Annaleise sees her degree in Mechanical Engineering as just the first step in a varied and interesting career.
‘I wanted a degree that had weight behind it, that would teach me to think from first principles and that would give me skills that can be potentially transferred into another field. Basically Engineering is an excellent first degree,’ she says.
She chose to study Mechanical Engineering at UC after being inspired by one of the academic staff here. Annaleise was one of three high school students from New Zealand to be sponsored by the Royal Society of New Zealand and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise to attend the BioFutures forum in Brisbane, Australia. ‘During the application process I met Professor Tim David and others working in the biotechnology and biomedical engineering fields. As a result of the work Tim was doing on modelling blood flow to the brain and designing a heart valve, I became extremely enthusiastic about an Engineering degree.’
After graduating from UC, Annaleise was quick to land a role at Opus International Consultants Ltd in Christchurch, where she worked as an assistant mechanical engineer. Her first role centred on building services design work in the fields of HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) and hydraulics. ‘Basically I did a bit of everything so that I could gain broad experience and develop my skills in report writing, client relationships and communication, research and problem solving.’
‘I really enjoyed using what I had been taught at UC in a professional, real-world environment, and understanding that there is far more to it than technical expertise – thank goodness! At Opus I worked in a great team, with people who are helpful, practical and experienced.’
Annaleise then moved within Opus to work with its marine and ports team. It was an opportunity to gain more experience in corporate finance, an area she had decided to move into. ‘Through that time I was doing earthquake-related work. Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) had a significant claim and I was involved in their reinstatement plan, material damage and business interruption claims, and their asset management plan. This was fantastic experience as I got to work closely with LPC’s CEO, CFO and lawyers, and with Opus’ ports experts.’
Annaleise went on to complete a Masters of Applied Finance at Macquarie University in Sydney and plans to stay in Australia and work in project finance, ideally in the public-private partnership sector.
Looking back, she says she enjoyed her studies at UC. ‘Like most things in life, it is the people that make the experience far more enjoyable,’ she says. ‘The technical content of the courses was great, especially in the final year, and the lecturers made a real effort to apply the theory to industrial situations and make the lectures interesting and fun.’
Annaleise advises anyone considering studying towards an Engineering degree that it requires dedication and enthusiasm to succeed. ‘The degree is designed to teach you to think logically and systematically, but at the same time outside the box. It is definitely worth the hard work, and it is the best feeling when you have completed it.’