Lauren Matthews, the current Deputy Chair of the Kilvington Board of Governors and the President of the Old Kilvonian’s Association, speaks with former student, Margot Moore, about her time at Kilvington, her journey to where she is today, and some advice for current Kilvington students.
Tell us a little bit about yourself
I’m currently working as a Senior Marketing Consulting at PwC (formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers).
What year did you finish at Kilvington?
What is your favourite memory of Kilvington?
Being involved in all the extra-curricular activities. I was heavily involved in many aspects of Kilvington’s music offerings. I played the violin, viola and sang for the School. Taking part in the annual school musical was probably the most rewarding and exciting element of my schooling as well as being Barrett Music Captain in Years 11 and 12.
Any funny stories?
I have enough funny stories to last hours. My cohort was relatively small, so everyone knew each other and we were a very – group which meant we often got into mischief!
What was your journey once you left Kilvington?
I went straight to Uni, without taking a break from school. I started my Commerce degree at Monash and took up a number of part-time jobs during this time. During my second year of study, I applied to a Co-operative Program with GM Holden and was successful, meaning I would defer my degree and work full- with Holden for 12 months. This opportunity has led me to where I am today. After my 12 months with Holden I was then offered to stay with them on a contract, I never went back to full-time university and continued to work full-time and study part-time. It was the best career decision I have made so far. Since then, I’ve moved and lived in Sydney, returned to Melbourne and finally completed my 3 year course over a 6 and a half year period!
Did you end up where you expected you would when you finished school?
I’ve always been driven and competitive so I always saw myself working in a corporate setting. But I had no idea what kind of work I’d be doing, which is why I decided to study Commerce – I knew I wasn’t ready to specialise in anything at the age of 18.
What has been some of the biggest challenges you’ve had to face to get where you are now?
Definitely making the decision to move to Sydney when the job market wasn’t great in Melbourne and I didn’t technically have a degree. It was quite a last minute decision as well. Within the space of 4 weeks I had applied and accepted a job interstate and was looking for apartments! However, the move to Sydney was the only reason I was approached by PwC for the job I am currently in today.
What advice would you give to others who might be faced with similar obstacles?
My advice to anyone who doesn’t know what they want to do with their career is to take any opportunity that comes your way. Regardless of the hesitations you may have, every career opportunity will be a lesson and you’ll always walk away from a job with new skills to take with you wherever that may be next. The thing is, I still don’t know what I want to do in the future. I’ve had experience in HR as well as Marketing, and I am still perplexed as to whether either of these professions are my calling. But I am definitely a big believer in figuring it out along the way whilst picking up skills, contacts and even learning what you DON’T want to do.
What has been your biggest highlight so far?
I recently got the opportunity to go to Vietnam to meet PwC employees from all over the world (we’re a huge global network of firms with over 190,000 employees globally). That’s probably the most exciting thing I have had the chance to do so far.
What excites you about the future?
Probably just knowing that it’s only going to get bigger and better in terms of what I do as a career. Knowing that the higher you go and the closer you work to the key decision makers, the more you contribute to the overall vision of an organisation and that’s what motivates me when it comes to my work.
How did what you learned at Kilvington help make you the person you are today?
I think that during my schooling years, I learnt to always maintain doing the things you love most and that the difference between good days and bad days will largely come down to whether or not you were enjoying the task at hand. I’m very much all for starting at the bottom and working your way up when it comes to jobs and working life, however it is so important to find something that you can enjoy – even if that means maintaining hobbies and activities outside of the real work. I’ve generally got a few projects on the go outside of my day job.
Any advice for our Year 12 students as they embark on the next phase of their journey?
My advice would be that it doesn’t matter if you don’t know ‘what you want to be’ when you leave school. It doesn’t matter if you end up studying a degree that isn’t truly aligned with your passions (you probably don’t even know what you’re truly passionate about at the age of 17 or 18). What matters most is that you take the opportunities that are handed to you. If you have a chance to do an internship or gain work experience – do it! Working in the world of careers marketing and recruitment for nearly 4 years has shown me that the job market for graduates is only getting more competitive. You need to get experience, regardless of if it’s what you’ll end up doing in 10 years. Communication and people skills will take you further than any technical skills you learn, so take any chance you have to develop them in a professional setting.