Career talk: Push outside the comfort zone

Shweta Vincent CPA, business operations manager, Telstra.

Shweta Vincent surprised her family with her career choice, then astounded them by moving to another country to pursue it.

At age 15, Shweta Vincent already knew her career would be in business and commerce. But it was a surprise to her friends in New Delhi in the early 2000s.

“Given I had a strong academic record in the science streams, my parents, friends and teachers assumed I’d end up doing something in the sciences, an engineer or doctor,” explains Vincent.

Far from it. Today as mobility business operations manager for Global Enterprise & Services at Telstra, Vincent and her team of four direct reports provide sales strategy to the sales teams nationally.

“It’s the sales enablement and business improvement wing of Telstra, it’s really exciting,” she says with genuine enthusiasm.

So, what happened? At school, Vincent had loved maths.

“I was really interested in numbers but wanted to do more with them. But numbers can only teach you so much. What you do with them is more important.”

“It was an amazing experience to live by myself in a foreign country, manage my own finances and meet and interact with new people and make new friends." – Shweta Vincent CPA 

Vincent completed her undergraduate degree in commerce at Delhi University. At that point, she could have accepted one of a number of employment offers to settle into a cosy existence. But, in a surprise for her parents, she announced that she planned to take on postgraduate study in Australia.

“I was keen to explore opportunities outside of my comfort zone and prove to myself I could survive and thrive on my own.”

Arriving in Melbourne in 2006, Vincent knew no one apart from a distant relative. It was a tough time. Vincent’s parents had taken out a loan to pay the fees for her Master of Business at Monash, and Vincent tutored high school students and worked part-time to make ends meet.

“It was an amazing experience to live by myself in a foreign country, manage my own finances and meet and interact with new people and make new friends,” she says.

Vincent completed her studies just as the global financial crisis hit.

“Here I was with this massive education loan and struggling to find a job. I was almost at the point of going home.”

But Vincent’s persistence was rewarded with a short-term project in ANZ’s business banking operations team. In a crazy twist, her role was to train people from India in preparation for offshoring the entire team.

Almost a year after graduating Vincent landed a job at Telstra Media, beginning her six-year career there.

“I’ve really learned and grown with the company,” says Vincent. “And when I go back to what my vision was 15 years ago, I’m actually able to make changes in the business.” 

“I strongly believe in the famous quote from Steve Jobs: ‘The only way to do great work is to love what you do’. You have to do what you believe in, and for the right reasons, not for money or fame because that’s quite short-lived.”

Career history

Became a CPA

2013 – Current
Business operations manager, sales strategy and operations, Global Enterprise & Services (GES), Telstra

2012 – Current
Deputy chair, CPA Emerging Leaders Network

Associate member of CPA Australia

2011 – Current
Member of Victorian ICT Network for Women

Business analyst, solutions and business development, GES, Telstra

Operations consultant, online media advertising, Telstra Media

Associate, small business operations project, ANZ Bank

Master of Business, Monash University

Bachelor of Commerce (Honours), Shri Ram College, University of Delhi

This article is from the December 2014 issue of INTHEBLACK

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