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Top 5 career tips from Chris Lynch, CFO of Rio Tinto and Deakin alumnus

From trainee accountant to Chief Financial Officer of Rio Tinto.

Deakin alumnus, Chris Lynch, started his career straight out of school as a trainee accountant for CRA (a precursor to Rio Tinto) in Broken Hill, New South Wales. His rise to CFO of BHP Billiton and then Rio Tinto means he's frequently asked to offer career advice to new graduates. However, Chris says he will never claim to know all the answers. If pressed for guidance by anyone wanting to enter the sector, this will be his advice: 

  1. Whatever your current role is, make the most of it. Do your very best in that job.
  2. If you can show energy and enthusiasm, you’re going to encourage more people than you’re going to discourage. That’s really important.
  3. From a career point of view, if you are ever offered a “step out” opportunity – take it. My career trajectory was really changed by Alcoa giving me the opportunity to move around the business, not just staying in the finance field. This culminated in Alcoa offering me an MD role for a full business and this dramatically increased my capacity.
  4. No one else will have a bigger interest in your own career than you. No one else will care if you’re successful or not. So take accountability for it. And if something is not working, you’ve got to do something about it.
  5. Finally – and this links back to why I did an MBA at Deakin – you need to stay open to learning. You need to remember that you don’t have all the answers. So stay humble so that you can keep growing.
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