Sophie Dempster started her journey at Otago studying Management and Marketing, but as she got to know the staff and talk to them about her passions the idea of her majoring in Human Resource Management (HRM) became apparent.
“HRM stood out to me as it brought together all of my passions – organisational development, strategy and a want to work with people.
“While taking a year out to complete an internship I got the opportunity to do some work in HR as well as join HRINZ.”
Sophie believes that Otago’s strong sense of community sets it apart from other universities.
“The community at Otago cannot be beaten. Not just the strong student community, but the supportive community of staff. By the time I reached my final year of study, I had a reliable support network of academics and mentors that I could truly rely on for help and guidance. All of my lecturers had time put aside each week when I was able to pop in to follow up on something that didn’t quite click in class or further question an assignment, and it was these conversations that made a difference in my learning and my engagement in my course.”
This sense of community is also reflected in Otago’s physical environment and Sophie’s experience of the refurbished Business School.
“I enjoyed the people and the beautiful new Business School. After spending four years in the same building with the same people you get to a stage where you can join anyone at their table for lunch or sit beside anyone in a lecture and feel comfortable, and I think that’s something that’s pretty special to the Otago Business School. By creating such a warm, modern and inviting space they have really brought everyone together.”
On venturing out into the world of work, Sophie thinks that having the University of Otago on her CV helped hugely. By the time she had finished her final year exams she had secured a dream position, as an HR advisor at one of New Zealand’s largest construction companies, and was able to start at the begging of the following year.
“I get to be involved with a huge range of activities across the business, such as recruitment, engagement initiatives, on-boarding, investigations, disciplinaries, writing contracts, payroll changes and change processes.”
Sophie believes that deciding to major in HRM at the University of Otago was the best decision she’s ever made, and that she wouldn’t be in the position she finds herself today without her Otago degree.
“The reputation of Otago and especially the Business School helps employers gain an understanding of the grad that they will be employing. Employers know the high standards that are held by the Business School and know that anyone that has completed a degree through it can be trusted to have not just theoretical but practical knowledge that they are ready to apply to the workplace.”