Graduate and intern profiles

Meet current students and alumni who have landed their dream internship and graduate role, after studying a variety of degrees at the University of Auckland.

Meet Jordan Stevenson

Degree: BCom - Majoring in Accounting & Finance at UoA

Company: KPMG

Role: Analyst in the Corporate Finance team

Can you tell us more about your current role and is it what you thought you’d be doing after graduation?

The majority of my role involves financial modelling and various types of valuations. I’ve only been here for a couple of weeks but the team has been extremely welcoming, making it really easy to slot in.

It took me the full three years of study to figure out what I wanted to do and even then I wasn’t too sure. After applying for internships in various fields, it was clear that KPMG had the best fit for me.

Did you undertake an internship during your study? If so, can you tell us more about that?

I was lucky enough to intern in the Financial Services Audit team at KPMG. It was an awesome experience and helped me gain a much better understanding of what life is like in the corporate world. I was able to build strong relationships with different people at the firm, opening up opportunities such as my recent move into the Corporate Finance team.

What's your advice for current students looking for an internship or graduate role?

Give yourself the best chance you can by applying for as many jobs that are applicable to you, but make sure you prepare properly. Gain an understanding of exactly what it is the company you’re applying for does, whilst also understanding their values and overall mission.

It took me a while to realise how important it is to balance your university and co-curricular commitments. For example, there are plenty of clubs at UoA that can help you diversify your personal skillset and also impress potential employers.

What’s your top tip for students who are thinking of coming along to the internship and grad expo?

Make sure to do some research on any employers that you’re planning on talking to and come up with a few questions to ask. It’s key to present yourself as someone who knows their stuff and is genuinely interested in the company.

Meet Tim de Wit

Company: McKenzie and Co

Degree: Civil Engineering

Role: Land Development Design Engineer

Can you tell us how you landed your Graduate role and what the job entails?

It's a funny story. My uncle and Clayton McKenzie (owner of Mackenzie and co) have been friends for ages, and he attended my cousins 21st birthday party. It was there that I got chatting to Clayton's wife Rachael (our fabulous receptionist) about trying to find an internship with a pandemic looming, (not knowing they owned McKenzie and Co) and they encouraged me to send in a CV! The rest is history.

I didn't actually expect to be doing land development engineering as I 'thought' I wanted to work in a structural field. How wrong I was!

Land Development is a very rewarding field with lots of variety, one day you're designing roads, paths and cycleways, the next a sustainable wetland for treatment of stormwater, or retaining walls and earthworks.

Did you undertake an internship during your study? If so, can you tell us more about that?

I had a bad motorbike accident during my study, which took two years and 13 surgeries to recover from, meaning I couldn't do any internships over the summers after my 2nd and 3rd year. As a result, I still had the entire 800 hours to complete when I started my internship at McKenzie and Co. I began knowing barely anything about land development, but I soaked in everything I could and made myself useful. Now I have a full-time role and am 3D modelling a 130 lot subdivision without Googling anything!

What are the highlights of your role so far?

It's always a great feeling when your coworkers start to ask you how something works instead of the other way round. In only six months, I have learnt so much and taken on so many different tasks - I feel like I am making a difference. We have such a problem with housing supply, water quality and an infrastructure shortage, and these are all challenges that we as engineers can help solve. I'm excited to learn and grow my career more.

McKenzie and Co have a motto, "Developing Great Places and People", and I feel like we are achieving that.

What's your advice for current students looking for an internship or graduate role?

  1. Do it early!!! Don't leave all your work experience to the last minute; otherwise, you'll end up like me, graduating six months later than you could have!
  2. Network, network, network
  3. In my opinion, it makes a huge difference meeting someone in person and having a chat. You can show them that you are switched on and motivated instead of emailing a generic, faceless CV to 967 different companies. 

(Also, if you're an engineer, come to McKenzie and Co, it's great.)

Ask your family, your friends, friends of your family, your friend's family, your coworkers at your part-time job, your neighbour, the person you met in town last weekend, the waiter at your favourite restaurant. You never know who might know someone.

What do you wish you would have known whilst you were studying that you know now?

I wish I hadn't specialised in only one area; some courses would have been helpful for a more general understanding across the board. Keep your options open, and don't rule anything out because you might find you really enjoy it!

Meet Raveen Maldeni

Company: Aderant

Degree: Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Commerce Conjoint

Role: Associate Software Engineer

Can you tell us more about your current role and is it what you thought you’d be doing after graduation?

