When Jonathon Higgins finished the Master of Commerce at RMIT, it marked the start of a new chapter
Equities Analyst, Shaw and Partners
“Too many students get caught up in study and see it as the finishing line, when in actuality it’s the starting line,” he said.
It’s a competitive market out there and you need to develop and be cognisant of your people skills and differentiate yourself to have any chance of success.”
Jonathon did this by choosing the Master of Commerce the year after completing a Bachelor of Science (Civil Engineering) at Melbourne University in 2013. A competitive job market drove him to complete the back-to-back degrees.
“I believe having a further degree beyond a Bachelor is not so much an advantage but a requirement in the current labour market and study environment,” he said.
On paper, there are huge differences between science and commerce. But Jonathon didn’t view masters as a complete departure from his undergraduate. Rather, the two subjects played to his strengths.
“It wasn't particularly a career change going from an undergraduate science degree to commerce,” he said.
“The reality was that I was very strong in maths and the sciences, and science was the best place to develop the ability to think and problem solve in a different manner. I'd also wanted to always be in a finance related field and the follow on from a technical degree to a commerce degree meant I could specialise and direct where I wanted to go.”
Jonathon now works as an Equities Analyst for investment firm Shaw and Partners Limited. Subjects he studied in the masters proved to be excellent preparation for this role.
“I'd say that financial statement analysis and international finance both piqued my interest and drove me to develop the genesis of my current skill set,” he said.
“I undertook a range of qualitative and quantitative analysis of ASX listed vehicles, valuations and full iterative financial forecasting. These skills are the building blocks for my day-to-day work currently.
“Importantly though I believe it’s understated the people nature of my role and the requirement to be able to judge executives, management and strategy, and whether these are realistic or likely to happen.”
Developing people skills by working in groups with fellow students and closely with teaching staff was a highlight for Jonathon.
“The best things about the program were the culture and attitude as well as the ability to take ownership of your degree,” he said.
“I found that there was a more open, learning environment where people were more interested in being involved in a team than my undergraduate degree.
“I believe that was a facet of the environment, but also a result of a Masters involving people being able to do exactly what they wanted rather than a generalist degree.”
Jonathons’ years of study have led him to a career he is now hugely proud of.
“My greatest accomplishment is being able to make a difference to a number of clients, whilst being lucky to be part of a high performance team at my current and previous employer,” he said. “I'm a full publishing equities analyst and the reach of research distribution is likely in the hundreds of thousands so there’s people reading and using my work to make investment decisions every day!”