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Student story

Michaela Lees

26 December 2023

Studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce (Strategy and Entrepreneurship & International Business)


UCE Involvement:

SDS Case Competition (2017)
Consulting Director, 180 Degrees Consulting (2017)


MGMT 228 - China Study Tour (2016)
Graduate, Auckland Transport (2018)

How did you find being part of the SDS Case Competition this year?

I was involved in the second and third rounds of the SDS National League this year. It was a big learning experience but really interesting and super practical. Everyone should definitely do this as part of their studies!

It was great for me as I was able to put what I learnt in class into practice. A lot of class is theory-based, but in these competitions, judges just want to know what your idea is. I had awesome team mates and met some really cool people from other universities.

What is 180 Degrees Consulting?

180 Degrees Consulting is the world’s largest volunteer consulting organisation. It was founded in Sydney and we’re the only New Zealand branch. We connect students who act as consultants with not-for-profits to help them solve a problem. It’s perfect for getting practical experience!

My first project was a local community hub. They were very humble and just wanted some marketing advice as they weren’t getting much reach with their existing marketing. We put together some marketing material and they were really appreciative of what we did!

Other cool organisations that we have worked with include Child Labour Free and Ronald McDonald House. We are slowly engaging bigger and more diverse clients.

What are you doing after you graduate?

I have got a job with Auckland Transport as part of their early career graduate program. It’s the first iteration of the program and Auckland Transport are trying to integrate a lot of different divisions such as management, marketing, communications and environmental analysis. We spend three years in the program rotating through different divisions.

How have you found being involved with the UC Centre for Entrepreneurship (UCE)?

It’s such a nice culture at UCE! 180 Degrees Consulting works closely with UCE and it is great to have the support and resources that UCE can offer. It’s great for us because it means we can work with the Global China Connection (GCC) club and Entré, which both come under UCE.

Why should a student be part of UCE?

There’s so many different things to get involved in! There’s startups and social enterprises, but also things like the SDS Case Competition, the Lane Neave LawTech Bootcamp... not to mention, the clubs (GCC, 180 Degrees, Entré) as well!

There’s something for everyone so put yourself out there - you never know what’s going to happen.

What are your aspirations for the future?

I feel like when I started I had an idea of what I wanted to do, but  my perspective has really changed thanks to my studies and UCE! I’m now open to doing new things – for example, I never would have thought that I’d end up at Auckland Transport. I’ll see where that leads me. Ultimately, I want to work with an NGO or a small startup.

What piece of advice would you give to other students at UC?

Get involved! There are so many options at UC - don’t feel you need to get stuck in a box. And it doesn’t matter what you study; there’s so many options. For example, my flatmate recently got involved in the Lane Neave LawTech Bootcamp this year. It was the first time she was involved with UCE and now she has an internship with them!

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