Where can a commerce/law degree take you? For Charlotte McFarlane, it’s landed her a role with tech giant Google where she works in one of the world’s ‘coolest’ offices.
When Charlotte McFarlane was offered a job in the London office of technology titan Google, she knew it was an opportunity she couldn’t refuse.
Only weeks after completing the final of her Deakin commerce/law degree exams, Charlotte landed in the UK for an adventure abroad.
‘I didn’t know how long it would be for, what I was going to do or where I wanted to end up but I knew I wanted to live overseas,’ she says.
Happily, Charlotte’s London job search soon landed her a contract with Google working in People Operations.
‘It was an area I hadn’t considered before but I knew it was a once-in-a-life time opportunity,’ she says.
By early 2019, her contract position was promoted to a full-time, ongoing role and she’s now with Google’s Services Associated in People Operations where she’s working closely with the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Team.
‘Operationally we ensure that, internally, Google is adequately resourced to help grow this team and support bringing top talent into the company. I am also now supporting Leadership Staffing to help grow and bring new leaders into Google,’ she explains.
Charlotte completed her Deakin commerce/law degree both on and off-campus and found the University’s flexible online delivery options was a huge bonus - particularly in her last three years of study when she was balancing her studies with busy extra-curricular calendar.
‘This meant I often couldn’t attend the scheduled tutorials and lectures so being able to log in from home and learn in my own time was very important. It also allowed for me to get through the coursework at my own pace and gave me time for activities such as volunteer work and sport that I’m passionate about.’
Charlotte also enhanced her Deakin studies by taking them abroad, completing a semester at the University of South Florida, USA and a law study tour and law firm internship in Sri Lanka.
‘The internship in Colombo was a really intense experience where I worked with law partners preparing court documents, researching cases and attending court hearings. While confronting at times, it was an interesting way to learn first-hand how another Commonwealth country’s legal system operated,’ she reflects.
During the last trimester of her studies, Charlotte was accepted into a full-time, three-month internship with British Petroleum (BP) where she worked on a merger and acquisition project between BP and Woolworths.
‘I was extremely fortunate to be placed on this project as it allowed me to work with a group of very knowledgeable and hard-working people,’ she says.
‘I was trusted with responsibility to work within the BP leadership team and help deliver the vision of transforming convenience retail in Australia. This experience reinforced that choosing a commerce/law degree was the right decision as it provided and equipped me with the fundamental skills to work with a successful multi-national company.’
Now based in Google’s UK headquarters, Charlotte says she’s utilising – and building on – her Deakin commerce skills every day.
‘I’m also working with extremely knowledgeable people who support and encourage me. Each day I learn more about the incredible Google teams who are working not only to make the world a better place but to keep the company at the forefront of technology.’
And if working alongside some of the most innovative minds in the tech world was not enough, Charlotte also enjoys the dazzling array of perks that come with being a Google employee.
‘We work in the coolest office, wear whatever we want and have unlimited free food and drinks along with awesome work parties and events! I also travel for work and have spent time with other Google teams in Dublin, Zurich and the US,’ she says.
Charlotte says her Deakin commerce/law qualification has provided her with a strong launching point for her career and has delivered the knowledge and skills she needs for entry into a vast range of professions.
‘Law has allowed me to think analytically and broaden my writing and research skills while commerce, where I majored in finance, has given me transferable skills that help me develop a broad knowledge of different business operations. This has been particularly helpful to my role at Google where we deal with such a vast amount of data to improve our processes and procedures,’ she explains.
In the future, Charlotte is planning to complete her practical legal training for admission as a lawyer but in the meantime, she says her double degree - with its embedded global learning - has demonstrated that she can take her Deakin learning and use it anywhere in the world.
‘It has given me the confidence to use my knowledge and skills in a variety of different roles. While I’m currently focusing more on the commerce side of my degree, I know that my law degree is helping me every day.’