Master of Business Administration student
Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Accounting student
She chose to study at AUT because of its emphasis on applied learning, says Selena Volodzskis who came to AUT as an international student from the USA.
“As a returning student, I’ve already experienced studying at uni and have many years’ working both in industry and as an entrepreneur. This time, I wanted a study opportunity which offered more than the traditional academic lectures and theoretical research assignments. As a newer migrant, I also recognised how valuable applied learning and industry experiences would be in my journey as I learned to navigate the Kiwi business environment.”
After initially enrolling in AUT’s professional accounting programme, Selena soon switched to the Master of Business Administration (MBA).
“While I still wanted to gain a qualification in an accounting and finance related area, the wider scope of the MBA was more appropriate to my multidisciplinary work experience and previous studies. Additionally, I wanted a way to be able to use and apply financial knowledge in a broader business context than only the financial reporting side. Through my MBA, I’m also working towards the chartered status diploma from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS).
“After my degree, I’m planning to become involved with a social enterprise in New Zealand, or an organisation that prioritises making a difference as much as making a profit. And, as an entrepreneur at heart, I also have some new business ideas that I’m exploring.”
Flexible and supportive
She has appreciated being able to balance her studies with the other demands of her life, Selena says.
“The biggest challenge I’ve faced was the intensity of studying full-time while still carrying on with everything else in life, such as having a family and a career. I also lost two loved ones during my time studying towards the MBA. The postgraduate staff have been very supportive through all of it. There were times when I thought I wouldn’t be able to carry on. They assured me that I could – and they were right!
“The MBA offered is very flexible as far as course timetabling goes. As most of us are working professionals, and many with families as well, AUT’s unique delivery format really gives you control over your academic life.”
For Selena, meeting fellow students from a diverse range of industries has been one of the most enjoyable aspects of studying at AUT.
“Some great friendships have arisen out of assignments and projects, with both students and lecturers alike. Having an opportunity to develop lasting relationships is so important in a small country like New Zealand.”
Making the most of the opportunities
As a newcomer to New Zealand, Selena wanted to learn as much as she could about doing business in New Zealand and took advantage of the employability workshops for AUT students.
“Even though some of the workshops were areas I already had experience in, I wanted to understand them from the New Zealand context.”
She also took the opportunity to participate in the AUT Edge Award and the Beyond AUT Award, which help students develop the skills employers are looking for.
“I decided to sign up for the AUT Edge Award, which focuses on soft skills and community involvement. As I was nearing the completion of the Edge Award, the Beyond AUT Award was rolled out specifically for postgraduate students and I may be one of the first students to complete the Beyond AUT Award.
“As a newcomer to New Zealand, I’ve learnt as much through these experiences as I have from my study programme. It has been very rewarding getting out there, meeting people from all walks of life and giving back to local communities.”