ORIGIN: Durban, South Africa
BACKGROUND: “I have grown up in the business world. We have had lots of family businesses over the years. I first started helping out in my dad’s communications business when I was 12, and that’s when I sold my first contract!
“We have lived on and off in New Zealand since 1993. Most recently I returned to New Zealand in 2007 to go to university. I spent two years at Auckland University studying biomedicine before realising it wasn’t for me. I then switched to AUT and studied business for 18 months, however didn’t complete my course – I find the pressure of exams difficult to deal with, despite how hard I’ve worked and how thoroughly I know my subject.
“After leaving AUT I ran my dad’s Botany Down’s butchery for a year. I did everything from managing staff, ordering stock, accounting, payroll, and of course also being a butcher! I also occasionally stepped in to manage one of my family’s other businesses, Nando’s in Queen Street and in Manukau.
“After a year I was ready to do some more study. My brother has his own oil company back in South Africa and is keen for me and my other brother to become involved in the business with him. He wanted me to gain some business qualifications. No matter how much knowledge or experience you may have, I think it is always good to have a piece of paper to back that up, and that’s what employers often look for.”
REASONS FOR CHOOSING NZMA: “NZMA was recommended to me because its style of teaching is quite different from a standard university. It is more assignment based than exam based, which suited me a lot better, as it gives you the opportunity to work hard and do well throughout the year, rather than everything resting on your end of year exam.”
HIGHLIGHTS OF NZMA: “I really enjoyed NZMA. It is such a great family environment and enabled me to learn a lot about other cultures because I had classmates from all over the world. The classes are small so you get to know your classmates really well and also your lecturers. The lecturers help you a lot, which again is quite different from a regular university, where you might be just one of hundreds in a lecture hall. It’s also a lot more relaxed.
“We went on some great trips and tours. I particularly loved the harbour cruise they took us on for orientation week, and some of the business tours that were related to my studies. We also had some great functions as a class and assignments and presentations were always lots of fun.”
EMPLOYMENT: “Throughout my NZMA studies I applied for lots of jobs, but I was waiting for the right one. My NZMA Careers employment consultant helped me with my CV and cover letters. She also showed me the best websites to go to for job hunting and what kind of jobs I’d be most suited to. She was extremely approachable, and even after I graduated from NZMA she was still looking out for jobs for me. NZMA Careers provides a really useful service for NZMA students, and they have some great clients under them.
“Not long before graduating I got a part-time job as a Samsung Brand Ambassador at Crossmark. Crossmark is number one in Australasia for marketing and merchandising. After a couple of months I asked if they had any more hours available and they suggested I apply for a role as a business analyst. Two days after my interview they offered me the position!
“I love my job. My duties include dashboard reporting, forecasting, budgeting, Google mapping, and there’s a lot of Excel work. What I learnt at NZMA has been really helpful, especially in regards to preparing graphs and reports. At Crossmark I’m working with a great bunch of people and there is a lot of growth in the company so there are lots of opportunities. We have five branches around the world, so there is the possibility of travelling with the job as well which really appeals to me!
“It has worked out really well for me – but I have worked hard for it. I must have applied for 200 jobs before the right job came up. I believe as a student, and a job-hunter, you need to put in 120% effort to get the best possible result in your assignments and to get a job in the field you want. You need to be consistent and you need to put the effort in.”
FUTURE GOALS: “I think for the next few years, maybe longer, I’ll stay at Crossmark as I am really enjoying it. I want to gain as much experience as I can. My ultimate goal later on in life though is to work in the oil business with my brother.”