An international master of Excel

Bachelor of International Business

From studying International Business at Griffith University’s Nathan campus to travelling the world giving financial modelling advice, Danielle Stein Fairhurst has found her business niche.

The Principal Consultant at Plum Solutions has built an international consultancy based on her expertise in one of the world’s most popular software programs, Excel.

She’s the author of “Financial Modeling in Excel for Dummies“, and “Using Excel for Business and Financial Modelling: A Practical Guide", and has found demand for her personally designed courses on Excel’s finer points have taken her to all corners of the globe.

She was one of the first people to study the International Business Relations course at Griffith University’s Nathan campus, and says at the time, she had no idea she would go on to build the business she has now.

However it all began as her expertise in Excel built up over time whilst she travelled the world after finishing her degree. There was a point where she realised she was an expert and could teach those skills to others.

“It was just something that I really enjoyed,” she says.

“I went to Korea and then I went off traveling. I spent about a year going from Korea to Hong Kong and then I actually went overland from Hong Kong to Cairo. That bit of it took about six months.

“I went through Mongolia, Siberia and down through Eastern Europe. We then went down through Romania and through Syria actually, which you couldn't do nowadays.

“Then my sister really wanted to go to London so I went, and it was there I remembered my degree and that I could actually use it.

“I was able to get into investment banking and I started out as a sort of an assistant, and kind of worked my way up. I say I fell in love with Excel.

“It's the most ubiquitous software, anybody working in finance or admin, has come across Excel to a certain degree.”

Since returning home to Australia, Danielle is now a regularly engaged as a speaker, workshop course facilitator, financial modelling consultant and analyst, from Vanuatu, to Dubai, and closer to home at Sutherland Shire in Sydney.

Now with more than 45,000 followers on LinkedIn, Danielle realises that finding her forte was crucial to her business success.

Reflecting on her studies, her innovative course and unclear career path is being relived in the current, ever changing job market.

“The world of work and the jobs that people are training for now, have not been invented yet,” Danielle says.

“We know that there's new jobs being created all the time. To succeed, I think you've got to go into what you really enjoy and what your genuine interest is."

With a desire to keep relevant and constantly evolve as a business woman, Danielle engages in lifelong learning and has embraced social media to grow her business, a medium unheard of when she completed her studies.

“It's really important to keep relevant. That's where the studies come in to keep up to date. Plus reading blogs and articles and constantly learning all the time. I think that's so important," she said.

“I do enjoy social media, so that's a conscious choice, because I think it's a great way of sharing knowledge with people, and I'm not shy to do that.

“As a consultant, I can't go in and recommend a solution if I don't know all of the options that are out there. I need to know exactly what all the new techniques are, and the best ways of doing things.”

Danielle runs a meetup group, which is part of CPA, in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane for financial modellers to get together and learn more about financial modelling.

A remarkable tale

Danielle took some time out of her busy work and travel schedule to chat to Griffith about her niche international business and to provide advice to others considering their studies.