Olivia McKinnon

Olivia McKinnon

Event Manager, Global Games / Sports Coordinator, Iona College, Havelock North
Bachelor of Arts in Event Management

She loves creating memorable experiences, says event management alumna Olivia McKinnon who graduated in December 2018 and now splits her time between her roles as an event manager for Global Games and as a sports coordinator at Iona College, Havelock North.

“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 at AUT 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 wanted to head. I’ve also been fortunate to continue to work for them after graduating from AUT.

“I feel honoured to now be such a big part of the international sporting tournament that encourages participation and fair play. I contribute to the delivery of memorable, world-class events for youth and positive, safe and uplifting experiences for all.”

Positive and supportive
For Olivia, one of the major highlights of her time at AUT 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.”

Website search