Marliese Liyanage

'UC has a great reputation and I loved everything I read and learned about New Zealand...'

  • Marliese Liyanage

Bachelor of Commerce in Management and Marketing

Retail and Business Banking Graduate, ASB Future Me Graduate Programme

After being nominated for the UC School of Business and Economics Scholarship, Marliese made the decision to study in New Zealand.

‘UC has a great reputation and I loved everything I read and learned about New Zealand in general. I was elated when I was awarded a full academic scholarship, and leapt at the opportunity to attend Canterbury. It is the best decision I ever made.’

Marliese’s upbringing in Sri Lanka allowed her a world of opportunities. She held a number of leadership roles at high school in recognition of her academic and school community involvement. Marliese counts being appointed Head Prefect of her school and Secretary General of Sri Lanka Model United Nations among her biggest achievements so far. She qualified in piano performance through the Trinity College of Music London, leading to performances and awards at the Sri Lanka Festival of Music.

With an exciting childhood growing up in hotels, her parents made sure to make her aware of those less fortunate leading to a ‘deeply ingrained belief in giving back.’ She continued her passion in New Zealand after coming to study at UC, becoming the Marketing and Social Enterprise Competition Manager for the P3 Foundation New Zealand, a non-governmental youth organisation that aims to eradicate poverty in the Asia-Pacific region.

Before going to university, Marliese took an opportunity-filled gap year taking on a number of projects. Describing herself as a ‘go-getter’, Marliese had a number of experiences doing fashion modelling, TV commercials and working as a Radio Presenter for Kiss FM Sri Lanka. She also was a pageant finalist at Miss Sri Lanka 2011.

At UC, Marliese was the Strategic Marketing Manager for entré 2014, a role that has greatly enhanced her business skills. As part of a select team, she won the National Title for UC at the 2013 SDS Premier League Business Case Competition and she led the teams presenting at the 2014 competitions. ‘Public speaking is one of my strong suits and I enjoy competing intellectually,’ Marliese says. ‘Competing with New Zealand’s premier universities at SDS and presenting to judges who are New Zealand’s top business people was an invaluable experience and great preparation for the real business world.’

Marliese was also handpicked to represent UC in collaboration with the Engineering Faculty (UC Motorsport) at the 2014 Australasia Formula SAE Competition. She had to devise a business plan for the UC race car and present to a panel of international judges in Melbourne. Marliese placed second overall in the Business Presentation category, beating 24 top Universities from Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.

To top it all off, she also received an invitation to join the International Golden Key Honour Society for exceptional grades at university. Marliese won the 2014 Simon Courtney Prize in Marketing; awarded annually by the University of Canterbury for the best result by a BCom student specialising in 300-level Marketing.

‘Despite having participated in a multitude of extra-curricular activities, I organised my time well and always found time to socialise and meet up with my friends and go out dancing,’ she says.

‘There was always so much going on at UC that I was spoilt for choice. There are so many events at the start of the year which give you the opportunity to meet people and make friends.

‘Studying a double major Commerce degree was challenging but very rewarding. I loved the fact that it wasn’t just a sit-in-class-and-listen type of learning environment. Having the opportunity to discuss problems with like-minded people, working together on group projects and assignments – all this was part of a great learning experience at UC. The diversity and the flexibility afforded me by my double majors will enable me to be successful in my career.’

Marliese is now an ASB Future Me Graduate and works at the ASB North Wharf Head office in Auckland in the Retail and Business Banking stream. She was one of the top 10 out of over 600 applicants from across the country, from New Zealand’s top universities, to secure a place in the 2016 Future Me Graduate Programme.

Marliese is very excited to begin this new chapter in her life and says, ‘getting into the ASB Graduate Programme is an ambition fulfilled – my studies and the wealth of business world experiences I gained at UC paved the way for me to get to where I am today.’

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