in the government, legal and media sectors, says working for an airline is more about culture than experience. If you’re adaptable, proactive, and have strong analyti- cal skills “you can start anywhere and end up anywhere”. At Jetstar, multiskilling is encouraged and many finance professionals have landed in airport operations, revenue management, and commercial/government affairs. A few years back, Mikhael spent two months in Honolulu in an operational role launching Jetstar’s Hawaii services – “a challenging, but tremen- dous learning experience”. Flying high Anna Scott ASA Qantas, Sydney After finishing a commerce/arts degree with an accounting major, Anna Scott, 23, found herself choosing between graduate roles at a Big 4 accounting firm and a very big business – Qantas, with some 30,000 employees. Work/ life balance partly influenced her final decision to sign on for the graduate program at the Australian airline in 2007, and the 23-year-old hasn’t looked back. Six-month stints in differ- ent divisions have delivered invaluable breadth of experience, says Scott, who’s also enjoyed effectively starting a new job on each rotation. 16 So far she’s been in the hot seat when her more senior manager left in the clearing house section, accounting for internal charges between differ- ent segments of the airline. That gave her a good overview of how the international carrier works. In sales, she crossed time zones – virtually – to work with financial controllers in Europe, the UK and the Middle East, then consolidated their figures for the Sydney-based financial con- troller. And, through the Sustainable Futures program, she drove cost efficiencies to improve opera- tions for different sections of the airline. Her final rotation is in core finance with regional airline Qantaslink. It involves dealing with revenue, expenditure and month-end reports, and has “whole of business” appeal for Scott. She’s so enthusiastic about the job, she almost forgot about work/life balance. The hours have been reasonable, she says, and so has her time out. Discount airfares have taken her to see friends and family throughout Australia, and to New York and Las Vegas last year. REAL BUSINESS ISSUE 3, 2008 DEAN GOLJA
Issue 1 2009