Chris Cefala

“Be prepared to take managed bets, where the downside risk is limited but there’s no limit to the upside.”

Photo of Chris Cefala

Graduating with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne in 2014, Chris used the Melbourne Model to his advantage, taking on diverse majors of Psychology and Finance. Finding his passion in corporate finance, Chris went on to complete a Chartered Accountants certification and is now a Commercial Analyst at RACV, where his role is to originate and complete due diligence on potential merger and acquisition and venture targets.

On top of this, Chris recently co-founded A Local Beer, an independent craft beer company that champions social impact, as a venture with a couple of colleagues and friends. Based locally in Melbourne, the company is all about maximizing community involvement and social impact throughout every stage, from production to sale.

“I think that it is important to be sustainable and give back to the community you operate in,” Chris says. “I am a huge fan of the whole ‘B Corp’ movement and think that consumers really put a value on corporations considering the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment.”

Attendees of this year’s Science Dean’s Winter Reception might recall the eye-catching cans of beer that the company supplied for the event. Having seen the event advertised, Chris and his team recognized an opportunity for collaboration that was in keeping with the brand’s socially minded ethos and reached out to the Faculty to get involved.

A local beer photo

For Chris, attending the Reception presented an opportunity to form some surprising business connections with other Faculty of Science alumni. “It is important to maintain a network as you simply never know the interesting people you’ll meet or the opportunities that may present themselves,” he says. “It was amazing on the night that we were approached by someone who owned a hop farm, and business cards were exchanged.”

Chris has found that his Bachelor of Science sets him in good stead to tackle the diverse challenges that starting his own company has posed.

“It is amazing how much enabling work is required to start a business, especially one that manages stock, production and the end customer experience,” he says.

“The all-round knowledge that I learnt at university has helped me understand a lot of things that aren’t even related to my day to day career. When the brewer reports on yields, pressure, fermentation and ‘parts per million’ it brings me memories of my first-year chemistry subject. The business administration side is taken care of mostly by me as it is directly related to my career and my specialisation.”

For others inspired to run with their own passion project, Chris has some advice: “I think the easy part is coming up with an idea and determining where you want to go, but the hardest part is executing on that idea or strategy and making it a reality. For anyone wanting to make an idea a reality I’d recommend that you surround yourself with great people and be prepared to take managed bets where the downside risk is limited but there’s no limit to the upside.”