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Ted Richards

Completing a masters degree helps my career prospects.

What did you study at undergraduate level and when did you graduate? What were you doing before/while you completed your masters degree?

My name’s Ted Richards. I’m Director of Business Development at Six Park, a leading Australian robo-advisor. Previous to my current role, I played football (AFL) professionally for 16 years with the Sydney Swans and Essendon Bombers. I completed my Master of Applied Finance in 2015 with Kaplan Professional while I was still playing AFL.

Tell us about your current role.  Can you describe a typical day? (if it’s difficult to describe a typical day, tell us about the last thing you worked on?)

Working in the fintech industry is very exciting. Business Development for a robo-advisor takes on many unique responsibilities:

  • I stay on top of performance of our asset classes and update clients.
  • I work with the marketing and tech teams to determine ways to improve the online onboarding process for clients and the online user experience
  • I regularly speak with other fintech companies to discuss what they’re seeing in the market and opportunities to collaborate together to disrupt traditional services
  • I’m also increasingly speaking with big businesses and traditional financial advisers about how they could utilise our technology to provide a digital offering for their clients

What made you decide to study a masters degree? Why did you choose Kaplan Professional?

I completed a Bachelor of Commerce at UNSW. The bachelor degree gave me a good broad set of knowledge, but I wanted to learn more about finance and investing in particular. I quite enjoyed the balance of football and study, so I looked around at options to do a masters degree.

I was looking not only specialist technical knowledge, but practical and relevant outcomes I would be able to apply to my future career beyond football. Football also requires lot of interstate travel which can be deadtime both in the air and hotels. Kaplan Professional provided me with a flexible and supportive opportunity to complete a masters online that other universities couldn’t.

Can you tell us about your experience studying with Kaplan Professional? 

Understandably, I’d plan my study schedule around the football season (and try to ensure that I’d reduce my study commitments around finals time). For interstate games, I’d always try and complete readings on flights. As football was always my number one priority, I was aware that I couldn’t afford to late-night-cram or it would affect my recovery and performance in games. Kaplan Professional were particularly supportive and flexible in assisting me to schedule my study around my professional commitments.

Has your degree helped or improved your career prospects? If so, how?

Yes, it certainly has. At one level I always wanted to prove that I was more than a stereotypical footballer (not that the stereotypical footballer is a true reflection of my former team mates). Completing a masters degree has provided me with a level of knowledge and skills that employers value which helps my career prospects. I also think that it provides a level of respect from peers who have completed the same or similar course – they know what the Master of Applied Finance entails.

What is your best piece of advice to a postgraduate student who is balancing study with work and personal commitments?

It can be hard; I’m not going to tell you that it’s easy, so make sacrifices. There’s a great quote from a former athlete Brutus Hamilton that I like: “It is one of the strange ironies of this strange life that those who work the hardest, who subject themselves to the strictest discipline, who give up certain pleasurable things in order to achieve a goal, are the happiest.”

It may require sacrifices, but hard things can be very rewarding!