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Student story

Blake Hansen

20 July 2023

"My courses taught me a way of thinking which is incredibly valuable in my role..."


Bachelor of Commerce in Economics and Finance

Master of Applied Finance and Economics

Associate Client Director, ASB

Being an Associate Client Director at ASB is an outstanding achievement! What does your work involve?

I am partially responsible for managing a portfolio of Corporate Banking clients across the South Island and connecting each client with the product specialists applicable to them. I am also responsible for running the credit process for any Corporate lending which involves company, industry, and macro-economic analysis, presentation/pitching, legal documentation, and in-depth financial analysis.

That sounds like a lot of responsibility! What are your favourite aspects of your role?

I enjoy being involved in the decision making and funding of Corporates which have an influence in the communities in which they operate. I have always had an interest in financial analysis and understanding key drivers of performance which is a key component of my current role and allows me to expand my knowledge in the area.

I want to learn as much as I can about the Corporate industry in New Zealand.

How did your studies at UC help prepare you for the corporate world?

My study gave me a good base of economic and finance concepts and theories of how things should behave in a perfect world, but the most valuable part of university was my final year in which these concepts were challenged and the learning took more of a real world approach.

Most importantly, my courses taught me a way of thinking which is incredibly valuable in my role, which is thinking about how things are expected to turn out and then comparing this to actual results and finding what caused it to be this way. My final year also taught me to challenge my forecasts and predictions and ask myself what the risk to these forecasts are and what would cause them to deviate from the expected outcomes. 

I also received many scholarships through UC – a Lloyd Lilley Scholarship, a Northington Partners Scholarship in Finance, and Department of Economics and Finance Honours and Master’s Scholarships.

What made you choose to go to UC in particular, and move from Invercargill?

I enjoyed the Open Day that I went to, and they offered the courses that I wanted to take. Advice throughout my degree by several lectures and key members of the Department ensured me that I was on the path I wanted to be on, and I would encourage students to have these discussions.

The extra effort the lecturers made to make themselves available and have open conversations/discussions with students. I never felt intimidated to approach a lecturer. I felt most lecturers genuinely wanted me to reach my potential and help me get there.

I also enjoyed the campus itself, which is more appealing than other universities in New Zealand and around the globe.

After all your successes, do you have any advice for future Finance and Economics students?

Ensure that you have a passion in these subjects and know what skillset you wish to get out of these courses.

I would also advise that it isn’t always about the specific concepts, but there is also a lot of value in different ways of thinking which these courses helped me discover. I would also encourage students to take extracurricular activities offered by the department as these are looked upon fondly by employers as they provide experience outside a general university course.

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