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Student story

Parth Desai

20 July 2023

"I see myself working on some of the most significant projects for Christchurch and New Zealand..."


Master of Engineering Studies in Construction Management

Project Manager, Savills New Zealand Project Management

Having studied Civil Engineering at university and polytechnic in Mumbai, India, Parth had a goal to widen his engineering knowledge through master's study in New Zealand.

"I aim to gain experience in all kinds of Construction segments in different countries," he says.

Living in New Zealand as an international student was initially a big change from India, but he quickly found the new environment to be a welcome experience.

"I come from a city where the population is 20 million. The population is scarce here and many more such surprises came along. But, it wasn't much of a problem adjusting here. Once you have lived in India you can adjust in any part of the world.

"You can take the Indian out of India, but you can't take India out of the Indian," he jokes.

Choosing to attend UC, Parth decided to study the MEngSt in Construction Management because of his "love and interest in construction".

"UC is well-known for its Civil Department," he says. "The system and approach towards studies is relaxed. This is an excellent field to be associated with due to present market needs."

Indeed, the Christchurch rebuild has presented many new job opportunities for engineering graduates, with Parth taking up a role as a Structural Engineer for Urban Structural Services Ltd shortly after graduating.

"I undertook visual inspections and assessments to determine the damage to the properties in the Canterbury region struck by the series of Canterbury earthquakes over the years. Based on the inspection and review of other documents available, I proposed engineering solutions to the earthquake damaged dwellings in line with the Building Act/Code."

Following his work as a structural engineer, Parth spent another few years working with Fletcher Earthquake Recovery, firstly as a Graduate Engineer and later a Project Manager. He then was contracted to provide technical services to Harrison Grierson and continued supporting the Christchurch rebuild. Parth spent 4 years working on the Christchurch rebuild and was involved in over 1,000 properties across Canterbury.

After Harrison Grierson, Parth realised that it was time to point his career down the path he had envisaged, Project Management. Currently Parth works as a Project Manager for Savills New Zealand, as part of their Project Management Consultancy team. Since changing his focus to Project Management only, Parth has been involved in large scale multi-million dollar projects with multiple stakeholders and numerous work streams to concurrently manage.

"I am loving my current job at Savills as this is the reason why I came to New Zealand. I manage major construction projects, which so far have included commercial buildings, infrastructure roading, parks and recreational spaces, and a 5-star hotel building in the city.

"I have found a job where I can see my future and what I had come to New Zealand to do. At Savills, we are a close-knit team with a hunger for work and growth across the country."

His experiences in the industry has been invaluable for Parth, and he sees the opportunity to have a brilliant career.

"In the coming decade I see myself working on some of the most significant projects for Christchurch and New Zealand," he says. "I have learnt a lot about the construction of houses in New Zealand (as it is totally different from the structures what I have worked on in India). I share my desk with a bunch of experts and well-experienced professionals from whom I learn things which no book could teach."

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