In today’s business landscape, the development of business acumen is crucial for graduates to excel and contribute effectively within an organisation. Recognising the significance of this skill set, NAB, in partnership with Lighthouse, implemented a customised Building Business Acumen program as part of its talent development initiative for the 2016-2023 graduate cohorts. This case study highlights the context, solution, and achieved results of the program, emphasising the value of understanding the bigger picture and the impact of graduates’ roles within NAB.
Business acumen consistently emerged as a focal point in conversations with nab’s executive leaders, as it is a key driver of staff and customer engagement. Understanding the strong correlation between business and financial acumen and organisational success, nab prioritised the development of Business, Strategic, and Financial Acumen Capability among its graduates. By building this capability early in their careers, nab aimed to provide an excellent foundation for graduates to navigate their professional journeys within the organisation. The Building Business Acumen program, tailored and facilitated by Lighthouse, was integrated into nab’s talent development program and delivered annually to approximately 100 graduates in Sydney and Melbourne. Additionally, the program was extended to BNZ graduates, aligning with NAB’s wider enterprise.
NAB’s Early Career’s goal was to upskill the graduates’ cohorts with the business, strategic and financial acumen to enable them to understand how the bank makes money, explore the nab business units through the financial lens and be able to analyse nab’s performance in comparison with market competitors.
The investment is of strategic significance to nab as the graduates represent the future of the business as the leaders of tomorrow and are dispersed across the organisation.
The Building Business Acumen program was designed to equip graduates with the core capability of seeing the bigger picture and understanding the value of their roles within the organisation. The program aimed to achieve the following outcomes for participants:
The program guided graduates through the exploration of the five fundamental Business Drivers that underpin any organisation: cash, profit, assets, growth, and people. Each driver was presented with its unique set of key metrics, and participants were shown the interdependence between these drivers. Graduates were taught to analyse their company’s performance through the lens of these drivers, aligning their objectives with those of the executive team and the wider enterprise.
The Building Business Acumen program has consistently been regarded as a highlight in the graduate program calendar, with overwhelmingly positive feedback from participants. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) measurement of participant experience yielded an impressive score of 93, indicating high satisfaction. Feedback collected from the program participants revealed the following sentiments:
The Building Business Acumen program has successfully enhanced graduates’ understanding of the broader organisational landscape and their individual roles within nab. By equipping graduates with a comprehensive business acumen skill set, the program ensures that future leaders are well-prepared to contribute to company growth and make informed decisions aligned with nab’s strategic objectives. The program’s impact is evident in graduates’ improved abilities to navigate dynamic business challenges, foster cross-functional collaboration, and align personal goals with the company’s vision. Overall, nab’s investment in the Building Business Acumen program has positioned the organisation for sustainable success with a talented workforce ready to lead and innovate.