Undergraduate Finance to Graduate Banker: Brett Baguley's reflections on the honours program

Brett Baguley

Driving the management of his own Honours project enabled Brett to finesse his financial modelling skills and optimise graduate opportunities.

Like many students before him, Brett Baguley came to the end of his double degree in Economics and Finance with more questions about the future than he had answers for. His critical thinking skills had been “profoundly tested” by his lecturers, sparking the curiosity to push boundaries and search for new knowledge. As a result, Brett committed himself to a year-long honours program; a decision that would equip him with specialised subject expertise to navigate the next steps in his career.

“I wanted to expand on the knowledge that I had gained in my undergraduate degree and apply them in a research setting. I hoped that it would either lead me to a higher research position, and that, simultaneously, I would gain skills and experience that prospective employers would value.”

The unique mix of coursework and research courses, allowed Brett to learn directly from our experts, taking in all sorts of advice.  


“The most enjoyable aspect was the face-to-face time with my supervisor, who has provided me with excellent advice and guidance, not just relating to my thesis, but relating to many other aspects of my life as well.”Brett Baguley

With the initial hopes of going down a research pathway, Brett actually found that his Honours experience equipped him with “advanced critical thinking and analytical skills” that potential employers would highly value in graduates. Demonstrating his expertise in a subject area helped him to become strong problem solver and while exploring emerging issues in the finance industry.

“My honours research focus involved comparing asset excess returns under a normality assumption with a multi-variate t-distribution assumption. I analysed the pervasiveness of anomaly effects under both circumstances in an effort to gauge the extent to which widely known anomaly effect observations are present due to model misspecification.”

Brett’s undergraduate studies and his honours year put him on track to secure a coveted role as a Graduate Analyst with Commonwealth Bank Australia, commencing in 2021. 

These are the in-depth skills that Brett believes were critical in helping him develop confidence in the competitive graduate job market.

“Higher critical thinking and analytical skills which arise out of self-driven research, technical skills in financial analysis and writing skills attributable to writing my dissertation are all key skills which I have learnt through Honours which will serve to benefit me in the workplace.”

During his Honours year, Brett was able to keep fit at the Fitness Hub and take on part-time work at the University as an undergraduate tutor. An additional perk was that Brett had access to a study office on campus which made it easy to organise his day. Brett found that the freedom of the Honours experience helped with his time management that made his overall experience much more enjoyable. 

“The experience that comes with completing an experience as challenging as an Honours year is, fully appreciated and valued by employers, and that is reflected in the graduate role opportunities for Honours students”

If you are interested in undertaking an Honours year, contact Dean Wilkie to have a discussion. 

Tagged in Honours, Economics, Finance, Student experience


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