'I really enjoy how relevant my degree is...'
Bachelor of Commerce in Economics and Human Resource Management
People Consultant, Kiwibank
Having taken advantage of a lot of opportunities in her BCom studies, Sophia is now using those experiences as an HR professional.
‘UC has a number of great lecturers in the areas that I studied and it provides many opportunities to participate in the student community and make a difference,’ she says. ‘I really enjoy how relevant my degree is.’
Sophia found she particularly enjoyed Human Resource Management during study, and came to appreciate its importance in organisational management.
‘As the business world becomes even more competitive it is so important that the human resources of any organisation are performing at their best. People are essential in creating a competitive advantage and I love that I get to play a part in supporting them to perform to the best of their abilities,’ she says.
Taking an HRM Intern Consulting Project course (MGMT 390) with PGG Wrightson allowed Sophia to use her skills in a real workplace. Her project involved surveying employees across New Zealand on their work satisfaction and well-being.
‘From the results collected, I needed to find some key themes to report back to the leadership team about where they should go in the future and the best way they can support their employees to be productive and happy in the workplace. It also involved some research into the best practices of other companies in this area and some academic research to support some of my claims.
‘I gained many skills during this process, including better research skills, learning more about professional communication, and report writing. It is an amazing opportunity and was very valuable for my future work in HR. I also learnt a lot about myself during this process, about what I am capable of, becoming more confident in myself.’
Sophia also attributes the support she received from UC to being able to go on an exchange to Spain, at the University of Navarra.
‘It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I gained so many valuable skills while studying in Spain and traveling around Europe. I have no hesitation in recommending an overseas exchange to anyone, as it was such an amazing opportunity for myself. Although there were challenging times, it was definitely worth every minute for the experiences I got out of it.’
UC’s community has also been a highlight from her studies. After being inspired by the Commerce Department on Open Day, Sophia enrolled with a UC Bright Start Scholarship and spent her first year living at University Hall.
‘I met a great group of friends and flatted with them the following year. It was a perfect first step from moving out of home because I was surrounded by good people and a supportive hall environment,' she says.
‘I love the outdoors and staying active while studying. I often go skiing during the winter and made the most of the group fitness classes at the gym (Zumba, yoga, spin).
‘I also became part of the mentoring programme at UC, as I enjoy supporting other people and this was a great experience to give something back to the University.’
It is this mentality that Sophia has taken into her HR career. During her final summer of study, Sophia was successful in obtaining a summer internship as an HR Summer Student at Fonterra.
‘I spent the summer experiencing HR in an organisational context and involving myself in typical HR processes such as recruitment, onboarding, and learning and development.’
After graduating, Sophia’s hopes turned into reality with her first role as a People Coordinator at Kiwibank, which gave her a wide range of generalist HR experience. Later progressing into a more senior role as a People Consultant, Sophia’s role involves working closely with managers and providing advice on HR issues.
‘This is a great new challenge and I’m excited for all of the learning and experience that will come with it,’ she says. ‘I feel like I am able to contribute to the well-being of people, and this makes for a very rewarding job.’