Sachin Rajapaksha

Graduated: 2016

Current Role: Financial Crime Risk Advisor at Bendigo Bank 

Did you always aspire to be in the job position you currently hold?

I didn't always aspire to be in Risk Management at a Corporate Bank but rather an Engineer. If you take it back to HSC I wanted to be an Electrical Engineer. However I started a double degree at Macq Uni in Engineering and Finance, hence my finance side directed me towards banking along with a role at a Foreign Exchange Business. From there my love of Financial Crime was born.

Describe your average work day....

My average work day is mainly engaging with others across the bank on any Financial Crime related queries they have. My job in the Second Line of Defense for the Bank is to interpret and advise the business on Legislation and Internal Policies/Procedures. It also involves Assurance reviewing where you act as an oversight function and provide feedback to a business unit on how they can better comply with regulatory requirements.

Please share some words of wisdom for today's students...
What I learnt is to not give up on what you originally wanted to achieve because it is too difficult. I had my own mental health struggles which generated a resentment to studying and at the time I was studying Mechatronics Engineering. Hence I got into Financial Crime, it was easier, fulfilling and paid more. However the last reason of paid more should never be a factor. I still had passion for Engineering. I realised I needed to approach it my own way and go at my own pace. Although Financial Crime is great, Engineering just holds that place in my heart and has been a passion ever since I could remember.

Do you have a shout out to a special teacher?
I have 3 actually! 

Mr. George An - He was my Psychics teacher for the last 2 terms of Year 12 and left a lasting legacy on me. He read one of my experiment reports and saw I put down the root cause of an error made as "Human Error". He said if you put down Human Error as a Root Cause, you are a Human Error yourself, everyone burst out laughing but it is absolutely true. Don't generalise, be specific and reflect on your mistakes. 

Mr. Grant Harmer - He was my teacher for electives in Year 9 and 10 especially across Electronics. Thinking about him is a serotonin boost. He was so knowledgeable and his passion and kindness made me want to do the work at school and at home mainly because it would give more time to banter with him but to also hear what he had to share. He taught me you don't have to be so serious and formal all the time to lead and teach people, sometimes all you need to do is be their friend. 

Mrs. Ruth Sanders - She was my Science teacher in Year 7, 8, 11 AND 12. She was loud and strict. I felt like I had Gordon Ramsay as my science. But boy she made me super passionate about it. She was so knowledgeable looking back and set high standards for us. When she retired I hugged her and she cried, she was a firm yet kind mentor. She taught me to uphold high standards and give constructive criticism to mistakes whilst also highlighting achievements, balanced as all things should be. 

The greatest lessons I learned at CTHS...

Stick with your friends and they will become family. Shout out to all the amazing people I met and still keep in contact with. Having supporting peers is paramount to the good life. Be a friend to everyone, even if it is at work or out of work. Treat people the way you want to be treated. Be open and set boundaries for yourself and never be afraid to speak up for what you believe in.

A piece of Advice for today's students (and their parents)...

Don't be so serious and formal all the time! I do struggle with it being in Cooperate banking where things are super formal, so there is always a balance to find. Be more open and kind, talking about your health and your deepest secrets with your colleagues. To everyone going into HSC, it is NOT Life or Death. So take a MASSIVE breath and enjoy your teen years with your mates.

For parents, HSC is NOT Life or Death. It really is not. To all the strict parents that are out there who think their children are doomed if they fail, I did not get 90+, I got 86.6 and it was not enough for the course I wanted. There is more to life than that, and I know people with mystery marks vastly superior and happier than me as well. You mainly learn through human interaction especially with your friends. A textbook and homework will only get you so far. And as for me, I was initially stuck at home. Once I was got some more freedom in the lead up to HSC it felt like it unlocked a whole new world, and I was so much more motivated to do well and succeed. Foster strict yet fair criticism and highlight/reward their achievements, let them fly more free. Just because your parents were that way does not mean you have to be. Make that change.