BREAKING THE CEILING.

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Mikayla. BUSINESS.
Ngāi Tahu

Tell us about your passion for entrepreneurship!

I hadn't even heard of the word before I came to uni! I found out about it through a club called entré. I entered one of their competitions and ended up winning ‘best idea’. The prize was mentorship with an app developer. They were looking for a marketing intern and I put my hand up to give it a go.

Did that experience change the course of your studies?

It did. I’d been studying law, but I realised my interested was leaning towards commerce more. I went to see a Māori student advisor who listened to my concerns and agreed that I should pick up commerce.

How has the UC Māori team played a role in your uni life?

They helped a lot with my transition into uni. I wasn’t confident academically so I checked in with them and attended their awesome tutorials. They really prepare you for your studies – and they have epic food! You also meet other people like you who know exactly what you're going through. It has a real community vibe.

Speaking of community, tell us about the club culture here at UC.

I fell in love with clubs from my very first week. I literally had goosebumps walking around on Clubs Day. They create such an incredible sense of belonging that no other uni can match. Joining a club is a great way to discover your purpose.

Which club have you connected with most?

UCom (University of Canterbury Commerce Society) is the one I'm most involved with. We’re the big umbrella over all the commerce students. We offer tutorials, hold events and help with the careers fair. I was the vice president for two years.

"I literally had goosebumps walking around on Clubs Day. They create such an incredible sense of belonging that no other uni can match. Joining a club is a great way to discover your purpose."

What's it been like taking on a leadership role?

In high school I never thought of myself as a leader, so getting elected as VP of one of UC’s biggest clubs was pretty surreal. But I took the chance and found my passion for leading. I love taking charge, delegating and bringing people together. When you organise a big event and see everyone laughing and having fun together, you get a sense of ‘wow, I did this’. It's a great feeling to help make community happen.

How have you changed at UC?

Before UC I was shy, a wee bit lost, and I doubted my academic ability. Flash forward four years and I’m a social, entrepreneurial, proud to be Māori, leader. I’ve gained so much independence and confidence. I want to start my own business, travel the world, create a sustainable future and have a whole lot of fun along the way.

What would you say to high school students reading this?

Back yourself. It doesn’t matter where you come from, how smart you are, or whether you have a clear goal in mind. At UC there’s a place for absolutely everyone.