Bernard Tolan

'Some of the skills I picked up, especially around presenting to groups, have proven invaluable in my job...'

  • Bernard tolan

Bachelor of Commerce in Finance and Economics

Bachelor of Commerce with Honours in Finance

Analyst, New Zealand Treasury, Wellington

Having grown up in Blenheim, and studied in Christchurch, adjusting to life in the capital has been an exciting time for Bernard.

‘I am working at the centre of New Zealand finance and government – literally,’ he says. ‘The Reserve Bank is directly across the street in one direction and the Beehive is over the road in the other. I have a great work-life balance and am enjoying living in a new city.’

Bernard’s job at the Treasury’s Debt Management office has seen him use his degree in Finance and Economics, and builds on his fascination with global finance as it affects this country.

‘My work involves portfolio risk monitoring, financial modelling, and addressing issues facing the Crown’s balance sheet,’ he explains. ‘Often I spend part of my week on a financial markets-related topic before switching to public policy work later in the week. It’s been great so far – in my first six months I met bankers, portfolio managers, many Treasury officials, members of government departments and a couple of senior politicians.

Bernard says that his UC degree taught him the fundamental skills of economic and financial analysis which are crucial to his job.

‘Another thing I really appreciate is that the Finance lecturers placed a lot of emphasis on writing well. That focus helped me develop the writing skills which are very important to my current job. There are some superb teachers in the department who can express complex issues simply, and often in an entertaining way.’

But it was not just the lectures at that taught Bernard practical skills – his UC experience was much more than that.

‘I took part in the entré [UC’s entrepreneurship club] $75k Challenge and some of the skills I picked up, especially around presenting to groups, have proven invaluable in my job. I also enjoyed campus life. My hall of residence, College House, was great, and the many UCSA events and concerts were a lot of fun, as was all the sport I got to play, especially rugby.’

Bernard says that he chose to study his degree because he was good at economics at school. ‘I think studying economics has given me a useful way of thinking about “big” issues,’ he says. ‘And I’ve always been curious about global finance – especially as the global financial crisis began in my final year of secondary school.

‘I would say to anyone considering this degree to first read the Financial Times, the Economist or the National Business Review, and if what you read fascinates you, give Finance or Economics a shot.’

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