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Rhea Sharma: Working Up the Employment Ladder at PwC

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“Honestly I don’t know how I got here because it is a tough ride, especially for an international student who does not have a lot of contacts when they go into another country and they don’t know how the work culture is there.” 

Originally from India before moving to Australia, Rhea faced the challenge of adjusting to a new work culture that was drastically different from that of her home country. She notes how “it takes at least a year to settle into that and grasp what it is the recruiters need from you.” Moving countries is similar to starting from scratch as it is difficult to figure out what is expected and the experience from your home country does not translate well. 

A major barrier was attempting to figure out “if your experience from your home country does not matter as much as you thought it would, what do you put on your resume?” Many of the things that are ingrained into the work culture of one country are not the same in the next as shown by Rhea as she described the challenge of discovering how to leverage LinkedIn as it was not as widely utilized in India. She was figuring out how to operate in the new work culture when she realized she needed more practical knowledge/experience on her resume

Although Rhea does not count her experience from India on her resume, she did complete a Risk Management Internship while earning her Bachelor’s degree in Commerce with Honours at Amity University Noida. 

In Australia, she has been pursuing her Masters of Banking & Finance at Macquarie University. She continues to explain her experience by saying “I’ve done it all, worked at a restaurant, worked at a retail store, and started my corporate journey with Brand Influence Group-  an experiential and field marketing firm in North Sydney as a Finance Intern, and have been working there since November… I took a break from there to go do my vacationer programme in Assurance, Financial Services with PwC for a  month at Newcastle and it worked out well. They offered me the graduate role  as well as, until then, a part-time job, starting at the end of June.”

“I came across Forage and I am very glad that I did because I have not seen an opportunity like this ever before! I have seen a lot of online certifications but I have never seen something where they give you an actual experience of what the workplace is going to be like. It allows you the flexibility to balance your hectic academic schedule and be able to complete the program in your own time.”

Rhea completed the Future IM/Pact Investment Banking Virtual Internship Program and is over halfway through the PwC Assurance Academy Virtual Case Experience. She began with the Future Impact experience while figuring out how to stand out in the job hunt, and to encourage her interests in the field of investments.

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In the second experience, she started to brush up on her skills in auditing and was “really surprised to see that the things that they are teaching are very similar to what I learned in my four weeks of the internship period.”

Overall, Rhea’s experience with Forage helped her immensely in her career journey as she says it made her more confident while giving her the ability to add a prestigious firm to her resume. She emphasizes how helpful the programs have been by noting “Forage gives me a chance to try out a field and leverage that experience for organizations to show that I have the knowledge, have completed some specific modules, and learned a bit about the firm’s day to day operations.  

“The thing that I liked the most about these programs is that they do not spoon-feed you… they ask you to complete a challenging task and then once you do it, that is when they tell you the right way it should be done so you can compare your model to the right one, and learn from your mistakes if any.”

On top of making her more employable, Rhea shared how these Forage programs have helped her to expand her skill set and grow. As she is more of a hands-on learner, she was able to start the Investment Banking Program with little prior knowledge and finish the program knowing the basics of banking which she notes, “I think that is the best program I could have started with as it really complements my degree.”

As for the PwC virtual experience program, she utilized the experience as preparation for her job, “my internship was months ago and I forgot a lot about it, so I think this will help me stand out when I go on my first day and people see that I already know stuff.” These two programs have prepared her in different ways to get to where she is today in her career journey.

Perseverance 

Rhea ended our conversation by sharing “the biggest advice I could give to students is please do not think you can’t do it, you definitely can… it’s just about the right timing and the right amount of effort.” 

She reflected on her time trying different internships and job opportunities and notes “I have been rejected a lot of times but compared to that, I have also achieved a lot of things that I did not expect myself to.” No matter how much competition there may be or how far off it may seem, Rhea urges others to put themselves out there and try. 

Connect with Rhea on Linkedin here.

Follow Forage on LinkedIn here.

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