James Brouff graduated from the UNE Business School with a Bachelor of Business/Agriculture in 2016, and during the first years of his undergraduate degree, James lived at St. Albert’s College. Last year he completed his Master of Business Administration as an off-campus student online and graduated at the most recent autumn graduation.

James now works as an Agribusiness Manager at Bank of Queensland based out of Dubbo, NSW where his main focus is on clients with lending exposure exceeding $3,000,000. Some days James could be in for a long day at the office, working into the night to compile and put forward a client funding request. On other days, James’ role takes him across the country, driving as far south as Melbourne, out west past Hay, back into the Liverpool Planes or even down into South Australia to support his clients or meet with farmers looking for a better bank that values delivering personal service to build client relationships. James finds his job with BOQ unique as he can travel anywhere and support his clients regardless of where they are having covered over 50,000km in his first 12 months.

By completing his undergraduate degree at the UNE Business School, James developed a good foundation for entering the finance industry. He is the youngest manager in BOQ Business, stepping up to managerial duties when he was just 24. James credits having the right education, experience and work ethic to moving up the corporate ladder. During his time at BOQ, James has made some significant changes including creating the banks first water lending policy and checklist, putting forward amendments to BOQ’s underinsurance assessment tool and compiling an end to end lending process improvement paper focusing on minimising errors & increasing efficiency to deliver better results for our customers.

Being able to balance the commitments of study and work takes effort and James has been doing this since he left UNE to start working in finance.  Balancing work and study has helped him to understand the importance of being organised and forward planning.

Through the completion of his Masters, James has found out what it takes to be a good manager, and most importantly a good leader. He says, ‘there is clearly a difference between a manger and a leader, one simply directs and is happy with the status quo whilst the other strives to improve those that they work with and the framework within which they work’.

James is always looking to furthering his studies whilst working so he can continue to build his knowledge base to be in the best position to keep progressing in the workforce and improving outcomes for staff and customers alike. James will be aiming to use his business improvement paper, which was completed in his MBA, to form the basis of his PhDi partnering with his current employer to deliver further industry innovation. If all goes to plan his area of study will focus on integrated process and operations within the business, emphasising what can be achieved by upskilling the user and addressing the process rather than expensive capital expenditure to replace the current core technology systems. James’ experience with different businesses across Australia has shown him that often far more can be achieved by finding a smarter way to work with the existing technology rather than looking to overhaul the whole system.

A highlight of James’ time at UNE Business School is strong relationships that you can build with your lecturers that will extend beyond your studies. This lead James to joining the ENACTUS UNE team, serving as their vice president and represent the university on the world stage in Johannesburg at the ENACTUS world cup. This was one of the most valuable experiences of his professional life seeing the multitude of opportunities in the business world as well as hearing from CEO’s of Global companies talk about what it takes to succeed.

James formed a strong relationship with one of his lectures, whom he still considers a mentor to this day, who encouraged him to reach out to the head of NAB China for future career advice. This ultimately guided him to the finance industry, into studying his MBA and further developed his understanding of what it will take to succeed.  He finds his current role at BOQ complements his studies at a regional university and has lead him to work across different states, in specialised subsectors and with a range of great people.

The advice James gives to current students, and those approaching graduation is to put the effort in early, go where others won’t & make the most of your time at university because life only gets busier. James says, “By taking on the more challenging tasks early in life you will learn how to manage yourself effectively at university which then makes it easier to step up into managing a team”. Another critical piece of advice James has is to be prepared to do the work. Employers expect results so you should be ready to work towards achieving or exceeding them if you want to succeed in any field.