After graduating from university, I applied for many different listings using websites such as Seek and Indeed. After a few months of job-seeking I was offered a job at Aderant. I started off as a graduate, and upon completing their training program, I became an associate software engineer.

What are the highlights of your role so far?

Being part of a tight knit team, solving technical and business problems together has been incredibly enjoyable. I’ve also been given the opportunity to learn a variety of software development skills through mentoring from senior developers, which has been very insightful.

What do you wish you had known when you were a student?

Give yourself as many opportunities to network and connect with people. You will be amazed by how far you can go, just by making connections with others.

What are your key pieces of advice for students who are looking for an internship or graduate role?

  1. Block out time to build a portfolio of work, which demonstrates what you are capable of and what you can offer.
  2. Research the companies you are interested in. Spend time learning high level concepts relevant to the line of work those companies do, and believe me, they will be impressed with your knowledge.

Meet Daniel Tukiri (Waikato-Tainui, Kai Tahu)

Company: Ministry of Foreign Afffairs and Trade (MFAT)

Degree: Bachelor of Arts majoring in Japanese and Spanish. I also studied Te reo Māori, and still on the waka now at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

Role: Graduate Foreign Policy Officer

Can you tell us how more about your role and your core responsibilities?

I'm currently in the Pacific Polynesia and French Pacific team, specifically working on Aotearoa, New Zealand's relationship with Tuvalu. It's an exciting role that involves working with Tuvalu on climate change mitigation/adaptation projects, engaging on regional foreign policy issues and working together as we tackle the many challenges of COVID-19, among lots of other things. It's a dynamic environment, and I'm learning something new every day!

How did you end up in your current role and is it what you thought you would be doing when you were studying?

To be honest, I didn't really know what I wanted to do when I was studying - I just knew I loved learning languages! Towards the end of my studies, MFAT caught my attention - they seemed to tick a lot of my boxes: speaking other languages, the opportunity to travel, and the chance to make a positive impact for Aotearoa, New Zealand.

Did you undertake an internship during your study? If so, can you tell us more about that?

I took part in the Aorere Internship at MFAT in 2019, a three-month internship for Māori students. I couldn't recommend it enough - it was a unique opportunity to get a glimpse into the world of foreign policy and diplomacy, how it links with Te Ao Māori, and I loved that I was able to bring my Māoritanga to my Mahi.

It also allowed me to meet lots of fantastic people and start building a Mahi whānau - it made entering the "real world" a little less scary. The biggest highlight, though, was making lifelong friends with my fellow interns.

What's your advice for current students looking for an internship or graduate role?

When looking for internships, keep an open mind and apply for a broad a range of opportunities, even if you're not sure if it's the right fit for you.  

The best thing about internships is getting a taste of a particular workplace – it's your chance to test drive your potential future career, figure out what you enjoy and what you want from a permanent role.

Also, when you're searching for roles, think about your values and the kind of environment you'd like to work in - that is equally as important in a job as the technical skills you'll bring to the role.

What do you wish you would have known whilst you were studying that you know now?

I wish I knew that life after uni doesn’t have to fit exactly with what you studied. Sometimes the best opportunities sit totally outside of what you thought you would be doing! I had never imagined I’d be in this line of work, but I’m engaging lots of my passions and interests and loving it.

Meet interns and Grads from Navico

Navico is a marine electronics company that manufactures and distributes boat navigation systems of various kinds to boat builders, retailers as well as directly to their customers. 

Alicia Wilson

Degree: Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering Honours (Honours), conjoint with a Bachelor of Science majoring in Geography and Environmental Science.

Role: Intern

Can you tell us more about your internship and the company you worked for?

Over 2020/2021 summer, I worked for Navico in their Auckland branch, which focuses on Research & Development. My role involved testing and modelling thermal aspects of their products.

Navico employed several interns over the summer; they challenged us all to develop an idea that could benefit the company and help us better understand how the company works.

How did you find your internship, and did you always think you would undertake one?

I found the job advertised through the MyCDES+ job board on the University of Auckland website. Due to the nature of my degree, I was expecting to undertake internships throughout my study and was particularly interested in the marine sector.

What's the plan now you have completed your internship?

Now that my internship is complete, I am back studying at University. I still have another year left to complete my degree, but I have been offered a casual role at Navico to undertake during semester time.

What were your key highlights?

The company culture and social aspects were a highlight for me. 

Playing touch every Tuesday and attending the company barbecues on Fridays was a great way to get to know people who were not in my department and better understand the different roles throughout the company.

Did your internship help you in your studies when you returned to University? And did you find your studies helped you with your internship?

