Alisa Innes

Alisa Innes

Commercial Analyst, Watercare
Bachelor of Business in Finance & Marketing, Advertising, Retailing and Sales

Deciding to study at AUT was easy, says Alisa Innes who grew up in Sevastopol, Ukraine, and completed a Bachelor of Business in Finance & Marketing, Advertising, Retailing and Sales.

“Several of my friends had graduated from AUT and were very complimentary about their experiences, indicating that there were plenty of opportunities to personalise the degree and try different subjects. I also heard that AUT lecturers are helpful and supportive, and there’s plenty of interesting group work. Finally, I remember thinking that the idea of gaining workplace experience as part of my degree could be very helpful for a smooth transition from study to work.

“Originally, I was planning to study marketing and management because I’ve worked as a retail manager and wanted to further my knowledge. However, after taking the course Introduction to Finance in my first year, I was curious to learn more. So I set myself a New Year’s resolution to become financially literate, and learn how to manage personal finance and investments. This simple interest in finance soon turned into a professional career.”

She would definitely recommend studying at AUT.

“My overall experience was great. There were plenty of interesting subjects to choose from, and there was flexibility to enable me to fit my study around work and life. I was also very happy with the level of teaching. It was a pleasure to meet so many interesting lecturers who inspired me to learn and grow. Finally, it’s great that AUT is actively helping students transition from study to work, by organising career days, inviting students to some companies’ open days and other activities.”

An invaluable experience
One of the highlights of Alisa’s time at AUT was participating in the Shadow a Leader programme in her final year.

“When I made a decision to actively look for opportunities that could potentially lead to employment, I decided to participate in some of the offers AUT was emailing me about. I signed up to the CFA challenge, Deloitte tour and Shadow a Leader to make my last semester more memorable. While I enjoyed all those amazing programmes, Shadow a Leader was the one that landed me a job.

“I was shadowing Jon Lamonte, CEO of Watercare, for a day, which made me think about topics for conversation and questions to ask during the company visit. The day started with several meetings and a radio interview that Jon handled very easily. It was evident that he is very knowledgeable, can make decisions quickly and has a great deal of respect from others. Next, was a site tour of a Mangere Wastewater Treatment Plant, before we went back to the Watercare headquarters for a quick tour, visiting different departments, talking to people and asking questions.”

The learning experience on the day at Watercare was truly invaluable, says Alisa who now works as a commercial analyst to help Watercare adapt to the changes New Zealand’s water industry is currently going through.

“It was an amazing experience to get an inside view of an organisation that provides such an essential service to the Auckland community. I had a great experience visiting the company, as everyone was friendly, helpful and very proud of being there. I now work here as a commercial analyst and absolutely love it. I've been given an exciting new agreement review project to lead, which is both challenging and exciting. All my knowledge from my AUT project management course is coming handy.”

Advice for other students
Alisa, who completed her studies in early 2022, has some great advice for other students.

“My main advice for other students would be to always choose what you like to do; not what you should do. By following your passion and putting some serious effort into study, you’ll create some interesting opportunities, like being able to participate in the Shadow a Leader programme, which could lead to interesting job options.”

Be proactive, she adds.

“While your study success will attract these opportunities, you have to be proactive and act on them to transform opportunities into results. When you’re taking part in networking opportunities, put extra effort into your preparation and research about the company and the people you’ll be interacting with.”

*The Marketing, Advertising, Retailing and Sales major is now called Marketing.