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Waikato Management School
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Student Investigations

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Hundreds of firms and organisations all over the Waikato and throughout New Zealand have benefited from a Waikato Management School practical student project.

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Student Investigation Stories

  • Kate McGowan
  • Aimee Higgins
  • Alice Clements
  • Ben Kelleher

Kate McGowan

Qualification: Bachelor of Communication Studies, Public relations and Management Communication
Job: Promotions and Events Manager at ZM radio - Auckland
The Rural Bachelor of the Year Competition, now a major event at Mystery Creek Fieldays, was my creation.

My first job after graduating was at Mystery Creek Events Centre and I got to manage a number of national events, competitions and promotions.

I’d learned during my study not to be afraid about sharing ideas, no matter how crazy they may sound at first. The rural bachelor competition is now a national event that gets massive media attention. The Spanner Man of the Year is now a fixture at the National Motor Show and that was my idea too. Young, creative enthusiastic minds are an asset to even the most successful and established companies.

It was the mix of sound management skills and creative thinking that attracted me to the BCS. It helped, too, that I was Waikato born and bred and that many of my family and friends had scored jobs in the media after studying at Waikato.

Now I’m working in radio and love its fast pace and energy. It’s hard work but great fun - a bit like university really.

Aimee Higgins

Qualification: Bachelor of Tourism
Job: Human Resource Co-ordinator, Cable Beach Club, Broome
When Aimee Higgins started studying her Bachelor of Tourism at Waikato Management School she never thought she’d end up working in one of Western Australia’s leading resorts.

“I’m living and working in paradise,” she says.

Aimee is Human Resource Co-ordinator at the award winning Cable Beach Club Resort in Broome, looking after the well-being of nearly 300 staff. She’s involved with staff recruitment and selection, day-to-day staffing issues, payroll, contracts and job advertising.

Aimee also has Europe in her sights; however, she insists she will return to New Zealand. “One day, I’d like to set up my own business; maybe a classy backpackers or bed and breakfast in the Coromandel or Gisborne.”

Alice Clements

Award-winning management communication graduate Alice Clements is nothing if not flexible.

Since graduating in 2001, she’s turned her hand to researching and writing a 100,000 word book on the history of Auckland airport, lecturing in PR and communication at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, and now to marketing condoms.

Her career path has won her the 2008 Ted Zorn Alumni award for management communication graduates who are excelling in their profession.

Vixen condoms are a fundraiser for the Melbourne-based sexual health charity Marie Stopes International Australia, where Clements has just taken up a job as PR and marketing manager, handling everything from advocacy issues to condom sales. “Our research established a need for a brand of condoms that women felt comfortable buying and carrying,” she explains.

Produced in partnership with feminine hygiene company Cottons, the condoms come packaged in a discreet tin without the lurid or overtly masculine packaging of most condom packs. One dollar of the purchase price goes to help fund Marie Stopes programmes in ten Asia-Pacific countries including Indigenous Australia.

“Vixen condoms are selling really well in Australia, and we’re now looking to expand into the UK and New Zealand,” says Clements. Product line extensions are also in the pipeline. “Really it’s the extension of ethical shopping through to the bedroom.”

It’s not Clements’ first foray into the sexual health arena. Her masters thesis, entitled ‘Let’s Talk (Discreetly) About Sex’, involved working with web design students in Vietnam to research and develop an online sex education website for young Vietnamese.

Her corporate experience has been a little less racy. After graduating in the first-ever intake for Waikato’s Bachelor of Communication Studies, Clements spent three years working for an Auckland PR agency where she ultimately ended up as account director for the firm’s mainly light industrial clients (and along the way wrote a book on the history of Auckland airport). She then had a stint at Auckland City Council working on public transport issues.

“Midway through the BCS I realised that my passion for social issues could translate to a career in the not-for-profit world but I decided to get experience in the corporate sector and then move to the not-for-profit sector. It’s not the way people normally do it, but it worked for me.”

After completing her masters at RMIT in Melbourne, she lectured there for two years before deciding to make the move to Marie Stopes.

“I absolutely adored teaching, but it can take over your life,” she says, “I wanted to get back to PR practice – and make sure I could still do what I’d been teaching. And it’s amazing to work with people who are literally saving lives.”

Ben Kelleher

Qualification: Master of Management Studies
Job: Investment Banker, JP Morgan Chase, Sydney

As part of his training with JP Morgan Chase, Ben worked on Wall St for two months – rubbing shoulders daily with hot-shot traders and bankers.

“On Wall St,” says Ben, “I was up against people with degrees from Cambridge, Princeton, Cornell … the best universities in the world. From what I saw, I think the base that I got from Waikato Management School was as good as what anyone had from any of those universities,” says Ben.

Ben graduated in 2000 with a BMS (Hons) in finance and economics. He went on to complete an MMS. He was recognised by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Rt Hon Helen Clark, for the outstanding study he did, as part of his degree, on the contribution that older people make to New Zealand.

“By the time I finished at Waikato Management School, I was very well prepared to get into the workplace,” says Ben. He joined JP Morgan Chase in Sydney, where he works on major investment banking projects. “It’s a great job that I have now,” says Ben.

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