During my internship, I focused on one type of software, ANSYS. I had already used a similar software at University, making it a lot easier to approach the task given to me. Using ANSYS regularly also helped me better understand it, which was beneficial when I returned to my studies.

What is your key piece of advice for current students who are looking for an internship?

I think it’s super important to look for internships in a field you are interested in. This will make a huge difference on whether the experience is enjoyable and valuable for deciding if your future lies within your chosen industry (or not).

What are your top tips for students to prepare for the upcoming Internship and Graduate Career Expo?

Always come prepared to ask questions, career expos are a great way to find out more about potential companies you are interested in and find some that you were unaware of.

Sahana Srinivasan

Degree: Final year of Computer Systems Engineering

Role: Software Development Intern

Can you tell us more about your internship and life at Navico? 

My responsibilities as an intern were to attune my eyes and ears to any information coming my way!

Seriously, there’s so much to learn from talking to people (even outside your team) about what they do, or watching them do their thing. Asking questions is key!

The people are warm, welcoming, and enjoy a chat! It’s a small bunch in every team, but a community nevertheless. They have abundant experiences in their fields, and are more than happy to help those who are keen to learn more.

How did you find your internship and did you always think you would undertake one?

The Faculty of Engineering send regular emails which include current intern opportunities. It was through one of them that I heard about Navico and I instantly applied. I thought there was nothing to lose, and it turned out to be a fulfilling experience!

I consider myself very lucky to have banked an internship in 2020, when so many of my peers struggled to find a job, never mind an internship and until the first week of November, I had pretty much lost all hope of landing one. However, two days after my application was received, I was invited to an interview with two Software Development leads and fast forward one week later, I had a job offer in hand.

What's the plan now you have completed your internship?

I am now in my last year of study and excited about getting out into the world of work!

I’ve wanted to be a Software Developer since middle school, and now that I’ve experienced what it’s like, I can’t see myself doing anything else. Towards the end of my internship, I was on the lookout for other opportunities but I was fortunate enough to be offered a place at Navico.

What were your key highlights from your summer working at Navico?

The first one has to be that my intern team finished our 10-week project in less than 6 weeks, a reflection of how much we’d grown from barely knowing Python, to learning the more complex libraries associated with it. As groups of 10, we proposed innovation opportunities that Navico could explore to align itself further with its values, which was an incredible experience in project management. The second was a Hackathon that took place before Christmas, which were two of the most enjoyable work days ever!

Did your internship help you in your studies when you returned to University? 

Working at Navico taught me a lot about big picture problems. More than solving the problem itself is the process, which was something university projects don’t necessarily give you experience with. However, university gave me the knowledge I needed to apply this process, so one couldn’t exist without another. They went hand in hand.

What is your key piece of advice for current students who are looking for an internship?
My advice would be to pick companies you genuinely resonate with and show employers you are adaptable to learning something you’re not familiar with. It’s completely okay to not know everything.

What do you wish you would have known before your internship, that you know now?

I think what intimidates me most about jobs is when applications state certain experiences as “requirements” for the job. I would’ve wanted someone to tell me it’s okay to not know everything; I could still apply and have a fair chance if I showed how I could make up for the lack of expertise in that field.

What are your top tips for students to prepare for the upcoming Internship and Graduate Career Expo?

Be as authentic as you can at Meet and Greets, or Career Expos, because it is just as important that a candidate fits in with a company and its values as it is for an employer to deem a candidate as a good fit.

Also, if a company or what they do seems interesting, don’t be afraid to have a chat and learn more about them. There’s nothing to lose.

Tom Guernier

Degree: Bachelor of Engineering (Hons) in Computer Systems Engineering

Role: Software Developer Intern

Can you tell us more about your internship and the company you worked for?

I was based at Navico’s major office in Auckland, where they develop the majority of their software and hardware for their devices. I developed a simulator for radar devices with two other interns using Python. I found the company culture to be relaxed and inviting, while still feeling like a global company at the cutting edge of its field.

How did you find your internship and did you always think you would undertake one?

I saw the Internship advertise through an email sent to students in my specialisation, though I was already aware of the company after meeting them at previous Career Expo’s.

I knew that internships were an important step in finding a graduate role, so I put a lot of work into applying for them.

What's the plan now you have completed your internship?

I am now in the final year of my degree. I was lucky enough to get a graduate role at Navico, so my immediate career path is sorted! I think that my degree will set me up well for my new graduate position, and happy to continue studying.

