Studies at Waikato paved the way to an IT career for international student

2 August 2021

Bachelor of Design graduate Emily Nguyen has her dream job working as an analyst developer in Wellington.

As a high-schooler in Hanoi, Vietnam, Emily Nguyen excelled in her studies and enjoyed being part of the technology club and school magazine and yearbook committees.

Fast forward a few years, and the 21-year-old is now a University of Waikato Bachelor of Design graduate and working as an analyst developer for FNZ, a wealth management platform service in Wellington.

Emily came to the University in 2018 as a recipient of a full-fees international student scholarship, the result of a partnership between the University and her high school, Vinschool High School. The scholarship is awarded to high-achieving students, and Emily was her school’s recipient after placing first at the end of her final year, based on academic merit and extracurricular activities.

She was stoked to receive the scholarship; she had heard great things about the University from many people.

“I was also excited because Waikato had the majors I wanted to study, interface design and computer science, and I liked that I could double major in both instead of having to choose just one.”

Emily was thrilled that her studies aligned exactly with what she wanted to learn, and the type of career she wanted to pursue.

“Because I had been interested in design and technology at high school, I thought I would do well with the degree and majors I had chosen,” she says.

“In particular, I really liked my labs and studios. That practical part of studying really helped me get a better understanding of the lecture materials. I can honestly say each of my papers and lecturers contributed to creating a positive learning experience for me.”

Emily lived close to campus during her studies, about a 20-minute walk, and she says the campus atmosphere and social life were some of her favourite memories of studying.

“I was basically on campus the whole time I was studying. I made great friends and took part in clubs and roles within the University, such as the Waikato International Students’ Association and as an International Student Ambassador.”

She also worked part-time in hospitality and customer services, and as a sessional assistant at the University. She also completed an internship at the end of her second year at her now-workplace, FNZ, which helped lead to her current role.

Emily secured her internship through Summer of Tech, a paid internship programme for IT students in New Zealand. She was then offered a role after graduating, and she now works full-time alongside other developers, testers and business analysts to deliver financial web applications for a variety of clients.

“I’m confident that what I learnt at university has prepared me well for my job,” says Emily. “Plus, I love living in Wellington – it’s such a cool place. I do miss the vibrant life at uni but I’m learning so much where I am.”

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