Troy Seelin’s memories of his HSC year are hazy. “It was a simpler life back in 2004,” he says. “We lived in Maroubra, and I was mostly doing surf lifesaving and playing footy. I put in the work at school, but I got to the beach as much as possible to hang out with my friends. When you’re doing the HSC, you think that’s all there is, but later in life you realise those were some pretty good times.”
Inspiration from family and friends
He looked to family and friends for career inspiration. “Two of my uncles were accountants who worked for one of the big accounting firms and I did work experience and vacation work with them,” he says. “Having seen that world, I was interested in doing a business degree. I wanted to go to UTS, because they had a lot of flexibility – you could choose your class times,” he says.
Troy was hopeful after he achieved his HSC result. “It’s so long ago now, but it was around 90 or 91,” he says. “I know I was happy. My parents were too because nobody from either of their families had ever gone to uni. It was a new thing for us.”
A disappointment and a new goal
It was a shock to learn he’d narrowly missed out on a place in the UTS Bachelor of Business. The cut-off mark for the degree was particularly high that year. “I spoke to them,” he says, “and they suggested doing a UTS College Diploma. I’d get credits for that and could move straight into second year at UTS. I saw that as a new goal. It was also a way to feel out whether the degree would be right for me.”
It turned out to be the right move. He says, “UTS College had a good feel, and a lot of the teachers were from UTS. I had lots of questions for them, like ‘What’s the best way to get into a Big Four accountancy firm? What subjects, majors, and sub-majors would help me with my career goals?’ And having the Diploma of Business on my CV, as well as a degree, seemed like an advantage.”
He enjoyed the social side of UTS College too. “You meet all kinds of people. There were mature-age students as well as school leavers like me. You interact with people from all walks of life and from around the world. Moving on to UTS was the same. I have fond memories of my time there and all the people I met in classes and doing group projects. We spent a lot of time together outside uni as well,” he says. “We’d go to the library after a lecture or tutorial or have lunch or drinks and get to know each other. It’s about building your relationships and connections. I made friends from all over the world. I still catch up with people I met who were from Brazil, America, and Europe.”
Graduating with peace of mind
Troy’s proudest moment came when he had completed his degree. He also finished university with peace of mind, knowing he had a job to go to. “While I was at uni, I did a vacation program with Deloitte. I’d been offered a graduate position, so I pretty much went straight to work,” he says. Troy then undertook a Chartered Accountancy diploma. A globally recognised qualification, it enabled him to work overseas.
A global career
He says, “After three years I completed the diploma and moved to the UK. I did consulting work for all kinds of companies, including Universal Music and Burberry, and then I got a contract with LEGO in London. I really loved it and they offered me a permanent position. I was in London for about seven years, then I worked for a year with them in New York.” That’s when Troy’s partner got a job opportunity in Amsterdam. “We moved there, and I picked up a role working for Adidas.”
After a year and a half in Amsterdam, they decided it was time to go home, arriving back in Sydney in August 2018. Troy began working with Moet Hennessy, his current job, and has no plans to move.“There are a great opportunities in this company, globally, but we’ll probably stay put for a while. We have a four-month-old son, so uprooting ourselves is more complicated now,” he says. “Having him has really put things into perspective and having spent a long time overseas, I don’t feel like I’m missing out.”
Many ways to the same outcome
Looking back, he doesn’t think he’d have done anything differently. He says, “Hindsight is always 20/20. You make the best decisions with the information you have at the time. I think I’d tell my younger self there are many ways to get to the same outcome – there will always be opportunities to find another path.”
Troy advises school leavers not to feel ‘locked in’ to any direction. “Give yourself time to try different things,” he says, “and don’t feel pressured to continue on a path you’re not happy with.”