Consultant, Risk Advisory, Deloitte New Zealand
Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Resolution & Bachelor of Business in Human Resource Management and Employment Relations conjoint programmes
Deciding what to study at university was easy, says Maia Smith who completed Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Resolution and Bachelor of Business in Human Resource Management and Employment Relations conjoint programmes.
“I always enjoyed literary subjects in high school, so a business degree with a Human Resource Management major interested me the most. When I was filling out my application to study at AUT, I saw I could combine my business degree with a Bachelor of Arts. That combined my two interests, management within business and social sciences and public policy. I thought both majors complemented each other well. AUT was the only university offering these specific conjoint programmes with these majors, and I’ve never looked back.”
While she had many highlights throughout her studies, Maia says she particularly enjoyed the final two years of her studies.
“I liked the size of AUT, and after taking a few courses for my majors I began to see and work with the same group of people. Being able to make friendships outside of lectures and tutorials made the whole uni experience enjoyable. By my third and fourth year, I really enjoyed learning about what areas of HR interested me the most. I was able to narrow down my passions and interests, and began to see what careers were available.
“Towards the end of my degree, I took the courses Diversity at Work, taught by Dr Betty Ofe-Grant, and Risk Management, taught by Associate Professor Felicity Lamm. These proved to be my favourite and most rewarding courses. Diversity at Work helped me realise my passion for facilitating workshops and bringing social issues into a work setting. Risk Management opened up so many career opportunities within the risk space and led me to the job I’m in today.”
Supporting clients at Deloitte
Since completing her studies at AUT, Maia has now joined Deloitte New Zealand and enjoys working as a risk advisory consultant.
“I predominantly work in the health, safety and wellbeing team but am also involved in a variety of job types from strategic risk to internal audits. My job at its core is about supporting our clients across their risk maturity journey. This can be done through reviewing processes, interviewing staff and stakeholders, or working alongside our clients in an advisory role. The job is client facing so we’re always interviewing, setting up meetings and creating workshops to deliver our services.”
She loves the variety her role offers.
“We work with an amazing range of organisations including iwi, councils, government organisations, trusts, and private and NZX listed clients that vary in size and industry. The work I’m involved in has enabled me to grow professionally and increased my confidence in leading client interactions, and it’s great to develop so many important professional skills. It’s a fast-paced job that always offers new skills to learn and something new every day.”
Advice for other students
Maia, who graduated from AUT at the end of 2021, has some great advice for other students.
“My advice is to use the services AUT provides, whether that be Studiosity, peer mentors or even the office hours for your lecturers.”
Her other piece of advice is simple: focus on topics that interest you.
“When you have the flexibility with assignments to choose any industry or topic, always choose something that interests you. It enables you to see how you could apply your skills to the working world once you finish university.”