This is one determined smart cookie. Someone who has drive, dedication, an eye for detail AND is such an inspiration. Kylie never seizes to amaze me with her achievements and passion for continuous development, but the stand out thing I love about Kylie is that she always has time for others. This profile is a must read, it dives into the world of the Reserve Bank and honestly demonstrating how commitment, passion and a little bit of elbow grease can see you achieve your goals.
Kylie Springer, Senior Analyst Banknote Projects, Note Issue Department, Reserve Bank of Australia
Brief description of your role:
A Senior Analyst at the Reserve Bank can mean a million different things depending on what department and what section you’re working in. The broad similarities involve being able to think and write analytically, work with different data sets and determine the key messages, write recommendations, reports and analytical pieces as well as the usual organisation skills allowing you to work productively in between meetings and presentations.
In the Note Issue Department, Banknote Projects section specifically, it also includes Project Management skills like timetable supervision, budgeting, co-ordination and liaison with external stakeholders and using a number of specific project reporting tools.
So… what do you actually do?
The Note Issue Department is responsible for all things related to Australian currency: it oversees all aspects of the production and issuance of Australia’s banknotes with the objective of ensuring public confidence in banknotes as an effective means of payment and a store of wealth. This includes managing every phase of the banknote life cycle, from design, production, processing, storage and distribution as well as forecasting cash demand and counterfeit banknote analysis.
The Banknote Projects team that I joined last year is solely responsible for the management and co-ordination of the Next Generation Banknote project (see www.rba.gov.au). So anything and everything involved in designing and producing new currency for Australia is what our team oversees. It’s a real Project Management role and we’re all responsible for a specific part of the project.
Many of the day to day specifics are actually confidential! Also, as expected in project-related roles, the days can vary a lot from back-to-back meetings and presentations, or a day at the desk finishing reports and recommendations – but an average day is something like this:
6:30: Alarm is buzzing. I always thought once I was working I would suddenly become a morning person but it hasn’t happened! 7:00-7:15: We’re in the car (I share the commute with my partner, so it ends up about the same price as both getting the train in). 8:00-8:30: Depending on Sydney traffic that can vary immensely we can be in by 8am. I drop him at Woolloomooloo, park the car, and enjoy a quick walk through the beautiful Domain to Martin Place. First thing to do – coffee and breakfast. 8:45: Always start with emails. There’s always something in the inbox from the night before. Prepare task list and daily goals for the morning meeting. 9:15: Daily stand up meeting with the team to review tasks ahead for the day and summarise goals hit the previous day. Emails all caught up. Usually a note to finish up, minutes from a meeting to review or a morning meeting to prepare for. 10:30: Usually a presentation to attend or a meeting with another section, working group, or manager. 11.30: Write up actions from meeting. Update action and task registers and write some minutes to circulate to attendees. 12:30: Depending on the day of the week I may have lunch time sport. There is a Bank team for just about every sport and the CBD is great for competitive lunch time sports comps with other corporate teams. I play volleyball and basketball and I love it! 1:30: Starving by now, after a quick shower usually up to the cafeteria for lunch and straight back to my desk to get back into it. More emails. 2:30: Unless there’s another afternoon working group meeting, this is when you get a little quiet time to work on those notes, recommendation papers, or project reports. It’s often a good hour or two of head down time. 3:30: Coffee run before afternoon meeting. NGB is such a big project so there are many committees, working groups and other sections in the Bank that need to be kept in the loop with weekly updates and meetings. 4:30: Emails. Often something else will pop up that may need priority, or can be tasked to the following day. Finish writing up outcomes of afternoon meeting, assigning actions and writing up any minutes or decisions made. 5:00: Check the task list, reply to any outstanding emails, jot down what will need to be on tomorrow’s list. Hopefully finish up that paper that you were planning to wrap up today. 6:00: Off to the train (the boyfriend is on Chef hours so he usually keeps the car until later). 7:00: Greeted at home by two of the most adorable puppies (bias I know)who are always keen to play. Unpack the sports bags and wash the travel mugs. Down time! Usually the Chef has prepared something in the fridge ready for me to heat and eat. Or if he has the night off, then he’s in the kitchen while I pour a glass of red. 8:00: Not so big on TV these days, so I’m usually working through a to-do list for the boyfriend’s catering business: quoting, reviewing website content, working on brochures etc. but definitely more computer time. 9:30 Trying to wind down with a book, a meditation and some nice hot herbal tea. Usually while the puppies are crawling on top of me for cuddles. 10:30 I know the Chef is close by now so I’m never quite asleep. 11:15: The boyfriend is home, puppies are revved up again briefly while they greet him and then everyone’s in bed shortly after that.
