Alex Macdonald, Graduate
Alex Macdonald joined Serco in the UK as a grad in 2017. Now in his third placement as transition co-ordinator for one of our largest contracts in AsPac.
Why did you choose to join Serco as a graduate?
There were many reasons to join Serco. Serco’s sector leading management team gave me great confidence in the company’s growth prospects. I knew I would gain management experience in extremely challenging environments – I liked the ‘real-life’ aspect of what Serco does. I’d considered banking and finance but I think that differentiating yourself from almost anyone in your peer group will pay dividends in the long term. And finally, the ‘Serco and proud’ ethos really resonates with me. I love the idea that those three words drive an entire business: it’s fascinating and brilliant.
What do you most enjoy about your experience as a grad at Serco?
I’ve gained real perspective when it comes to: decision making, especially under pressure; and stakeholder management, managing expectations and influence – it’s an art. But what’s really resonated for me is the calibre of people I’ve met and continue to work with. People who are very driven, defined and empowered by the services they have a hand in delivering work that matters enormously to citizens and the community.
What would you say about the people you’ve worked with at Serco?
Some things we do can be challenging and difficult, whilst also very rewarding. It requires the most extraordinary degree of empathy, patience, resilience and care - remarkable character traits. As such, it is little coincidence there are such fantastic people in the business. People who work at Serco genuinely feel purpose in improving people’s lives and the world people live in. Which other businesses can offer this?
What have you most valued to-date about your grad experience?
Already I’ve learned so much and grown both personally and professionally. I’ve had great managers, all of whom have been very supportive of me shaping my journey and experiences. I’ve been trusted with incredible responsibility and people everywhere have had an openness to treating me like any other colleague regardless of my age. And working in businesses that touch people’s lives at the core is both hugely humbling and a real privilege.
Why would you commend Serco to other graduates?
There is no other business in the world that would let you work in a prison for ten months, then in a Group corporate function, then in Defence and then afford you the chance of an international experience to work on the transition of a $1bn contract. Much is made of Serco’s values and of its people, and rightly so – they are all imperative to the business’s future success. In my view though, Serco’s magic is in its open mindedness - I just don’t think grads will find that spirit anywhere else. I feel very lucky to have been exposed to work that is ‘real’ and immensely different to what my contemporaries are doing. This gives you an ability to think about things differently. What is certain is that there will be few better opportunities to grow up, be challenged and allow you to find purpose than at Serco.