Jess Willis

Jess Willis

Marketing & Production Coordinator, Oxygen Eventworks, New York
Bachelor of Arts in Event Management

The international opportunities were the highlights of her time at AUT, says Bachelor of Arts in Event Management alumna Jess Willis.

“In my final-year, I went on a study tour to Hong Kong. That was unreal!  Being immersed in another culture like that was amazing.

“This opportunity only gave me a taste for more. It inspired me to apply for the AUT Internz International Scholarship Programme to live and work in New York City for a year.”

A new life in New York
New York is it in terms of events, Jess says.

“This industry is based on who you know and what sort of experience you’ve accumulated. New York definitely offers a lot of opportunities and experiences.

“Not a day is the same – from weddings to concerts to marketing launches to fancy cocktail parties. I get to work with and meet amazing people, and we’ve done events for Maybelline, NYFW, Google, Mini Cooper, Mont Blanc and Ray Ban.”

Applying for the AUT Internz programme was an easy decision for Jess.

“I thought this was a once in a lifetime opportunity. One year of your life away from everything you know is nothing in return for what you’ll get out of this experience.

“As well as growing my event management career, I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone, try new things, meet new people and ‘see how the other half lives’. When an opportunity like this presents itself, you’re silly to let it slide!”

Skills for a fast-paced career
She has always been passionate about events, says Jess who combined studying event management with minors in marketing and public relations.

“What I love about event management are the people, the music, networking and the upbeat atmosphere. It’s such a fast-paced industry and each day is different. I didn’t want to settle for a job where money was the focus, and it has proven to be more than worth it. Not a day feels like work.”

Choosing where to study was easy, Jess says.

“AUT is known as the university of the changing world. It also seemed to be the preferred choice for event management, and the degree was very defined in terms of the skills students will develop.”

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