How did you get to your position of being a Senior Analyst?
The Reserve Bank takes on predominantly economics graduates, although there are also some law, commerce, finance and science backgrounds here too. I completed a double degree of Commerce (Marketing) and Economics at the University of Adelaide. As most Economics students do, I started reviewing the requirements of the Reserve Bank Graduate Program and realised that the additional year of Honours was a prerequisite. That extra Honours year was harder than all four previous years combined, but in the end it was well worth it. I applied for the RBA Graduate Program early in my Honours year and was interviewed in Sydney at the Bank. By June I found out I had the job, which was a massive relief for the rest of my year at Uni, not to mention a great motivator.
Have you always wanted to work in the finance industry?
Since my first economics class in year 11, I knew I wanted to learn more about it. Gradually as I studied economics for longer and once I was pursuing it at University, I knew I wanted to work at the Reserve Bank. Unlike most economics graduates, it wasn’t just about the research and modelling side of economics for me, but rather I preferred that my studies provided me with a foundation for thinking through problems and structuring my arguments. I think economics is important for just about any role and the foundations are useful knowledge for everyone.
What do you love about your role?
I love that the daily work I do has a direct impact on the Australian public. Every single person in the community uses cash and it is important for people to have confidence in their currency and for us to ensure that it provides a secure means of payment. I also love working in a field where Australia has set the standard. It’s amazing speaking to people from other central banks in other countries who still admire the work that the Reserve Bank and the CSIRO did to create the first polymer banknotes in the world. Now that the Bank of Canada has, and next the Bank of England, moved to polymer banknotes it’s increasingly obvious the security benefits in the product.
In your current role, what has been your biggest achievement?
Being asked to attend my first international currency conference in London and present at the Bank of England last year was a huge achievement. I was the first graduate from my year to travel overseas for work and it was a great opportunity. I had always wanted to visit London, I had never imagined my first trip there would be for work.
Over your career, what has been your ‘love this’ moment?
Seeing a calendar meeting request to visit the Governor’s office to present an update on some of my recent work was certainly a big moment! Also walking in to the Bank of England was quite special too.
What would be the least favorite aspect of your role?
The hardest part is when we’re dealing with a number of different stakeholders, some of which have opposing interests. What makes some people and industries happier in regard to cash use, can sometimes negatively impact other parties so it can be really hard to strive to make everyone happy. Sometimes there are hard decisions to make and even though we always work towards the optimal outcome, it can be challenging.
Any advice for anyone aspiring to work at the Central Bank or in the economics field?
If you’re looking to work in any of the professional fields, there is rarely a disadvantage of more study. I’d encourage students to complete double degrees too, not only do you gain a more diversified skill set, but you’ll stand out during your job interviews. You never know what opportunities might pop up where those different skills will be sought after.
If you’re interested in the Reserve Bank specifically, I’d recommend familiarising yourself with the Bank’s core values and mandate. It’s a very unique organisation with a very specific culture. It’s not like being in the private sector. To be happy working here you really need to have that something inside you that makes you want to strive to have a positive impact on the welfare of the Australian general public.
WOW – what a fantastic insight into the world of the Reserve Bank and Kylie’s career journey. It has made me super inspired… Any questions for Kylie, please comment below.