Philip Hadfield

Securing a job in a country vastly different from your own can be a daunting task.

A multitude of aspects makes this difficult, but the University of Auckland’s Workplace Insights Programme (WPI), breaks down these barriers to open up a world of opportunity.

For alumnus Philip Hadfield, general manager of POP THAT, lending a hand to an international student keen to learn about New Zealand’s work culture was an easy decision.

Philip joined the eight-week programme that connects international students with alumni, providing students an experience of New Zealand’s work force. During the programme, marketing student Mico Huang from China shadowed Philip, getting an insider's look into POP THAT, including being a camera assistant for a photoshoot and a production assistant in a music video shoot, and attending an interview with a potential contractor.

“We decided to involve him in as many diverse activities as possible, to broaden his understanding of what it means to work in marketing. Mico was excited and willing to be as involved as possible, which was great,” Philip says.

“Taking part in WPI was, in a way, like being a tour guide for New Zealand working culture. Instead of a field trip, we looked at the ins and outs of what makes our economy tick. It was fun.”

He encourages other alumni to get involved, to provide a valuable experience for international students.

“Do it. It comes and goes very quickly, and your commitment is limited merely to the time that you’re willing and able to put in. However, the impact and the benefit for the student is vast.

“From our time together, and some advice I was able to give on his application process, Mico secured a work placement and is now ready to experience another side of New Zealand workplace culture that he otherwise may not have had the opportunity to do.”

WPI is a biannual programme that was established in 2016. It has connected 229 students with 111 generous alumni to date. We are extremely grateful to alumni like Philip, who make this programme possible.