Manela from Sri Lanka

How a passion for mathematics led Manela on a successful education and career journey in Australia.

Main content

My background story

I am an island girl from Sri Lanka who enjoys good food and landscape photography.

Growing up, I always loved numbers and math was my favourite subject at school, especially the fact that an answer is either right or wrong in math, and that there are no 'in betweens.'

My passion for mathematics led me to an undergraduate degree in Accounting and Finance in Sri Lanka.

After completing my degree, I wanted to further my studies and experience something different. So I decided to study a master’s degree in Accounting and Finance in Australia.

I chose to study in Australia because it had always been a place that I wanted to visit. Also, attending the University of Melbourne offered me the opportunity to study a world class degree while living in one of the most diverse and livable cities in the world.

My path to becoming a financial planner

Finance plays an important role in many areas of life – whether it be it in a household, a business or government. Finance is constantly evolving and that is what holds my interest.

In 2017, while completing my master’s degree, I did a student placement program at Discover Financial Partners - a boutique financial planning firm.

During the placement, there were three of us who were assigned a real-life project to work on.

We had to focus on how we could integrate the different systems and software that Discover was using to make their financial planning process more streamlined and efficient.

Our group identified double-handling in processes, as well as substitute software that could take care of the duplication.

As a team, we learned about the end-to-end process of a professional service-providing company.

We also developed our ‘soft skills’ in how to deal with key stakeholders in a corporation, and how to engage and co-ordinate between them.

This experience led me to securing a permanent entry-level position at the firm.

Furthering my studies

When the global pandemic started, I decided to turn my focus to something I could control – my immediate future and enrolled in a Graduate Diploma in Financial Planning at Kaplan Business School in Melbourne.

I was able to fast-track my Graduate Diploma while working at Discover, so that I could move into a financial planning role more quickly.

Once I became a fully licensed Financial Adviser, I was able to move into that position at Discover Financial Partners.

Australia – my second home

I have now been in Australia for more than six years. I can confidentially say that I made the right decision in coming here for my graduate level studies. It has opened many opportunities for me, which at one point in my life, I would have thought were not achievable.

I am lucky to have had the opportunity to study in Australia, and now to call it my second home.