Lian Thay

Lian Thay

Fundraising Admin Coordinator, CanTeen New Zealand
Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences and Bachelor of Business in Market Insights: Marketing, Advertising, Retailing, Sales conjoint programmes

Studying a Bachelor of Arts was the obvious choice for her, says AUT alumna Lian Thay.

“In high school, I had an interest in social studies, history and classical studies. When I was looking at universities, it made sense to study a Bachelor of Arts degree. I then compared what different universities had to offer, and liked AUT’s more practical and hands-on approach.

“In the first year of my Bachelor of Arts, I decided to undertake conjoint programmes and study a business degree alongside my Bachelor of Arts. I was really interested in psychology and the way messages are spread through communities, and studying marketing seemed a great way to explore this further.”

Memorable experiences
Make the most of the opportunities available to you, Lian advises other students.

“My advice to future AUT students is to take every opportunity possible – do an internship, join a club or go on a student exchange. These experiences will expose you to different career pathways, different people, and will help you land you the job you want.”

She has had many unforgettable experiences throughout her time at AUT, Lian says.

“The most memorable moment at AUT was going on a student exchange to Aalto University in Helsinki, Finland. Halfway through my degree, I really wanted to travel and going on a student exchange was the perfect way to travel while completing my degree. I met so many new people, did so many amazing things, and visited so many amazing places.

“During university, I also participated in the TEAR Fund Live Below the Line internship. This internship lasted three months and involved working alongside other students to promote the Live Below the Line campaign. From this, I improved my teamwork skills, learned to work well under pressure, and gained insight into the not-for-profit sector.”

Making a difference
Another highlight for Lian was her final-year workplace experience, which she completed at CanTeen New Zealand. After graduating from AUT in July, she has now joined CanTeen on a permanent basis as a fundraising admin coordinator.

“My role involves processing incoming donations via mail, online and community fundraisers. It’s my responsibility to input income into our database, ensure appropriate receipting, and reconcile the bank statements. I’m also the first point of contact for donors who call or email us.”

She loves being able to make a difference through her work.

“I enjoy working for CanTeen New Zealand as I get to see the amazing support from the community, as well as the amazing services CanTeen provides for young people living with cancer.”

Employer comment
“When I first met Lian it was evident that she was very smart, and had an enthusiasm to learn and acquire new skills. She had many of the skills we were looking for, for example customer service experience and an understanding of marketing. Historically, CanTeen has employed at least one AUT student per year. Students always come with energy and fresh thinking, which helps us innovate. We’re a small team, so there are always tasks to be done, and our workload is varied, allowing us to adapt to the needs of the student. Working in fundraising for a non-profit is more than a job – it’s a commitment to a cause which you must believe in and be passionate about. There are increasing job opportunities in the fundraising industry, and the mix of fundraising and marketing activities within a small team makes for varied and multiple responsibilities.”


Trina Hutchison, Individual Giving Manager, CanTeen New Zealand