James Buzzard – Changing Pathways

In 2015, James Buzzard (TC 2003) joined consulting firm KPMG as a graduate. Many KPMG graduates come straight out of university, but James’s career has taken a slightly different path. We caught up with James to chat about his career journey, cookery, consulting, Foundation Studies and a longstanding Trinity record.

Science Student and Passionate Cook

After finishing high school, James (who was enrolled to study Arts and Science at Monash University) was sat down by his brother and father and told, in no uncertain terms, that he was to live at Trinity College and study Science. Not long after beginning his course, James realised that his passion was not in Science. He struggled through his studies, relying instead on his close Trinity friendships and co-curricular experiences to determine his direction in life. In his own words, he became involved in ‘dramatic arts, volunteerism and everything in between’.

Quite separate from his studies in Science, James returned to the College in 2007 and 2008 to offer cooking classes alongside fellow ‘foodie’ Michael Rooke (TC 2006). This unexpected interest in cooking developed from his time with his babysitter Emma Templeton (TC 1991). ‘Emma spent time developing her cooking whilst working with us. I used to enjoy learning to cook with her and I think that’s where the whole passion for cooking precipitated from.’

The cooking tutorials were well received, despite James and Michael’s difficulties teaching within time constraints and to fit a ‘traditional tutorial model’. ‘I was recently really chuffed walking into a café in Carlton - a guy came up to me and he said ‘you might not remember me, but you taught me how to cook’’. The man who James had taught all those years ago was Ciaran Ardren (TC 2008), now co-owner of The Vertue of the Coffee Drink, the very café he was sitting in.

James’ interests didn’t end with cookery. While at university he also started working as an IT consultant to earn some extra money, repairing computers for family and friends. He explained, ‘it was easier earning money fixing computers rather than working as a waiter/ cook on Lygon st…’


At just 24 years of age, James founded Babeltech, an IT consultancy company, aimed at ‘translating technology’ for the layperson. ‘Instead of trying to pursue a slightly alternative pathway in science, I would double down on this whole technology/IT consultancy thing and incorporate my own company.’ The company quickly became successful, so much so that James realised he needed to hire his own contractors to work across clerical support and as website developers.

He found the work could mostly be broken down into two categories, the first being the traditional break-fix model - a computer or system would break down and he would come to fix it. The second was more strategic work - trying to help small business and start-ups to utilise technology in an advantageous way. ‘How they can build a website, how they can build social media presence, how they can make sure they have the best technology to support their day-to-day.’

His advice to any young entrepreneurs is ‘stick to your core competency, realise what your value add is and outsource the rest.’

James concluded it was the strategy and innovation he felt most passionately about and decided he wanted to study entrepreneurship at Deakin University. This decision ultimately led to him selling Babeltech in order to pursue his passions further.

KPMG and Foundation Studies

James is now an engagement manager with KPMG, using strategy, technology and innovation to deal with complex client needs. He loves his job for the challenges it presents him, and for the range of people he gets to work with. ‘I can approach clients knowing that I’ve got a number of people behind me with various capabilities, across a wide range of areas.’

14 Feb 2017
Category: People