David Dai

David Dai

The future looks promising for David Dai, who landed a top role as a senior associate in property finance at the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ).

Partner - Business & Property Finance at Bank of New Zealand

Hamilton, New Zealand

University of Waikato Academic Merit School Leaver Scholarship recipient

David Dai

He gained this role while still completing his Bachelor of Management Studies degree at Waikato, majoring in Finance and Economics.

These kind of roles are normally reserved for only the best and brightest graduates after 12 months of intensive training.

The former Fraser High School student believes the practical applicability of his business degree is what gave him the competitive edge over hundreds of other students applying for coveted spots in BNZ’s graduate programme.

“BNZ puts a really big emphasis on people who have a unique offering. Luckily for me, Waikato Management School is the only business school in the country that gets third-year students competing in a Case Competition, where you’re challenged to formulate a business strategy for a real-life company," says David.

"I liked that it takes you out of the university mentality and gets you to think realistically, which proved to be a real advantage in helping me stand out against other applicants.”

David also applied his learning to a real business environment when he started a summer job at Ruakura Berry Shop, where he gained insight into small businesses and learnt the importance of customer service.

Knowing how to relate to customers came in handy when he was selected by BNZ Waikato to join its inaugural ‘Small Business Advisor Weekend Workforce’ team in 2017. David worked at BNZ on the weekends, responding to queries from small business owners.

“You can really appreciate the problems they have because they’re mums and dads with families to support. Their families rely on us helping them achieve their goals, which makes the job that much more meaningful.”

It’s David’s empathy and well-honed people skills that have made him a standout among his peers, and led to him being nominated for a BNZ employee award for leadership and performance.

“Most of all, it’s all based on character. If you are passionate and love supporting people, the rewards will come naturally.”

He firmly believes that he owes his success to the people he’s worked with over the years.

“I’m very lucky to have had the opportunities and support given to me by the team at Ruakura Berry Shop and BNZ Waikato’s SME and Partners Division. It’s humbling to have a team that’s like family, who guide, mentor, and inspire each other.”

David plans to continue in banking and finance, hoping to lead a successful and passionate team in the future.

David Dai

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