I’m Mat, or a lot of people call me Brockie as there are far too many Mat/Matt’s! I was born and raised in Dunedin, but spent a lot of time in Central Otago growing up. Recently my wife and I have been lucky enough to welcome a very energetic and cheeky boy named Dallas. I originally went to university to study computer science, but found that it wasn’t my passion, so I left to go travelling in South East Asia.
Can you tell us your trajectory at EP since you started, considering you were one of the first EPeeps to join? What has changed the most?
After arguably the most interesting interview process involving a speed typing test on a couch in a student kitchen while people were having lunch, I joined when the company was split between two buildings in the CBD of Dunedin, one above a pharmacy, the other above a dentist. I was stationed in an in-between room that was previously a coat room and it was very much a “start-up” culture. A lot of staff wore many hats simply to keep the wheels moving, with each of us working closely with one another forming very strong working relationships. My role has evolved a lot over the years from reactive financial processes to more proactive commercial opportunities such as working with national funding agencies, international tax systems and setting up companies in various locations.
Over the last 5 years, as we expanded and went from a start up style company to a globally recognised brand, there has been a shift around decision making, proactive thinking and scalability. When I first started we only had a handful of schools internationally and we made decisions on how best to market Education Perfect, now we take a more data driven approach, looking at different aspects of a new market and how best to set up a sustainable, effective and efficient team in new countries. That and I am no longer working in a coat room…
How did you find transitioning from your previous role into an EdTech role?
It was a massive culture shift! Highlighted by my first day, being called into the engineering space to go head to head with the CEO & founder at the new gamification feature “Dash” when it was still being tested (to be clear, I lost….badly…multiple times). A big shift for me was also the speed at which change and improvements can happen. A suggestion for improvement could be put forward and within a couple of weeks, rolled out across the company.
I joined Education Perfect in late 2016 as the only member of the Finance Team, with my role evolving over the next 5 years to be part of an amazing finance team. Outside of work and family, I am studying towards my bachelors degree (commerce), which I have been completing part time.
What does a typical day look like for you in your role?
I tend to spend the first part of my day looking at what has come in and deciding what needs to be actioned immediately vs what can be put on the “to-do list”. I then check what compliance items are coming up, it may be tax, payroll, state returns or government deadlines. Based on this, I can usually form a picture of what my day will look like.
Why do you love working at EP?
Flexibility and passion. Coming from my previous role in government, EP has a very flexible approach to decisions and culture. Suggestions and improvements are encouraged and can be raised at an open forum at all levels. This is backed by a team that is genuinely passionate about the product, company and their roles.
What book/movie/music/podcast has been a big influence on you?
Finance for me is a hobby and passion, so I really enjoy anything to do with investing and markets, so I listen to a lot of financial podcasts and read a lot of books on the topic. The most influential book for me was ‘The little book of common sense investing’, by John Bogle.
Where is somewhere you’d like to visit?
Once COVID allows for more travel, I plan to take a trip back to the US as well as a family trip to the UK (I really want to travel around Scotland!).