Teachers can be very influential people in the lives of their students. For Cathie Drysdale, an analyst in the Markets Financial Institutions sales team at ANZ, her high school economics teacher left a lasting impression on her.
“I liked the idea of combining the social and emotional interactions of being an educator with the focus on economics and business which I really enjoyed,” she says.
For the first four years of her career, Cathie worked as a secondary school social studies teacher. A skillset she says helped when she eventually switched careers from the classroom to the dealing room.
“I had fun teaching economics and business studies but, by staying in that environment, I was never able to explore the technical aspects of those subjects beyond a secondary school level. I decided I wanted a career where I could really get into economic and business studies in a lot more depth,” Cathie recalls.
“Teaching the subjects I loved only formed 10-15 per cent of my job, with pastoral care and liaising with parents forming bulk of my role. I wanted the breakdown to be the other way around.”
Cathie’s desire for change isn’t uncommon. According to Harris, 80 per cent of workers in their twenties and 64 per cent of workers in their thirties want to change fields.
Unbeknownst to her teaching colleagues, Cathie started studying post-graduate Applied Finance part-time at Macquarie University. “As soon as I started the course, I knew following a career in finance was the right decision for me.”
Cathie used her time throughout her school holidays to undertake work experience in the dealing room which helped her affirm the career change.
“I liked how the dealing room was in some ways quite similar to school – there is a lot happening all at one time, it’s equally as engaging and action packed but in a different way.”
Since 2018, Cathie has combined her old skills as a teacher with her newfound knowledge of how financial markets function.
“I think my background as a teacher helped me make the move into the dealing room - working with people all day, every day and trying to manage different needs and personalities. Every student has a different personality and you interact with them in a unique way to form connections. The same goes for my clients in markets,” she says.
“Being a teacher is all about trying to identify needs and forming a connection with someone but I think that's true of any work environment. A teacher-student relationship is a working relationship just like the working relationships I have in the dealing room. The dynamics are similar but the manifestation is a little different.”
Cathie’s ability to inform and educate is also being put to good use, for the benefit of customers rather than students. As customer conversations become more insight- and data-driven, Cathie’s ability to collect and translate market information, and to educate customers about what it means for them, is a real asset.