Kat Starrie

'I had the foundation and skills needed to contribute to my team right away...'

  • Kat Starrie

Bachelor of Science in Finance

Master of Applied Finance and Economics

Portfolio Investment Analyst, NZ Super Fund | Te Kaitiaki Tahua Penihana Kaumātua o Aotearoa

 

So you came to New Zealand to study after your first year of uni in Alberta Canada. What made you decide to go to UC?

I liked the campus and the amenities that Christchurch had to offer. The wide range of courses available was great when I wasn’t sure what direction I wanted to head in and allowed me to change my mind a few times without losing momentum.

How did you end up finding it here?

Student life was a good time, there was always something going on and something to look forward to.

I was at University Hall in my first year. I met a ton of people right off the bat and have a great group of friends that dates back to my time there.

I was also a part of UC Toastmasters and participated in the CFA Challenge in 2014. I made really solid friends that were pretty crucial to getting through postgrad and I also had great lecturers throughout my tenure at UC.

I also started mountain biking when I was studying in Christchurch and have been doing it ever since. There’s tons of incredible biking all through New Zealand, but I remember my first time biking the traverse in the Port Hills and seeing sheep meandering across the trail – only in New Zealand!

What motivated you to go onto postgrad study with the Master of Applied Finance and Economics (MAFE)?

I wanted to do the MAFE because of its focus on real world applications. I liked the hands-on approach and wanted to come out of uni with tangible skills. The MAFE was technically demanding and meant that when I got into the workforce I was used to delivering at a high level. While I learned a lot on the job, I had the foundation and skills needed to contribute to my team right away.

What was your first job after graduating?

I was a graduate risk analyst followed by a credit risk analyst, and then moved into institutional banking at BNZ. The Academic Skills Centre was really helpful when I was applying for grad roles – they reviewed my CV and cover letter and had tips on psychometric testing.

And now you’re working with NZ Super Fund as a Portfolio Investment Analyst. What does that role involve?

I assess global investment opportunities for risk/return, conduct credit analysis and due diligence, and monitor investment and portfolio performance.

We invest in a broad range of products and geographical markets which means each deal is different and has unique considerations. And the way the Fund is structured gives us competitive advantages and means we can take part in opportunities that many other funds can’t.

What would you recommend other Finance students look out for in their studies?

I would encourage them to go to industry events and get exposure to different people and the many types of careers out there. New Zealand is a small market and you’ll probably cross paths with those people again.

I finished the CFA exams but have generally been fairly flexible in what I wanted out my career – mostly because coming out of uni I found I didn’t even know all the different paths you could take. Making the most of opportunities and building relationships has been valuable so far.

 
Blake Hansen

Blake Hansen

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

Coacine Chong

Coacine Chong

'With Economics and Finance, I can go into banks, consulting, and even investment banking...'