3rd-year student, Bachelor of Business in International Business and Strategy
Watching her dad’s life as a businessman inspired her to study business herself, says Holly Ffowcs Williams who is enrolled in a Bachelor of Business in International Business and Strategy, with a minor in Sustainable Enterprise.
“I have an undeniable passion for helping people get the best out of themselves and achieve great things in all parts of their lives. This is something I’ve watched my father do as a businessman, working every day to get the best out of his team. I never studied business at high school but I was always interested in current affairs and in hearing how my dad’s work enabled companies to become more efficient and effective.
“I started my Bachelor of Business nervous that I had never studied business before, but I’ve found this degree is the perfect fit for me. I’m engaged in every class and find the discussions thought-provoking, especially in the courses that focus on sustainability issues in the business world. This semester, I’ve found a great passion in social entrepreneurship and this is something I want to pursue in the future once I’ve gained more experience in this field.”
Her dream would be to work for or launch a start-up health food company selling sustainably produced and sourced products, says Holly who is also a successful athlete competing in cycling and multisport events.
“As an athlete, I know that healthy, fresh and whole foods properly fuel me for my training. I want more people to experience this and to know that they’re protecting the environment with their nutrition choices. Making these healthy and eco-friendly choices can often be quite expensive for consumers. I want to find a way to make this an option for the majority of New Zealanders.”
The right choice
Growing up in Christchurch, Holly knew she had found the right university when an AUT representative attended her high school to talk to students about the different study options.
“In my last year of high school, we had numerous talks from university representatives. The AUT representative took a considerable amount of time after the session to talk to every student who had questions, and also followed up with an email to me afterwards. He answered all my questions, and I found this personal communication amazing compared to other universities. Once I had a look at the business degree and the city living, I was sold.”
Choosing to study business at AUT is one of the best decisions she has ever made, says Holly has received an Academic Excellence Scholarship and a Significant Student Scholarship to support her studies.
“The personal and educational growth I’ve gained during my time at AUT is like nothing else I’ve experienced. The business degree initially keeps topics broad, which gives students a taste of the various subjects. If you want to help society to thrive through business activities and initiatives, a business degree at AUT is a major step to enable yourself to be a positive influence in this everchanging world.
“The people I’ve met in each of my courses are what I’ve enjoyed most. My lecturers have all been inspiring in their teaching, there to help whenever I needed and they sparked thought-provoking conversations. I’ve been particularly impressed by Dr John Tan whose passion for international business management was inspiring. His experience through his work brought the course content to life and made every class immensely engaging. John was a reminder that with lots of hard work, kindness and passion, you can build the life you want and help others along the way.”
Advice for other students
Now in the third year of her studies, Holly has some great advice for other students.
“When starting a new degree, take notice of the classes you’re excited to go to each week and whether you’re engaged in the classroom discussions. You’ll do well in the courses that you understand quickly. Go with what you enjoy and don’t be afraid to change your degree if you’re not enjoying it. If you study something you’re passionate about, then every class and assessment becomes enjoyable and seems less like work.”
There’s plenty of support if you need it, she adds.
“At the beginning of my university experience, I was struggling to transition from living at home to living in a new city with people I didn’t know at the AUT student accommodation. At the same time, my body was fighting an illness, meaning that I was tired and stressed all of the time. I reached out to the support services at AUT, including the Student Hub, medical centre and athlete support team.
“These amazing teams helped me make a plan for getting through the following month. Once I had done this, I started to enjoy my courses, achieved success in my first assessments and later in the year also success in sporting competitions.”