Ella Morgan

Politics student Ella Morgan tells us about her journey towards securing a graduate role.

My name is Ella Morgan and I’m from Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga.
I grew up in Tamahere, Waikato and completed a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Political Science and Public Policy, at the University of Waikato. After graduating I was fortunate enough to receive a University of Auckland Māori Postgraduate Scholarship, which has enabled me to study my Bachelor of Arts (Honours) and Master of Arts in Politics and International Relations here in Tāmaki Makaurau. I am currently writing my masters thesis on prisoner voting rights and the relationship between wāhine Māori and the state.

I’ve always had an interest in politics, so it was a natural choice for me to study this at university. In my undergraduate degree, our papers covered a broad range of topics, but in postgraduate study you have the opportunity to explore your specific interests. I have been very fortunate to have an amazing supervisor, Dr Lara Greaves, who has guided my research in topics to do with wāhine Māori and justice.

When I first started at university I was running a small business, and I thought I might want to become an MP! But now my career goals are very different. Throughout my study I wasn’t sure what I could do with a politics degree - I always assumed I might end up working in the public sector or continuing down the research path. This year I decided that I wanted to gain some experience in the workforce before I choose whether to do further study at PhD level.

Attending CDES workshops helped me realise that my skill set is applicable to a whole range of areas, and helped me land a graduate role that will develop my skills even further and challenge me to learn new ones.

Ella Morgan

I received an email about CDES’s Māori and Pacific Get Recruitment Ready series, which came at the perfect time as I was beginning to wonder what I might be able to do with my degree. From there, I checked out the CDES website and learnt more about their services.

I was supported through my applications by Pepe Afeaki, the CDES Careers and Employability Team Leader – Māori and Pacific. The sessions she organised for Māori and Pacific students were all incredibly helpful. It was awesome to have someone checking in on how you are going and fielding any questions you might have.

I would highly recommend getting in touch with Pepe if you are applying for graduate roles - even if you feel super confident that your applications are top notch, it always helps to have extra support.

Ella Morgan

I attended so many CDES Zoom workshops - CV and Cover Letter workshops, interviewing workshops, psychometric testing workshops, and even “What Can I Do With My Arts Degree?”. These workshops were all really beneficial in fine-tuning my applications and exposing me to all of the work opportunities that are out there. The most useful sessions I attended were Māori and Pacific Get Recruitment Ready Series. I attended five of these workshops, where employers talked through different aspects of applications with us and we received specific support from Pepe. It was extremely beneficial to kōrero with employers in a smaller group setting, and I came away from these workshops feeling much more confident.

I was very fortunate to make it through to the interview/assessment day stage for multiple employers and receive multiple offers of employment thanks to the help and support I received from CDES. I have accepted a graduate role at Deloitte as an Analyst in Consulting - Strategy and Business Design. I am currently working on my masters thesis, and will be starting my new role in 2022.

I didn’t know much about the recruitment processes before this year, and I found it quite nerve-wracking going through all of the assessments in the lead up to interviews. By the time you get to interviews it feels like you’re almost at the top of a mountain, there’s just one short climb left! It’s quite a lot of pressure. Having the support of Pepe from CDES, and interviewing tips from the sessions I attended helped me feel prepared and settled my nerves a bit before my interview. My cousin (who’s also my flatmate) was also going through recruitment season at the same time, so having someone else to chat with who knows how you feel made me feel a lot better.

Just because you have a degree in one area doesn’t mean you are limited to that area. In the recruitment process, you need to sell your skills and experience to employers. There aren’t many people who studied politics in the jobs I applied for, but I demonstrated to employers how useful my skills and way of thinking will be for their organisations. I highly recommend getting in contact with Pepe and the Māori and Pacific CDES team for advice with your applications, interviews and assessments.

If you're interested in career opportunities and activities we have available to support our Māori and Pacific students, please get in touch with our Careers and Employability Team Leader – Māori and Pacific, Pepe Afeaki.