3rd-year student, Bachelor of Business in Management and Finance
Taking the time to travel the world helped her discover her passion for sustainability and inspired her to help businesses generate social impact, says Nea Steiner who came to AUT as an international student from Sweden to study a Bachelor of Business.
“After high school, I decided to not immediately go to university and instead travel the world and figure out my goals in life. After five years of travelling and over 60 countries later, I discovered my passion for sustainability and the impact businesses have, both good and bad, on societies and the environment. It quickly made me realise that I want to be a part of the change and transform large businesses from only thinking about profit to also generating social impact.
“Once COVID-19 hit and I could not travel any longer, I thought it was time to go to university and make my dad proud. A Bachelor of Business seemed like the perfect gateway to acquiring the knowledge and skills to achieve my goal of helping business become more sustainable.”
Deciding to come to AUT for her studies was easy.
“I had previously fallen in love with New Zealand due to its nature and friendly people. I chose AUT because I wanted to have great flexibility and choice throughout my degree. The workplace experience also really attracted me to AUT. Studying is important but you need to be able to apply what you’ve learnt in the workplace. To be able to gain that work experience while studying and being supported by the university was the final bonus that made me choose AUT.”
Making the most of university
She wouldn’t hesitate to recommend studying a Bachelor of Business, says Nea who will join Deloitte in Auckland as a financial performance consultant once she graduates and hopes to run her own sustainability consultancy in the future.
“The business degree is so broad and you can really make it what you want it to be. There is a range of majors and minors available that will make you stand out and be different. I’ve loved doing a double major and would recommend it to anyone. Becoming an expert in two different subjects is extremely attractive to employers and makes you stand out among all other graduates.
“I love learning, and being able to interact with the lecturers in smaller classes has been great. At AUT, you really get to know your professors, which enhances your learning. Many of my classes are bringing up current issues and using case studies from real-life companies you use in your normal daily life. This makes it a lot easier to transfer the skills and knowledge you learn at university into work, which ultimately has led me to have some great part-time jobs at insurance companies and a bank throughout my degree.”
Another thing she has particularly enjoyed are the extra activities and projects students can join at AUT.
“There are so many opportunities and whatever you’re interested in, you’ll find something that keeps you busy; whether it’s the Young Sustainable Leadership programme, strategy competitions, the CFA research challenge or joining the university outdoor club to go hiking somewhere in New Zealand. I’m also just finishing my AUT Edge Award, which is a great way to stand out to employers, and have attended multiple employability workshops throughout my degree. AUT’s Employability Lab is a great way to get help in becoming more employable.”
Advice for other students
Nea’s advice for other students is simple: follow your dreams.
“Don’t be afraid of being different or following your own dreams. While my dad was super excited that I was the first person in my family to study at a university, you can imagine his reaction when I told him it was going to be at a university on the other side of the world. But my friends and family have truly been the greatest support and while they might sometimes think my dreams are too big and very different from the norm, they will always support and be there for me. So, whatever you want to do, go ahead and do it.
“And don’t be afraid of being a mature student at university. While I was struggling in the beginning being a lot older, you’ll find people from all over the world, in a range of ages. Truly, age is just a number! A main reason why I’ve succeeded at university is because I took my time travelling and finding what I really wanted to do, and chose the correct degree for what I wanted. So don’t be afraid of taking a gap year or five like I did, and join university when you’re sure what you want to study.”
New Zealand is truly one of the most magical places in this world, she adds.
“Within a few hours from your home, you can climb mountains or volcanoes, relax on the rugged Westcoast beaches, explore rainforests or catch the waves in local beach towns. You have so much to do both in Auckland and a short ride away. While completing your degree, you’ll spend a lot of time with your nose in a book or writing assignments, so it’s important to enjoy the outdoors in your free time. New Zealand is the perfect place for that.”