The Sydney-schooled go-getter who found her groove in Melbourne

By Emily McAuliffe

Alum Grace Clarke shares her journey from Sydney high school, Ascham, to Trinity College and the University of Melbourne, and onward into a career with Goldman Sachs.

Grace Clarke has the left-brain, right-brain concept debunked. Her mathematical mind can quickly turn to song, and, in a talent trifecta, she’s nimble on the tennis court too.

‘I was someone who tried everything,’ says Grace, as she tells of her involvement in Tildesley tennis and Ascham’s choir, among other things, which paralleled an academic flair for maths.

Grace’s extracurricular pursuits led to an exchange to New York City in Year 10 and a choral course in the United Kingdom in Year 11; and by the time she hit Year 12, Grace was ready to dive into university.

Like many students, however, Grace wasn’t 100 per cent clear on her calling and was torn between a science and commerce degree. Given her school teacher Miss Hunter had instilled a passion for maths and problem solving, Grace settled on a Bachelor of Science, majoring in maths and statistics.

But university wasn’t going to be all about numbers and formulas, as Grace was privy to the go-getters dream that would take her tertiary experience to the next level: college.

‘My brother Jack had gone to Trinity College and he loved it. He loved the experience, loved the academic environment and loved the cultural environment,’ says Grace. ‘I was keen to move cities for a change, and after considering Melbourne and Brisbane, Trinity was the selling point for me, as I knew how incredible it was and I was very excited when I got in.’

Once inside the college gates, Grace’s passions continued to flourish as she joined Trinity’s female a cappella group, the Candystripes, got involved in the college musical, and threw herself into all kinds of sports.

But the best thing?

‘By far, the people!’, says Grace. ‘I think Trinity does a great job at picking people who are on-the-whole go-getters in various fields – whether it be academic, music, sport or charity. Everyone has their ‘thing’ and are all very kind-hearted, open and inclusive. It was a great society of people to be in for three years and it really broadened my perspective on things.’

Grace also found studying at the University of Melbourne a mind-broadening experience thanks to the Melbourne Model – a Melbourne University initiative that incorporates ‘breadth subjects’ to allow students to study subjects from different fields as part of a bachelor’s degree. ‘I did a science degree and took breadth subjects in arts and commerce. [Breadth subjects] really help give a broader view and knowledge-base and it doesn’t feel like you’re stuck in one particular field.’

Grace’s cumulative experiences at school, college and university have now seen her land a job in the asset management team at Goldman Sachs – one of the world’s largest investment firms. ‘I do a lot of relationship management tasks, whether that be reporting on client funds or working on something structural to do with funds,’ says Grace of her role, which she started in January.

It’s a job that harnesses lateral thinking to successfully work across asset classes, plus sharp organisational skills to manage a busy workload, and Grace credits her school and college experience for giving her the tools to succeed in the business world. ‘At Ascham, our Dalton Plan and the one-on-one study time we had with teachers initially instilled my sense of organisation and my confidence to give everything a go, then at Trinity College that continued because I could keep participating in all the different activities that I loved.’

Four years into her Melbourne life, Grace has found a patch of the world she’s happy to call home. ‘I love the cultural side of Melbourne,’ she says. ‘It’s a very active and exciting experience walking around Melbourne city at night as there are so many bars and different plays and theatre shows on … I love the buzz.’ Oh and Melbourne has the tennis. Don’t forget the tennis.

Interested in living at Trinity College in 2021? Applications are now open


12 Jun 2020