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Matthew Gennaccaro

An inquisitive mind will shine, and your desire to learn or understand how things work is far more important than what degree you come with.

What’s your advice for graduates applying for the Coles’ Graduate Program?

It’s probably been said multiple times before, but I genuinely think some of the best advice is to just be yourself and let your natural personality show. Like any company this size, there are going to be a multitude of diverse personalities and people from varying backgrounds, beliefs etc. So it’s important to remember that your perspective, input, thoughts, personality, energy etc. all contribute to that and they’re valuable.

Do you need extensive tech knowledge to succeed in your role?

Yes and no, it’s a bit of a grey area. In terms of the work, there are vastly varied levels of complexity, so there is work that a beginner could do, but there is also work that requires a seasoned expert to complete. In this way, you don’t need extensive knowledge, but it will help you. Your attitude and approach to your work are more important, and you will be surprised how much you learn.

Suppose someone wants to do the same job as you do, would that be also possible with a different background?

I suppose I’m perfect for this one. I’m currently in Cloud Engineering despite having predominantly a health sciences background. The short answer is yes, it is possible. The longer answer is that while it is possible, it is important to acknowledge that if you’re entering a highly technical field without the same background, there will be a steeper learning curve and it will be more challenging, however, if it’s something you’re genuinely interested in, that interest will carry you through. In terms of characteristics, this is where an inquisitive mind will shine, your desire to learn/understand how things work is far more important than what degree you come with. The team you enter will also be aware of this and they’ll start you off according to your current level and will provide you with opportunities to learn and grow throughout your rotation. So, if you’re genuinely interested, go for it. That’s what the program is for!

What do you enjoy most about your role?

I love getting to solve problems and work as part of a team. For me, I enjoy tasks that are a mix of focusing on my work (e.g. writing some code, and understanding concepts) and working with others (solving an issue someone is having or getting other perspectives on potential changes). The great thing about my current role is how collaborative the work can be. Something I didn’t expect was how part of our role focuses on assisting other teams/engineers/developers, it’s very involved! The moments when you work together with others and you finally get that problem solved are a highlight for sure.

What has been your greatest achievement in the Graduate program to date?

In my first rotation, I was in an innovation Business Analyst/Project management role that focused on very fast-paced projects. Part of this is socialising our findings, it’s one thing to gain some great insight, but that information needs to be relayed to the right people in the right way. One of my responsibilities was to deliver these presentations and as someone who has always struggled with public speaking, I took this challenge head-on and even focused one of my personal development goals around it. I completed many presentations, but my greatest achievement was designing my showcase based on the first project I led, where I created an activity to simulate going into a store and using our developed prototype. That method has since been adopted as the norm and seeing that format take place with the next grads who are now in that team has honestly been cool!

What advice would you give other grads?

Be yourself, let your enthusiasm show and probably most importantly, get involved!

Does Coles support flexible working?

Flexible working has been incredibly helpful and from my experience, teams have been very willing to work with you if you have valid reasons to flex your work.

What’s been your biggest takeaway from the Graduate program so far?

I’d say just how much of an opportunity there is to learn, and how it’s really up to us how much we want to get out of it. I’ve had a lot of opportunities come up in my time here already, and when you’re willing to seize them, you do grow.