Olivia McKinnon

Olivia McKinnon

Final-year student, Bachelor of Arts in Event Management

She loves creating memorable experiences, says event management student Olivia McKinnon who is graduating in December and will start as an event manager for Global Games at the beginning of next year.

“My ultimate ambition is to promote and run events that give people a unique Kiwi experience in the most exciting and proficient way. I decided to study event management to help me fulfil this goal.”

The workplace experience in her final year was one of the highlights of Olivia’s studies.

“I was involved with the company Global Games, which runs the NZ Junior Rugby festivals in both Taupō and Queenstown. This gave me an amazing experience and confirmed where I want to head. I’ve also been fortunate to be offered a role with them after I graduate.”

Positive and supportive
One of the major highlights for Olivia was living at the Wellesley Street Apartments at the AUT City Campus.

“It was a great central location with a positive environment, and I made life-long friends from a variety of places, both domestically and internationally. Having a city experience with a community feel while having the opportunity to work and volunteer close by was perfect for me.”

Her biggest challenge was shifting from the Hawke’s Bay to Auckland, admits Olivia who received a Significant Student Scholarship to support her studies.

“The positive environment and the support from my lecturers helped me succeed in my degree and create strong connections. AUT has this strong community feel both in the student accommodation and across the university itself. It also offers a range of activities and events for new students to help break the ice and make students feel at ease.

“I was lucky enough to give back when I was selected to be a student tutor and could support others through their event management degrees.”

Advice for other students
Don’t be scared to give things a go, Olivia advises.

“Apply for all opportunities – the more experiences you have, the more powerful your CV becomes and that will give you an edge for your career in the event industry. Make sure you create strong connections with AUT students and staff, as New Zealand is a very small place and who knows, you may be working with some of them in the future.”

There’s plenty of support available if you need it, she adds.

“Make sure that you use all the support AUT offers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – this support network is available for your success.”