Product Manager Consumer Deposits, Westpac New Zealand Limited
Bachelor of Business in Management and Business Information Systems
The opportunities are what he most enjoyed about his studies at AUT, says business alumnus Ronak Khatri who now works at Westpac New Zealand Limited.
“AUT opened doors for me that I didn’t even know existed. One such opportunity was being part of Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE), an international non-profit organisation. One of the events I helped organise and had the privilege of MC’ing was a speed interview session with business representatives from all around the community. I also enjoyed the workplace experience that is part of the business degree as it can help you get your foot in the door of an organisation of your choice.”
It was experiences like these that first convinced Ronak that AUT was the right university for him.
“AUT has a reputation for having an emphasis on practical education and equipping students with highly transferrable skills that prepare them for the ‘real world’. I consider myself a practical learner, so for me getting into AUT was my number one preference. My first real taste of this was when we were put into groups to come up with a product, marketing strategy and budgets for the AUT Market Day during my first year. I really enjoyed that experience.”
Making a positive difference for customers
After graduating from AUT in 2013, Ronak now works at Westpac New Zealand Limited and enjoys the variety his role offers.
“I’m part of a team of product managers who look after the consumer deposit/everyday banking product suite for the bank. In a nutshell, we look at strategy, innovation and product development to ensure we’re consistently delivering the best customer outcomes.
“I love that every day is different and brings about its own challenges. The scope of learning is endless, and working on initiatives that have a drastic impact on how our customers view us is something that truly drives me and makes the job very enjoyable.”
He is proud of the opportunities he has had throughout his career so far.
“Every opportunity in my career has taught me something and provided me with a different perspective. I’ve led and been part of some amazing teams at Westpac. But if I was to pick one thing that I’m most proud of, it would have to be becoming one of the youngest bank managers in the organisation at the age of 23. This was all thanks to the guidance and mentoring I received from my leader at the time.”
Advice for other students
Ronak’s advice for other students is simple: find a mentor.
“My advice is to grab every opportunity with both hands and find yourself a mentor you can connect with. The idea is not to have someone who is like you in every aspect, but to find someone who will challenge your thoughts and push you out of your comfort zone. Having the right mentor in life will open many doors and opportunities for you, then it’s up to you to act.”
Remember that your future job may not even exist yet, he adds.
“I remember having a conversation with one of my lecturers around what kind of job I should aim for after graduation and he said to me, ‘There is a very high likelihood that the job you’ll end up in hasn’t even been invented yet, so don’t narrow your thinking down to the jobs you see advertised in the market today’. I didn’t think much of it at the time but looking back now, four out of the nine roles I’ve had in my career so far were all newly created roles.”