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Student and graduate profiles

Accounting and Finance offer great career options

Our students – past and present – talk about their time at Otago. Find out about the places a qualification in Accounting and Finance has taken them.

Paul Chong

BCom(Hons) Accounting

Winning the International Management Business Case Competition was a real thrill – we beat the best in the world.

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In 2004 Paul and his three teammates caused a coup in business education circles by winning the prestigious Program in International Management Business Case Competition in Atlanta, Georgia in the US. They were the first New Zealand team ever to enter the international competition. “I competed at regional, national and international business competitions over a period of two years”, he explains. “After our win in 2004, we travelled to the University of Western Ontario in Canada the following year to compete in another international business case competition.”

Paul was also named the University's Commerce Representative – a position which has seen him network with students, university staff and business executives. And somehow, he's still managed to work for accountancy firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers in his summer holidays.

"Business studies gives a really good career base. You do a bit of everything in a BCom. While I majored in Accounting I also took papers in management, economics, and information science." The different disciplines give you a really broad base - you learn the jargon from each area but you also learn how to apply the different disciplines to the real world.”

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Anna Fitzsimmons

The trading room I work in at ANZ is a fastpaced and collaborative workplace.

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The open-plan floor houses around 90 people, including traders, salespeople, economists and risk managers across interest rate, foreign exchange, equity, credit and commodity markets. Over recent years I have been a dealer in both the Foreign Exchange and the Debt Capital Markets. My current role in Debt Capital Markets involves trading commercial paper, selling corporate bonds and assisting origination of debt instruments. My clients include numerous NZX50 companies, councils, financial institutions and New Zealand’s largest fund managers. When the financial markets are volatile the job can be frantic and stressful, but this environment also encourages a culture of honesty and teamwork. Every day is unpredictable; I love working alongside likeminded ambitious people in New Zealand and across our 31 markets.

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Bradley Young

I’m very lucky with the role I have at Audit New Zealand.

Bradley Young

As an Audit Manager I get to work across a number of areas of the business and, as well as providing professional audit services to public entities, I get to mentor and coach staff. I’m also involved in the professional development of staff through our national PD programme, which involves providing training to staff around the country. It’s great working in an environment where there is a emphasis on developing staff to be top quality professionals. Working at Audit New Zealand and with the public sector has been a fantastic experience for me. I get to work with and meet people who are passionate about making a difference for New Zealanders. No day is ever the same!

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Carly Ross

As a graduate I’m thoroughly enjoying my time at Deloitte.

Carly Ross

As a tax consultant the majority of my work involves preparing tax returns, calculating provisional tax instalments and proposing recommendations in light of recent legislative changes. All of these aredone for a range of clients including large corporates, small to medium sized enterprises, individuals, sole traders and trusts. What I most enjoy about my role at Deloitte is the ability to engage technical accounting and research skills to specific situations to provide solutions for clients. Legislative changes ensure you continually develop and grow your technical skills and knowledge. I’ve had a great start to my career at Deloitte and look forward to developing further as a professional through training, studying and socialising in a firm which offers so many opportunities.

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Cory Pearson

Working in the Capital Markets team of Telecom, I work across Investor Relations, Treasury Dealings and Risk Financing.

Cory Pearson

My role involves analysing performance and market data, supporting foreign exchange dealings, and liaising with investors and analysts globally. Rapid business, technology and consumer changes mean that Telecom is always changing, presenting me with new challenges and opportunities that demand a wide commercial understanding. Perspective of global economics and finance is especially useful considering Telecom is listed on three stock exchanges and has investors from around the world. The Japanese component of the International Business degree gave me the opportunity to translate messages for Telecom payphones and other products for international consumers. I plan on continuing my Japanese skills in our worldwide investor presentations later this year.

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Danny Tu

I am an analytical person and really enjoy analysing and interpreting public health data to explore its true meaning so we can help improve people’s health and well-being.

Danny Tu

I am very lucky to be part of the Research and Evaluation Unit at the Health Sponsorship Council. “As a Data Analyst my key responsibilities involve complex data mining, statistical modelling, advanced computer programming, database management and data interpretation. The quantitative research skills and problem solving techniques I have gained through work have given me a solid foundation of knowledge in the public health sector. I love the variety in my job as I am able to apply different statistical techniques and methodologies to a wide range of public health research projects and no two days are the same.

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Jeremy Johnston

In my role at Air New Zealand, I get a fantastic high level view of how the airline and its IT systems and financial processes all tie together.

Jeremy Johnston

I lead a team of advisors who work with our varied business units to ensure business processes and systems mitigate risk, promote efficiency, reduce costs and prevent revenue leakage. “Air New Zealand is innovative and continually developing which means I get asked for advice on risks that might be introduced. Each job involves different systems and a new set of business processes to understand – no two jobs are the same. I could be at “the hub” (our head office) reviewing the Airpoints programme; at the airport looking at disrupt processes; assisting customers with kiosk check-in; or flying to Los Angeles or Fiji for a regional review!

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Kate Berlova

I work as an analyst for BNZ, Institutional Banking division.

Kate Berlova

I’m part of the Energy, Utilities and Infrastructure team that maintains relationships with large corporate organisations in the energy and utilities industry, as well as major telecommunication companies. Our clients include companies such as Meridian Energy, Contact Energy, Vector Ltd, Transpower, Vodafone, Telecom and 2 Degrees. I perform extensive analysis of their financial position and assess their ability to borrow funds – obtaining a lot of confidential information from companies. I am also involved in structuring transactions in order to assist customers’ hedging strategies and other major projects. The job is challenging and requires a lot of commitment, but having a great team of people to work with and having flexible working hours makes it very interesting and fun.

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Michael Milne

As an Investment Adviser at Craigs Investment Partners I get to advise a variety of clients on a full range of investment options both domestically and internationally.

Michael Milne

I love the fact that I’m not just stuck behind a desk all day. I spend a lot of time talking to clients, getting to know their personal situation in order to provide tailored recommendations that are appropriate to them. That’s of course when I’m not addressing the nation via the TV1 business news. “The broking industry is very dynamic and you need to have your finger on the pulse at all times. Market conditions can change in a heartbeat and you need to be able to adjust your strategy for clients accordingly. I love the buzz when there is a small window of opportunity to do a deal and you can deliver a great return to the client.

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Rebecca Polson

I never expected to pursue a career in accounting, but I’m thoroughly enjoying my time in KPMG’s audit division.

Rebecca Polson

As an auditor I spend a lot of time out of the office working on-site with various clients in the energy, pharmaceuticals and financial services sectors. A typical audit consists of an audit team visiting a client to verify its financial information and the integrity of its financial
records. We test significant accounts, such as inventory for a manufacturing client, often checking the client’s records such as invoices and bank statements to determine if the accounts are truly presented in the financial statements. I’ve worked with some of NZ’s biggest companies, and I love working, socialising and studying with a group of other accounting graduates as we endeavour to become Chartered Accountants. I’m excited about opportunities as an audit senior in KPMG Wellington and offices overseas.

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Thomas Benington

In my second year at Otago I secured a place on the WHK bursary programme.

Thomas Benington

This offered me a scholarship plus holiday work which meant that when I started full-time in the business advisory group after my graduation I already felt part of the team. Most of my work entails helping small businesses organise their accounts so they can track their performance, and meet their tax obligations. I use this information to offer suggestions to clients about how they might improve their future results. “I enjoy doing accounts for local owner – operated businesses because you get to know the clients and it feels like you are making a real difference. At this stage I’m still working through my professional studies – I have already been lucky enough to go to training in Sydney, and there is regular professional development here.