Strategy and stakeholder manager

Mara Bebich reveals how the collegial culture in History encouraged her to pursue postgraduate studies, and led to a rewarding career at Auckland Council.

Mara Bebich

Key facts

Career: Strategy and stakeholder manager
Programme: Master of Arts
Subject: History

"Without a doubt the support and encouragement I received from staff in the Faculty of Arts is the reason I did postgraduate study at the University of Auckland.

"History has a great collegial culture of support, peer review and fun. What I appreciated most was the encouragement the disciplinary area gave its students, whether it was through its graduate conference day, seminars, five minutes in the staff room or supporting MA discussion groups.

"Being part of a group of postgraduate students in History was amazing. I have made lifelong friends and networks to call on who are flung all over the world making notable contributions to history, the developing world, foreign affairs, museums, heritage, local government, central government and so much more.

"I work for the Auckland Council as the Strategy and Stakeholder Manager for the Infrastructure and Environmental Services directorate. This is a 500-strong team responsible for managing Auckland's regional stormwater and waste services, maintaining and enhancing the quality of the region's natural, cultural, and built environments as well as overseeing complex and major infrastructure development projects, enabling the required growth to take place in Auckland.

"My team manages the directorate's relationships with the Council's political processes and elected members. It involves giving quality advice, project management, summarising and writing reports, making a number of well-informed decisions every day and working closely with our mana whenua partners. Local government depends on our elected representatives being well-informed about the issues that affect our communities – our team helps to make that happen!

"If you're contemplating a degree in Arts, my advice would be to get involved, go to seminars, put your work out there for discussion and review, teach if you can and enjoy yourself. Most of all value the study you do for its own inherent qualities."