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Graduand Sophie Gimblett spent some time overseas before returning to Otago to do her master's.

A Master of International Business degree has proven to be the perfect fit for one well-travelled, slightly unconventional graduand.

Sophie Gimblett completed her BCom at Otago, majoring in International Business and French in 2015 before she headed out into the world, spending time in Europe and Canada.

She had always liked the idea of doing a master’s but was uncertain in which area of business she would like to further develop her knowledge. She says seven years in the workforce helped her realise International Business is what she is “really passionate” about.

Sophie returned to Aotearoa New Zealand to start her masters, but due to personal reasons she needed to remain in Wānaka while she studied.

Staff at the business school were “extremely supportive and understanding” of her situation, she says, and she found everything she needed was readily accessible. She visited the Ōtepoti Dunedin campus once a month.

On top of this, she opted to do a few psychology papers through another institution and cross-credited them to her masters.

She says she was a “bit of a special case” but overall found her studying experience “really positive”.

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Sophie feels lucky she landed her "dream job" not long after she graduated with her undergrad degree.

Sophie has a long-held interest in people’s strategy in the workplace, and her thesis looked at strategies that build inclusion in multinational organisations operating in a hybrid working environment.

She doubts there are many businesses which “purely operate domestically” but says one thing which separates international business from domestic business is the level of complexity: “there’s a lot of moving parts”.

“International business is probably a more holistic way of looking at how businesses operate as you have to really consider different contexts business could be operating in.

“We’re so connected now, globally, I think it’s super important to understand how business can operate together internationally, but more importantly, how people can work together to form really strong relationships.”

The first time she graduated, she was lucky to land her dream job “pretty much straight out of uni”.

“My dream was to work for an international sporting event, I was really interested in events, interested in sports, so why not take it international,” she says.

She was part of the initial team that helped deliver Crankworx, the worlds largest mountain bike festival, to Rotorua for the first time in 2015. Involvement with the event also led her to Les Deux Alpes and Les Gets in France.

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Sophie hopes to head overseas again in March 2024.

After four years with Crankworx, and several years as the operations manager for a destination management company, she was ready for a change and went to London.

“By chance, I landed a job at a management consultancy, Korn Ferry, a big, American owned consultancy that specialises in executive search and management consulting.”

She started out as project coordinator before moving up to project manager.

“That really exposed me to some incredible clients and work experience, and that is what made me want to do my masters.”

Sophie really enjoyed doing her masters, saying having a few years’ work experience behind her meant she knew exactly what she wanted to get from it.

She is, however, relieved to be graduating.

“When you sign up to a masters it can be quite daunting. For me, the end goal was always to graduate, but it’s quite hard to imagine graduating when you’re in the thick of it.

“You definitely have proud moments as well because you’ve done things that have really challenged you, really pushed your way of thinking. You come out a better person.”

Sophie is working with researchers to publish her masters dissertation. She is also in the midst of applying for jobs in consultancy at companies in both the UK and the Netherlands and plans to leave Aotearoa in March.

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