ASB Graduate Diaries: Shazneen Hajati

07 December 2015 / Published in News & Stories

This is the latest entry in our Graduate Diaries series, highlighting some of the talented ASB Future Me graduates as they share their experiences progressing through the programme.

I’m an ASB Future Me Graduate in the Finance Stream; I started the programme earlier this year after I graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in accounting and commercial law.

Being on the ASB Future Me programme has been a great experience so far! From the rotational structure to special grad opportunities, the programme certainly has a lot to offer. My rotations in Finance have involved spending time in Product Reporting and Insights, Financial Accounting and Group Financial Reporting to date. Rotations are great as they help you find areas you love and thrive in, creating a clearer picture about where you see yourself in the future.

It’s unbelievable how fast time has flown and as I come up to celebrating my first ‘bankiversary’, I thought this would be the best opportunity to reflect and share some learnings from my experience so far. The tips that follow can be applied to all new graduates entering the workforce, to help make the transition from university to work much easier.

Embrace opportunities

Throughout your career, opportunities at work will arise – they may directly relate to your area or they may be outside of your usual role. It is important to look out for opportunities and pay attention to them; although they may require additional time and effort, what you learn and the connections you make will be highly valuable in the future.

Sharing my own experiences, I recently took up the project lead position in our graduate Shared Learning Project. I’m currently in project mode with a graduate team of five, our focus being on the Retail Product and Strategy area. Our team is remotely located, with the five of us being based in different ASB offices across New Zealand. I saw this role as a great opportunity to learn project management and people management skills – so I decided to put my hand up. This experience continues to teach me so much; these are learnings I could have easily missed had I not embraced the opportunity.

The key message is don’t be afraid to take up opportunities, especially those that involve trying something new as you can learn a lot from the experience.

Build your network

Networking is simple yet important at the beginning of your career. Building your network simply means connecting with professionals in the workforce. This creates a wider range of professional contacts whom you can learn from and share experiences with. It also helps to create your personal brand and gain visibility, which can help pave the way for your career.

Being a member of the Future Me University Committee, I have been able to represent ASB at a couple of university events this year. A common question that I receive from students is “how and when do you network?” Firstly, networking should never be forced. From my experience, the best working relationships I have made have occurred organically through shared interests and general conversation. Secondly, networking does not necessarily have to occur in a formal situation. You can network with people every day, for example talking to someone new in your office kitchen or sitting next to a new colleague for the day (this is easier if you work in an activity-based environment like at ASB). The key is to be confident and take the first step!

Get involved

Getting involved, whether in team activities or wider business initiatives, is a great way to learn more about the culture and values of your workplace. Not only can this be fun, but it’s also a good way to meet people across the business and give back to the community.

At ASB, we regularly have events where staff can volunteer. A couple of graduates and I chose to volunteer at ASB Polyfest this year where we lead fun activities on the day. Not only was it great to spend a day out in the sun, it also allowed us to see firsthand the great work ASB does in the community.

Be yourself

When you start life as a working graduate, always remember to be yourself! By embracing who you are, you will immediately feel more comfortable, bringing more energy and enthusiasm to work and genuinely connecting with those around you.

ASB has a great work environment where individuality is encouraged and respected. Having an avid interest in fashion outside of work, I’ve embraced this not only through my colourful wardrobe but by sparking up casual fashion-related conversations. This led to a couple of us attending the Breast Cancer Cure fashion show which ASB sponsored!

By embracing opportunities, connecting with new people and getting involved, you’ll surely be able to make the most of your new work experience. And don’t be afraid to be yourself in the process.


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