Top scholars of 2018 celebrated

25 Mar, 2019
Top Scholars 2018 group

AUT's top Business School scholars of 2018 were honoured at the annual Top Scholars event on 14 March, with the top graduates being recognised for their outstanding achievements.

BEL Dean Kate Kearins congratulated the graduates, saying they epitomised AUT’s ideal of “great graduates”, being well-rounded, inquiring and agile thinkers possessing speciality knowledge, skills and a broad understanding of the challenges in our changing world.

“This was an elite group of roughly 20 of our top graduates out of 1000 in 2018. They stood out in terms of academic achievement, achieving our programmes’ learning goals at a very high level, understanding theory and practice, thinking and communicating well.”

“They’re a diverse group, and as people of diverse nationalities, ethnicities and orientations they bring new ideas and different perspectives to the table. The world is increasingly ready for that - ready to have more women at the board room table and for boards to be more representative of their constituencies in terms of gender and ethnic makeup.”

AUT alumni and guest speaker Mike Jenkins, a 2004 graduate and the CEO and founder of The Instillery (a leading New Zealand cloud service provider), says he was greatly impressed by this year’s graduates.

“I was blown away by the calibre of the youngsters this year. I loved the chance to connect, hear their unique journeys and was stoked to see such a diverse range of talent, far more so than when I graduated. And a number who are already making their mark on industries outside of university.”

After graduating from AUT, Mike worked across the globe including time with Logical, IBM and Cisco but his goal has always been to start his own business. The entrepreneurial ambition was lit back in 2003 when he attended a guest lecture by former Air New Zealand CEO Rob Fyfe while studying at AUT.

Mike’s message to the top scholar graduates was the importance of bravery; being prepared to take unconventional paths.

“New Zealand’s tall poppy syndrome tends to lead to the majority of graduates thinking with blinkers on. However, in 2019 with a buoyant economy entering a government department or significant listed enterprise are not the only options for New Zealand's top graduating talent.”

“Bravery is never easy but Aotearoa is full of opportunities to have an impact both here at home and on the global stage. There are lots of well-funded startups and incubators within enterprises and government departments who are also hungry for top talent.”

“So before you decide. Spread your wings… be brave, be bold and please, do not settle. You are the cream of the crop.”

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