Wananga landing Wananga landing
Student story

Marliese Liyanage

20 July 2023

"UC has a great reputation and I loved everything I read and learned about New Zealand..."


Bachelor of Commerce in Management and Marketing

Assistant Marketing Manager, ASB Bank, Auckland

After being awarded the UC School of Business and Economics Scholarship, Marliese made the decision to study in New Zealand. "UC has a great reputation and I loved everything I read and learned about New Zealand, and leapt at the opportunity to attend Canterbury. It is the best decision I ever made."

Growing up in Sri Lanka, Marliese held a number of leadership roles at high school in recognition of her academic and school community involvement. She was appointed Head Prefect of her school and Secretary General of Sri Lanka Model United Nations. She qualified in classical piano through the Trinity College of Music London, leading to performances and awards at the Sri Lanka Festival of Music.

Before attending university, Marliese took an opportunity-filled gap year taking on a number of projects. Describing herself as a ‘go-getter’, she had a number of experiences doing fashion modelling, TV commercials and working as a Radio Presenter for Kiss FM Sri Lanka.

Throughout her childhood, her parents made sure to make her aware of those less fortunate leading to a ‘deeply ingrained belief in giving back.’ She continued her passion in New Zealand, volunteering for the P3 Foundation in Christchurch; a non-profit youth organisation that aims to eradicate poverty in the Asia-Pacific region. More recently, she was a mentor for Project K in Auckland; a programme for Year 10 students to bolster confidence and life skills, run by the Graeme Dingle Foundation.

At UC, Marliese was the Strategic Marketing Manager for entré 2014; a role that has greatly enhanced her business skills. As part of a select team, she won the National Title for UC at the 2013 SDS Premier League Business Case Competition and she led the teams presenting at the 2014 competitions. "Public speaking is one of my strong suits and I absolutely enjoyed the competitions," Marliese says. "Competing against students from other New Zealand universities, and presenting to top business people was an invaluable experience and great preparation for the real business world."

Marliese was also handpicked to represent UC in collaboration with the Engineering Faculty (UC Motorsport) at the 2014 Australasia Formula SAE Competition. She had to devise a business plan for the UC race car and present to a panel of judges in Melbourne. She placed second overall in the Business Presentation category, beating 24 universities from Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.

To top it all off, she was inducted into the International Golden Key Honour Society, Canterbury Chapter, for exceptional grades at university. Marliese won the 2014 Simon Courtney Prize in Marketing; awarded annually by the University of Canterbury for the best results by a BCom student specialising in 300-level Marketing.

"There was always so much going on at UC that I was spoilt for choice. Despite the multitude of extra-curricular activities, I organised my time well and always found time to meet up with friends, go out dancing, do a bit of travelling and just have fun," she says.

"I loved studying at UC. My Management and Marketing lecturers were amazing and made learning a pleasure. Studying a double major Commerce degree was challenging but very rewarding. Working together on group projects and assignments with real-life case studies was all part of a great learning experience. Studying Management at UC was an outstanding way to improve leadership skills and other qualities such as problem solving and negotiating, which are vital in today’s highly competitive business arena. A huge benefit of studying Marketing is the demand for marketers. Every business and every industry will always need good marketing."

Marliese is now Assistant Marketing Manager at ASB Bank at the North Wharf Head office in Auckland; overseeing initiatives and campaigns for her portfolios. Previously, Marliese was an ASB Future Me Graduate in the Retail and Business Banking stream. She was in the top 10 selected out of over 600 applicants from universities across New Zealand to secure a place in the 2016 Graduate Programme.

Marliese has big career goals and says that getting into the ASB Graduate Programme was an ambition fulfilled, and she looks forward to a fulfilling career at ASB.

"My studies and the wealth of business-world experiences I gained at UC paved the way for me to get to where I am today. I would not have the amazing job I have now without the exceptional education I received at UC."

More student stories
Privacy Preferences

By clicking "Accept All Cookies", you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.