Erin Marander-Higgins

Erin Marander-Higgins

Tourism Marketing Executive
Bachelor of International Tourism Management in Destination Management

Learning about digital marketing was eye-opening for Erin Marander-Higgins who came to AUT to study a Bachelor of International Tourism Management in Destination Management, with a minor in Event Management.

“I was introduced to digital marketing and all that it involves during my Tourism, Hospitality and Events in the Digital Age course. I loved the creative assessments in this paper, and it made me excited to think that they were similar to tasks in digital marketing roles. This class was probably the highlight for me and really made my path after university much clearer.”

She has always learnt best by doing, says Erin, who particularly enjoyed the hands-on aspects of her studies.

“One aspect that sold me on coming to AUT was that it is a university known for a more hands-on approach to learning. It seemed like it would be the perfect fit for me. There were a few key moments for me during my time at AUT, but perhaps some of the most significant were the interesting and creative event planning and marketing assignments. It was during these assessments that I started to realise what really interested me and what I was good at.”

Valuable networking opportunities
Don’t underestimate the value of the workplace component of your degree, Erin says.

“I enjoyed all three years at AUT, but one of the highlights for me would have to be the workplace experience in the final year of my degree. This is an opportunity to get your first career-focused role and make connections in your chosen industry.

“Although the idea of having to go out and find somewhere to complete a placement was daunting, it really helped in my personal and professional growth. Like many other students, I was also offered the chance to stay on as part of the team after my workplace experience was complete.”

Plan early for your workplace experience, she adds.

“It may seem like the second semester of your final year is very far away, but it comes much quicker than you think.”

A love of tourism
As passionate as she is about tourism now, Erin didn’t always plan to have a career in this industry. In fact, she first came across AUT’s tourism degree when she took a gap year after finishing high school.

“I took a year off after high school and did a small amount of travelling. During this time I happened to stumble upon AUT’s tourism degree, which had never been a thought for me before. The more I read about what to expect, the more the thought of working in the tourism industry really excited me.

“I really wanted to promote New Zealand as a destination, and get more people to travel and experience our country because I think it’s a pretty great place.”

After completing her degree at the end of 2019, Erin now enjoys sharing her love of New Zealand and Auckland with others through her role as a marketing executive for a local destination management organisation.

*The Destination Management major has been replaced by the Sustainable Tourism Management major.

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