Susan Paek: Working at the heart of Macquarie for Group Treasury

Macquarie Group

When studying at university, Susan Paek chose to combine her love of science and finance by completing a combined Bachelor of Commerce and Science degree, majoring in finance and neuroscience.

After realising a career in scientific research was not for her, she decided to test the waters of a career in finance through roles in Debt Capital Markets and Group Treasury. Susan loved the experience, especially her time in Group Treasury.

“I liked that Treasury and funding is at the heart of an organisation and has an impact on the whole business,” she explains.

Susan had kept an eye on Macquarie’s activities during her involvement in student finance clubs at university and was interested in working with the top talent she knew the organisation attracted.

“Macquarie appealed because it is a global financial services organisation, which operates in various areas including retail banking, asset management and investment banking,” Susan says. “The banking business is just one part of it. I could see that Macquarie was diverse, favoured innovation and always seeking new opportunities and new ways of doing things. That attracted me to apply to the Graduate Program.”

An early start to her career

Susan finished her degree in mid-2020 and had planned to spend six months travelling before Macquarie’s Graduate Program commenced. However, COVID-19 intervened, meaning she was forced to remain at home.

Macquarie offered her the opportunity to start early, ahead of the rest of her 2021 grad cohort, something she says is a great example of the organisation’s flexible culture.

“Macquarie is genuinely flexible and that extends to making different arrangements like working part-time or suiting your schedule for a work-life balance,” Susan says.

Susan joined Macquarie’s Group Treasury Funding Team, which executes debt raising for all of Macquarie’s business (Banking Financial Services, Commodities and Global Markets, Macquarie Capital and Macquarie Asset Management).

“Macquarie’s businesses need funding to operate. Our key role is funding execution, including understanding credit markets to optimally issue debt, looking at innovative solutions to fund and support businesses in their growth aspirations.”

Her team makes critical decisions, and she enjoys the exposure to many different areas of the bank.

“It involves a mix of market facing and internal work with Macquarie’s businesses and balance sheet,” Susan explains. “We need to balance the dynamic nature of markets and Macquarie’s balance sheet.”

Funding execution and strategy

Susan works on funding execution and strategy for Macquarie and undertakes analysis of funding decisions.

“Because of the dynamic nature of the work new questions are always being posed, no two days are the same.”

“We could be providing analysis around executing a public transaction, looking at a variety of international markets to optimise the outcome of a deal,” she explains.

“Or we could be examining headwinds to the funding markets, conducting analysis around risk mitigation and keeping Macquarie well-funded to continue to support to our businesses.”

Susan has gained experience working on funding large deals, including Macquarie’s acquisition of Waddell & Reed Financial Inc, as well as projects such as the RBA Term Funding Facility.

Virtual beginnings

Susan says that, thanks to the pandemic, she has so far spent as much of her career working remotely as she has in the office.

“I started my career working from home and, to date, have spent half of my career working virtually.”

“Being online, you miss the incidental conversations and sense of the bigger picture. But I had daily calls with my buddy and was lucky to be part of a supportive team.”

When she finally started working in Macquarie’s Sydney office, Susan was surprised to find herself sitting opposite the Treasurer of Macquarie Group.

“Everyone is so welcoming, it doesn’t feel hierarchical,” she says. “I have the pleasure of working with everyone in my team regardless of their seniority, so as a graduate you learn from being exposed to their knowledge and experience early in your career.”

Learning through challenge

By July 2021, a year after starting with Macquarie, Susan had already been promoted to Senior Associate.

“Career growth and mobility are prioritised across the organisation,” she says. “I have been given so many chances to step up and showcase my skills.

“While working in Group Treasury is business and finance based, it requires varied skill sets, the most important of which is a curious mindset”

“As an area, it is far-reaching and growing, with many functions - from funding to capital and liquidity. There’s plenty of scope to find what you enjoy and are good at.”

Susan says that in her time at Macquarie, she’s been encouraged to always ask questions, be curious, take initiative and actively seek opportunities.

“In 2021, there were a lot of challenges like working remotely and adjusting to a new role, but I also learned a lot,” Susan says.

She also believes that the formal learning available through the Graduate Development Program has been invaluable.

“The Graduate Development Program has session topics like economics and markets, leadership and communications workshops, plus there are many learning and development opportunities at Macquarie beyond the Graduate Program.”

“I enjoy the entrepreneurial innovative thinking at Macquarie, and I'm excited about the opportunities that exist here to continue learning, try different things, and become an expert in my field.”

Explore opportunities in our Graduate and Intern Programs