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Student story

Ellie Barrett

20 July 2023

"It was a great complement to my entrepreneurship major to have a real taste of start-up businesses..."


Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Commerce in Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Strategy & Operations Senior Consultant, Deloitte New Zealand

Having always had an interest in business, Ellie’s studies in Strategy and Entrepreneurship gave her the perfect study experience to match her entrepreneurial spirit.

Taking on a double degree in Commerce and Law meant gaining expertise in complementary disciplines to support a career in business. 

“I had always set out to do a BCom and I thought a legal background would underpin my pursuits in business,’ she says. ‘Law has given me the ability to think analytically; to build reasoning, structured problem solving, research and communication skills. These are generic skills imparted through the study of law which are as much value in business and government as they are in the legal profession.”

Wanting a university with a good law school away from home, Ellie ended up choosing UC and staying at College House accommodation for her first two years.

A great start to developing her business sense was through entré on campus, which Ellie joined her in her second year of study. She eventually became the Events Associate, and later the COO.

“It was a great complement to my entrepreneurship major to have a real taste of start-up businesses,’ she says. ‘I loved cooking and teaching kids to cook. Through entré I was able to take this passion into a business idea that accelerated the current business model, something I may not have thought of or been pushed to do without the entrepreneurial environment of entré.”

Ellie was also determined to gain overseas experience, carefully planning her courses in her double degree to complete two exchanges – one in Beijing, and the other in her final study year in Denmark.

“I did a 4-week legal course with the University of Political Science and Law in Beijing during a term break in fourth year and later completed a research paper for Law. It was a real eye opener into a different culture and legal system, and fascinating to explore a new city, see the Great Wall, eat A LOT of dumplings, and meet Beijing students.  

“I also did an exchange to Copenhagen in Denmark for the last semester of my degrees. It was the perfect end to my 5-year stint at UC and it was the most amazing opportunity to live in Scandinavia and do lots of travel before starting work. I biked into the city every day like a true Dane, exploring the cobbled streets, ate way too many cinnamon scrolls, and came back with expensive taste for Scandinavian design. I’d love to go back to live.

“I would recommend everyone to plan an exchange into their degree and to do it early, it was best thing I’ve ever done,” she says.

Ellie now works in Deloitte Consulting in Auckland, assisting clients with business model transformation, corporate strategy, process design/improvement, and customer experience design.

“I think my best work day to date was walking around in a hospital gown looking at how a hospital could optimise its supply chain, getting it’s consumables from inwards goods through to the surgery table,” she says.

“No day is the same, no client or project is the same, and we’re forever thrown in the unknown of what we will be working on next. Doing project-based work gives you the constant exhilaration of solving new problems. We work in teams of people with completely different backgrounds and everyone brings a different perspective and strength to the table. Even as juniors, we’re amongst exciting strategic conversations with our clients about where their organisation is heading.”

She looks forward to building up enough experience in consulting to one day start her own business venture.

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