Student Stories: Fan Yang

Fan Yang shares her Workplace Insights Programme experience and how an internship with Canon helped her develop skills required to succeed in the workplace.

"September 25 was a meaningful day: I graduated from the University of Auckland with my masters degree in accounting and a role to start the next week. I worked hard at my studies, but getting a job before graduation was a better scenario than I could have imagined! I’m from China, and I’d already worked as an accountant for an American company, but without an accounting masters, my future career possibilities would be limited.

"I came to New Zealand to study with the aim of finding a job as an accountant here – I first came to CDES workshops to learn more about the differences between the Chinese and New Zealand markets. When I discovered the Workplace Insights Programme, I knew it was the perfect place to get experience. The programme matches students with alumni working in New Zealand companies, and organises site visits and social events.

"I visited Canon, one of the most famous producers of cameras, photocopiers, and computer printers in the world – it was an amazing chance to see what a big company looks like and how a modern office operates. The staff change seats every day, giving them fresh ideas and improving efficiency. I gained a lot of insight from the programme – I even was offered an opportunity for an internship at an accounting firm during a social event! The internship gave me great workplace experience, and I had the chance to put the theories from my textbooks to practice in a real business. During my internship, I realised there was a gap between my learnings at uni and the skills I’d need to succeed at work. For example, I needed to learn business language to communicate well with customers and colleagues. Without the internship, I wouldn’t have fully understood how important it is to make a good transition between school to work.

Success comes to those who prepare well and put in effort. Start preparing for the future you want early, don’t wait to the last minute. 

"After the internship, I kept an eye on the weekly posts from CDES and was grateful for their platform. I found another internship in a commercial company during my last period of study, where I was able to improve my accounting software skills and build efficiency as I completed job assignments. When I noticed a post for an assistant accountant role advertised in the weekly newsletter, I was ready. I put my learnings from CDES to good use during the three rounds of interviews, especially around building my personal brand and the communication skills gained from the elevator pitch workshop. With these tools, and my experiences in the workplace, I felt confident to compete, and I know they helped me get the job offer in the end. When I got the call, I was so happy. It was perfect timing: I graduated on a Friday and started work the next Monday, no time wasted!

"I fought for great opportunities, so it was a wonderful feeling to see my hard work and preparation pay off with a job. Attending career-related workshops from the beginning of my time at the University and completing an internship while studying helped me a lot: without the local working experience I may not have gotten a full time job so quickly. Make full use of the platform of the University of Auckland, beyond your professional study – school life is not only about lectures and tutorials!"