'Doing postgraduate study was definitely worthwhile...'
Bachelor of Commerce in Economics and Finance
Studying towards a Master of Commerce in Finance
An internship at investment services firm Forsyth Barr has led to a permanent job offer in investment banking for Sarah after she finishes her master's degree.
'It's my dream graduate position,' she says. 'I will mainly be conducting a wide range of analysis on stock performance and valuation, which will involve using financial models, and also undertaking a large amount of research for pitching and presentation materials.'
Sarah says that the internship was interesting as she could see the practical applications of the theoretical models taught in class.
'I like being in an environment where you are so much more aware of the state of the economy. It is also really cool to work on transactions before they become public knowledge, and then to see the significance and impact on the market when they are announced and subsequently completed.'
Sarah would ideally like to do her graduate role for a few years and then move to London to work in the financial sector there. Both of her degrees place her perfectly for this, with her master's dissertation being an analysis of the risk and return characteristics of the NZX property index and her BCom giving a solid grounding in economic theory.
'The range of subjects we are required to take in first year gave me a good understanding in a variety of useful subjects, while I also had the freedom to choose papers and find out what I was most interested in. Doing postgraduate study was definitely worthwhile as it improved my independent analytical and written abilities which opened doors to better job opportunities.'
Sarah says it was always going to be a Commerce degree at UC.
'Economics and accounting were my favourite subjects at high school. I grew up in Christchurch and my dad is a professor here, so I always wanted to attend Canterbury.'
After the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes, the University promptly arranged for many of its students to study on exchange at the University of Adelaide to avoid disrupting their education. Sarah was one of the students who went.
'It was my first year and it was amazing to go with hundreds of other UC students. It was great to experience that independence of living overseas while getting to make lots of friends who came back to Canterbury at the end of it,' she says.
Keen to spend more time travelling, Sarah is planning how to spend the seven-month gap between finishing her MCom and starting her job.
'I'm heading off to Europe, the US, Canada and Central America. I'll be doing a Contiki tour in Europe, and spending the rest of the time backpacking around and exploring.'
She is sure to look back fondly on her time at UC.
'Alongside the academic aspect of Canterbury, I've absolutely loved the student environment here, especially as we have a main campus that adds a community feel instead of being spread out across a city. In third year I was elected onto The GC, which is one of the largest clubs at Canterbury, and becoming a part of the club scene has made my student experience so much more enjoyable. It has been a fantastic way of meeting new people and getting more involved.'