Did your internship help you in your studies when you returned to University? 

It helped broaden my technical knowledge, but the most helpful thing I learned was coordinating work within a team. Working closely on the same codebase, meant it was important to ensure tasks were divided well and we knew what everyone was doing. This experience has been really useful for the group projects I have done since returning to University.

What is your key piece of advice for current students who are looking for an internship?

It's always a good idea to job search across multiple platforms to find internship opportunities, rather than just looking on one website or focusing on a few specific companies. There are lots of companies in New Zealand, in various fields, looking for people with software skills, but they will advertise in several different places and ways. Make sure you check your University email often as well; you will get heaps of opportunities sent your way!

What do you wish you would have known before your internship, that you know now?

Don't be afraid to talk to fellow employees and ask questions, they are always happy to share their knowledge and even help you out directly.

What are your top tips for students to prepare for the upcoming Internship and Graduate Career Expo?

Research the companies attending! There may be some surprisingly big and interesting companies you may not have heard of before.

Josiah Miller

Degree: BE(Hons) in Computer Systems Engineering

Role: Graduate Junior Software Developer

Can you tell us more about your role?

After working as an intern for Navico last summer, I was then offered a graduate role. I am now responsible for coming up with concise fixes to new bugs that have been identified right before software releases, as well as maintaining additional software tooling as necessary

What is your key piece of advice for current students who are looking for an internship or graduate role?

Work on hobby projects (related to your field) in your spare time. Having tangible examples of the work you can produce across a variety of skills shows initiative to employers.

Find reputable summer internships that allow you to grow and show prospective employers that you have more than just theoretical knowledge. Working with different teams and people is a skill of its own that you develop in the workplace.

What are your top tips for students to prepare for the upcoming Internship and Graduate Career Expo?

Make the time to attend the careers fair and talk to as many people as possible. Take the time to have proper conversations.

Book a time to get your CV checked with the CDES team. They offer valuable feedback about the way you can personalize your CV to get the job you are seeking and also consider bringing a few copies of these with you to the careers fair.

Meet Julian Fowler

Degree: Bachelor of Health Sciences and a Bachelor of Commerce

Company: Deloitte 

Role: Consulting Analyst for the Deloitte Human Capital Team

How did you end up landing your current role?
During the 2019/2020 summer I interned at Deloitte within the Human Capital Team. After a great experience working across a range of different projects I was offered a graduate role and decided to accept.

Working as a consultant at Deloitte was not what I expected to do following university. I originally thought I would be working within DHBs or hospitals.

My internship was such an awesome experience, I decided to pursue consulting.

What is your advice for students who are looking for a graduate role?
Be open to different opportunities, whether that be through internships, voluntary work, or even career expos - they may just lead to an awesome job you never expected.

Meet Ashleigh Whitmore

Degree: Bachelor of Commerce Majoring in Accounting and Commercial Law

Company: Baker Tilly Staples Rodway (BTSR)

Role: Graduate in the Business Advisory team in their Auckland Office (we have seven offices throughout NZ).

How did you end up in your current role and is it what you thought you would be doing when you were studying?
I started my career at BTSR as an Intern through the Achiever Programme, run by Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand, and from there I was offered a Graduate role.

I always knew I wanted a role in business and believed having a strong foundation in accounting would help me understand business in New Zealand.

For me, when it came down to what organisation to choose, it was a matter of what employer aligned with my values, and for me that was BTSR.

What is your key piece of advice to students who are about to enter the world of work?
My key advice for current students looking for a Graduate role or Internship is to truly understand what values matter to you in a workplace. That way, you’ll know when talking to representatives at Career Expos whether their organisation’s values are the same.
 

Remember organisations are trying to sell themselves to you, just as much as you are selling yourself to them. 

Another great way to get involved is at networking events – business is fundamentally all about people, plus you never know when a connection will help you secure a role. If you are in the early stages of University, Internships are a good way of testing the waters as you get a true feel for the office environment.

Talking of Internships, Angela Zhong has just completed one with BTSR…
 

Meet Angela Zhong

Degree: Currently studying a conjoint degree of a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bbachelor of Arts. I major in Accounting, Commercial Law, and Japanese.

Company: Intern in the Business Advisory Services line at Baker Tilly Staples Rodway.

What are you doing now?

I'm now back at University, after interning at Baker Tilly Staples Rodway.

During my internship, I was able to learn real-life accounting skills that incorporated the knowledge I had learnt from lectures and classes, with real work for clients. As well as learning all the technical knowledge, I was able to work on my professional communication skills through talking to other graduates, senior managers and directors regularly.

