Procurement Officer, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), Vientiane, Laos
Master of Business in Management
She would highly recommend the Master of Business, says Thanaphone Thongmanivong who came to AUT as an international student from Laos, supported by a Manaaki New Zealand Scholarship.
“The programme offers a perfect balance of theoretical foundations and hands-on learning experiences. In the Organisational Change course, for example, we delved into different frameworks of change and evaluated the success or failure of organisational change through real-life case studies. We also did an in-class negotiation for change, which gave us a taste of how change is initiated in practice.
“A lightbulb moment for me was the Management in the Not-for-Profit Sector course. Our lecturer, Dr Irene Ryan, raised the challenges the not-for-profit sector has encountered, and this sparked my passion for working for non-profit organisations. I wanted to blend the art of management with the delivery of public goods.”
After completing her Master of Business, Thanaphone fulfilled this goal and secured a role as a procurement associate at the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) in her home country Laos. After two years of dedicated service, she has recently been promoted to the role of procurement officer.
“In my current role, I manage a total of US$ 12 million worth of procurement processes to acquire design consulting services, construction works, medical equipment and capacity building programmes for the rehabilitation of a public hospital. What I like most about my job is that I can bring my business skills and expertise in procurement and supply management to benefit the public health sector in my country.”
Investigating entrepreneurial passion
For her Master of Business research, Thanaphone examined passion in the specific context of entrepreneurship.
“I conducted a systematic literature review on the neglected area of passion in entrepreneurship. In particular, I synthesised the previous academic findings, highlighted the research gaps, and proposed future research agenda to extend the body of literature in three aspects: the targets, causes and consequences of entrepreneurial passion.”
She also loved having the opportunity to share her work with other researchers in the field.
“Thanks to the support of my supervisors, Dr Roy Smollan and Dr Smita Singh, I was accepted to present my research at the 8th Aotearoa New Zealand Organisational Psychology and Organisational Behaviour Conference (ANZOPOB 2019). Being able to share my work with a diverse group of people including practitioners, academics and fellow scholars hasn’t only enhanced knowledge sharing but has also led to a wider discussion of the topic of entrepreneurial passion.”
Making the most of AUT
She thoroughly enjoyed her time at AUT, says Thanaphone who graduated in August 2020.
“What I enjoyed most at AUT was the fact that postgraduate programmes have small classes with round tables, rather than large lecture theatres where everyone is facing to the front. This set-up made it more comfortable to approach the lecturers and participate in group discussions. I also loved having access to AUT’s facilities and services, including the on-campus gym, medical centre and counselling services.”
Her advice to other students is simple: make the most of what AUT offers.
“AUT organises various workshops and events throughout the year, for instance the Creative Technologies Student Showcase, Cyber Smart Week, Getting to Carbon Zero, Rookie Fashion Show or Future Food Network events. So use this opportunity to explore what AUT has to offer, and enjoy these fun, extra-curricular activities while you’re on your academic journey.”