3rd-year student, Bachelor of Business in Finance & Marketing, Advertising, Retailing and Sales
Deciding to study a Bachelor of Business at AUT was easy, says Lourdaiz Ah Chong who is in the final year of his degree, and hopes to have a career in private equity once he graduates.
"I wanted to gain more knowledge in my chosen areas of specialisation, learn how to think creatively, solve problems and communicate effectively; all essential skills for my future career. AUT is a leading education provider in the Asia-Pacific region, renowned for research excellence and innovative teaching. There's also a lot more collaborative learning with smaller class sizes and I think it’s the thing that sets AUT apart from other universities. Your lecturers are also accessible in and outside of class."
Lourdaiz says he appreciates how AUT incorporates employer and business thinking into its education framework.
“You’re immersed in a multifaceted intellectual setting with the goal to train future leaders and thinkers in all fields. There are lots of ways AUT connects with businesspeople, for example through advisory committees made up of industry professionals who look at AUT courses and how AUT graduates are doing.
"The workplace experience, which is a compulsory part of the business degree, also gives students a really good idea of what it's like to apply the knowledge they’ve learnt at university and the skills they have to make a contribution to a business, an enterprise, a profession or a community organisation.”
Life outside of study
In addition to his studies, Lourdaiz found time for part-time work at prominent New Zealand-owned investment firm Forsyth Barr. It was there that he met Sir Eion Edgar, the former Chair of Forsyth Barr, who told him to ‘always acknowledge and contribute to the place that gave you your meal ticket’, so having a particularly strong service ethic is very important to Lourdaiz.
More recently, he landed a highly-sought-after summer internship role within the Direct Investments team at the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, one of the largest institutional investors in New Zealand and a significant player in New Zealand’s capital markets.
He is an Institute of Finance Professionals NZ Inc. (INFINZ) Young Finance Professionals Ambassador, a relationship manager liaising between INFINZ and the Auckland-based universities and the chair of the AUT Investment Club. What he enjoys most about his role as the chair of the AUT Investment Club is being able to host high-quality events which offer professional development and learning opportunities.
"The AUT Investment Club was founded in 2011 and is a student-run society. Our purpose is to get students excited about a career in finance, educate them on investing and help members form relationships with industry professionals. We host a broad range of seminars, networking events, competitions, workshops, academic tutorials and social gatherings. These are aimed to inspire and prepare our members for life after university with the knowledge required to make decisions that will ultimately result in a more financially assured future."
An alumnus of Sacred Heart College, Lourdaiz also enjoys giving back to this former school by being on the Sacred Heart College Rugby Committee and coaching the Sacred Heart 1R (A) team, previously known as 4A, who won back-to-back grade rugby championships in both 2018 and 2019.
Advice for other students
Find a degree you enjoy, Lourdaiz advises other students.
"I think the main thing students should do when thinking about going to university is to study something they’re interested in and passionate about rather than something they think will give them a great job. I would also say, the harder you work, the luckier you get.
"Most qualifications will fit you with skills you can move around to all sorts of professions and vocational settings. And of course, you might not want to get a job when you leave university; you might go out, and start your own business or develop your own product."
Today’s universities need to cater to the changing workplaces, he says. “University graduates are no longer just doctors, teachers or journalists. They're going to create new jobs for the new economy, so how do universities help people with entrepreneurial skills who are starting their own business? I think that’s a new emphasis for universities. AUT is doing that already.”