How did you end up landing your internship?
When I started University, I thought I would be going into Commerce with majors of International business and Management. However, after doing a few accounting papers in my first year, I decided to look a little deeper into the accounting industry and the roles available.

After attending networking events like the Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand Youth Unlimited and the CDES Business and Law Expo, I came across Baker Tilly Staples Rodway. From there, I got to know about the firm a little more - the culture, the different service lines and the opportunities available. I then went through the application process and was successful in obtaining the summer internship in the Business Advisory Services Line.

What advice would you give to current students looking for an internship?
Look at all the different job opportunities available and find the best fit for you. Where you work should be a good fit for you and has both values and a culture that suits your own.

 

I know how difficult job hunting may seem during the pandemic, with zoom interviews and virtual office tours becoming the norm. Give yourself a healthy study/work/life balance and remember it’s the quality of your applications that counts, not the quantity!

Finally don’t forget to highlight your uniqueness - any work experience you’ve had, special skills, and anything that makes you different that the workplace would value.  

Meet Taraani Mohammed

Degree: Bachelor of Property and Bachelor of Commerce (Accounting and Finance)

Company: EY

Role: My current role is Infrastructure Advisory (within Strategy and Transactions). We work on mainly economic and finance infrastructure related issues, and strategies for government and private clients.

How did you end up in your current role?
I originally completed a summer internship, which then led to me being offered a graduate role. The summer internship was a great taster of the wide variety of projects the team works on and an insight into the culture at EY.

Is it what you thought you would be doing when you were studying?
Not at all! I found it difficult to imagine what I would be doing while studying, because of the variety of career paths available.
 

Studying a conjoint kept the door wide open and I’m stoked to have found a role that incorporates elements of both my degrees and majors.

What is your key piece of advice for current students?
Find different internships/part time work experiences while studying (and manageable with uni workloads).
 

Completing internships allowed me to gain an insight into different industries and meet people from different organisations, where I learnt about their careers and career journeys.

This has been super helpful in deciding which industries and sectors would fit best with my interests and skills.

Meet Hannah Lobb

Degree: I did a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies at Kenyon College in the United States and then I did a Masters of Public Policy at the University of Auckland.

Company: Treasury

Role: I am a policy analyst in the Health Team

How did you end up in your current role? Is it what you thought you would be doing when you were studying?

I started as a graduate at the Treasury after finishing my Masters. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do while I was in undergrad, but I had an interest in policy and after finishing my masters I was really keen to try working at a government agency.

What is your key piece of advice for current students?

I found the most helpful thing was talking to people who
already worked in policy before I started applying for jobs. Chatting to people
that are already working in the field can give you a good idea of what
different jobs might look like and what types of skills are required.

Meet Jinny Leong

Degree: Bachelor of Commerce (majored in economics and finance) and Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in Economics at the University of Auckland

Job: Economic Analyst at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Is there anything you wish you had known while studying or that you would go back and change?
I really wish I had undertaken an internship during my study to better prepare for the workplace.

I also wish I’d known to take more maths papers (calculus, linear algebra, etc.) to prepare for a postgraduate degree in economics and my economic analyst role. However, since working at the Reserve bank, I have taken a time series econometrics paper at Victoria University of Wellington at the honours/master’s level which has been really useful in my role.

What kind of work experience did you gain while studying?
During my undergrad years, I worked part-time as a translator and then in my 3rd year and 4th year, I was a tutor for Econ 201, 221, 241 and 341. I was also a recipient of the Summer Research Scholarship in 2016/2017 and gained some research experience over the summer.
 

Meet Khajen Raj

Degree: Bachelor of Commerce (Majoring in Accounting and Finance) at The University of Auckland

Job: Intermediate Auditor at Audit New Zealand Auckland office

How did you end up in your current role and is it what you thought you would be doing when you were studying?

It was only during my final year that I began to consider a career in auditing. After thoroughly enjoying the paper, I realised the logic and scope auditing has across the varying fields of accounting, which then led me to apply for the Graduate programme with Audit NZ.

Everyday I learn something new, especially as Audit NZ has a strong and supportive teaching culture. 

What is your advice to current students who are looking for a grad role? 

  • Distinguish yourself from other candidates through gaining experience outside of study.
  • Get involved in networking events and activities that future employers will be interested in - like the business case study competitions.
  • Meet potential employers at expos and ask them what attributes they look for in candidates.
  • Consider how your experiences may exhibit these attributes and what you need to do develop them.