Membership Administration Assistant, Designers Institute of New Zealand
Bachelor of Business in International Business and Strategy
Yuliang (Kate) Zhai chose to study at AUT because of its reputation as a young, innovative and practical university, and came to AUT as an international student from China to study international business and strategy.
“I wanted to study international business because I’m a bilingual and bicultural international student. New Zealand has a strong trading relationship with China, and my background helps me see things from a different perspective and work with people from different nationalities.
“AUT provided me with an opportunity to meet people from all over the world and explore my potential. The lecturers and staff were always friendly, supportive and helpful. It was easy to make friends as people are all very openminded. But one of the most important reasons why I liked AUT was that it provides students with the opportunity to gain workplace experience as part of their degree, working alongside business professionals.”
After completing her Bachelor of Business in International Business and Strategy in 2021, she now enjoys applying her understanding of international business in her role as a membership administration assistant, working alongside the CEO of the Designers Institute of New Zealand. This role built directly on Kate’s previous position as a client verification analyst at the Auckland branch of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
Kate has had a number of proud achievements while studying at AUT.
“I participated in two National Case Competitions to represent AUT, and our team placed second in the final round of the 2020 National Case Competition. I also enjoyed taking part in the AUT Shadow a Leader programme and shadowed two business leaders at Beca. I’m also proud of being named as one of the AUT Business School’s top scholars and have been invited to become a member of Beta Gamma Sigma.”
There was one lecturer who made a particularly strong impression on her.
“Dr Jonathan Baker played a big part in my university journey. I always enjoyed learning from him because he was such an interesting, open, kind, supportive and helpful lecturer. His classes were very engaging, and he provided many real business examples alongside the theories. He also helped me become more confident in expressing my ideas and opinions, and that was one of the reasons I joined the National Case Competition team.”
Joining the student ambassador family
Being able to support other students through her role as a student ambassador was another highlight of Kate’s time at AUT.
“Joining the student ambassador team was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. The team is like a big family – everyone is welcoming, and cooperates. It was fun. I was able to meet and make friends with many of my peers, and the experience also gave me a chance to give back to AUT as I appreciated the support I received when I was a new student. I’m glad that I could help other first-year students get ready for their university journey.
“Being a student ambassador also enabled me to join the ‘R U OK’ team, which was amazing. It showed that we cared about our students at AUT, and provided opportunities to talk with our peers and give students information about the available support services to help them through difficult times like exam periods.”
Her advice for other students is simple: get out your comfort zone.
“Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone – you may surprise yourself and learn that you actually have the capability to do different things.”