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Written By

Hannah Gray


College of Business, Law and Governance

Publish Date

17 August 2021

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A lifelong interest

JCU Alumni Siddarth Roche has long been interested in business models and economics — even since childhood. Now, as a recent JCU Business graduate, he gets to explore and analyse the economy of the entire country in his new position with the Reserve Bank of Australia. Siddarth is confident that this role marks the beginning of an exciting career in commerce.

Siddarth’s interest in economics began a long time ago. “When I was a kid, I developed the perfect business model in the eraser industry,” Siddarth says. “My parents would buy me erasers, and then I would sell them right back to them. My free supplier was also my buyer. So, I’ve always had a passion for understanding markets, innovation and entrepreneurship.”

This passion drove Siddarth to pursue a deeper understanding of finance and commerce at university. After completing a Bachelor of Business majoring in Economics and Financial Management (majors that are now offered in the Bachelor of Commerce), Siddarth also completed an Honours degree in the same subject. In his third year, Siddarth completed an internship at the Reserve Bank of Australia and was invited to join their graduate program after he completed his Honours.

It was an offer he couldn’t refuse. A position with the Reserve Bank of Australia is the chance of an economics student’s lifetime.

“The Reserve Bank isn’t an ordinary bank,” Siddarth says. “It’s Australia’s central bank, and it’s responsible for overseeing the monetary system in Australia. One of its main functions is setting the level of interest rates in the economy.”

The Reserve Bank of Australia also issues Australia’s currency, works to maintain a strong financial system, and offers banking services to the government. Since joining the Reserve Bank in February 2021, Siddarth has had the opportunity to dive deep into Australia’s economy and apply the knowledge and skills that he gained throughout his studies in many ways.

Discovering the tools of the trade

As a Graduate Economist at the Reserve Bank, Siddarth rotates through several teams within the bank. He is currently working as an analyst in the Note Issue team.

“In my role, I get to undertake research projects into the future of cash in Australia and explore what that may look like,” he explains. “I perform a lot of data analysis on cash distribution and cash demand. Overall, I’ve had a good chance to break economic problems down to their working parts, think creatively, and then apply my learnings to policy.”

Siddarth says that the knowledge and skills he gained during his four years at JCU have played a large part in his work at the Reserve Bank.

“I really enjoyed being in a smaller university where people know you by name,” Siddarth says. “In a class of 20 people compared to 200 people, you have much more one-on-one time with your lecturer. I love asking questions, so I was able to spend a lot of time with lecturers and tutors getting detailed answers to some of my really obscure queries.”

During his Honours year, Siddarth learned the requirements of quality research. “Having the opportunity to conduct a pioneering research project while working closely with academic staff for a year was fantastic,” he says. “The project instilled in me an immense respect for the rigour and discipline that research requires. I also learned how to work flexibly, which is a vital skill.”

“Overall, the personal approach to education as well as the flexibility and discipline that I gained during my time at JCU have really prepared me for my current role.”

JCU Alumni Siddarth Roche

A whole new world

Transitioning from living and studying in Townsville to living and working in Sydney has been an exciting and growing experience for Siddarth.

“One nice thing about Townsville is that everything’s really close; I could attend lectures and then be at the training pitch for field hockey within 15 minutes,” Siddarth says. “Obviously, you can’t do the same in Sydney because it’s such a big place. But it’s exciting to come here because it’s a fast-pace place. Things are always on the move. It’s a lot faster than life in regional Queensland — where I’ve spent most of my life — so it’s great to enter such a different and exhilarating environment.

“There’s also such variety down here, from amazing food and artisan bars to museums, galleries, concert halls, sporting venues — there’s always something to do. Having grown up in a smaller place like Townsville, Sydney is refreshing.”

Siddarth studying in class
Siddarth working at computer

Excitement for the future

With the perspective he’s gained from working in the Reserve Bank of Australia, Siddarth is excited not just for the future of his career, but for what the future of the economy will look like.

“In my Honours project, I got to build on the foundation of my passion for understanding markets and innovation,” Siddarth says. “I researched whether financial constraints reduce the probability of firms introducing process innovations. Process innovations are new ways of producing, delivering, or supporting business activities; these are the silent drivers of economic growth.

“I think innovations in digital technologies are going to have a significant impact on the economy. I’m looking forward to understanding – and possibly even shaping – the coming changes within Australia’s economic landscape.”

To those who are also interested in the future of Australia’s — and the world’s — economy, Siddarth says not to hesitate and to vigorously explore the world of commerce.

“Especially to those who are studying, I’d say don’t be afraid to ask questions. The staff at JCU are extremely supportive and knowledgeable and love having discussions. I’d also say, get involved. Internships and work experience are very important. The work integrated learning component in the commerce degree is the perfect chance to apply the knowledge that you learn in the classroom in the real world.

“Go beyond the classroom, as well. Volunteer at a local firm or attend networking events. Don’t be afraid to reach out to professionals and let them inspire you. LinkedIn is especially good for that, particularly during a pandemic, when you can’t meet people face-to-face.

“Studying economics and commerce equips you to seek answers to some of the biggest and smallest questions in any part of life. You can break problems down, think creatively, collect and interpret data, apply your learnings, and potentially have a direct and real impact on people’s lives through your work.”

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