New Project 36

Stella Dobbs

Stella works as an analyst at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise in Wellington.

New Project 36

Graduating from the University of Waikato for the second time isn’t the only thing Stella Dobbs will be celebrating on Friday. It’s also a pat on the back for managing a full-time master’s degree alongside a full-time job.

Stella works as an analyst at New Zealand Trade and Enterprise in Wellington, and until recently was also a Master of Digital Business (MDigiBus) student, who will graduate with first-class honours.

While juggling both came as a challenge - from coming home after a long day's work to spending the evening studying - Stella says this immersive experience also confirmed that she was studying something she enjoyed.

It helped that Stella’s master’s programme was fully online, allowing her to study from Wellington.

“I had to become very disciplined to ensure I was able to meet my commitments from both sides,” Stella says.

Stella will graduate on September 2, 2022, at the University of Waikato’s campus in Tauranga CBD, which is near her hometown of Katikati.

Her accomplishment comes four years after completing two other qualifications at Waikato; a Bachelor of Electronic Commerce majoring in Strategic Management and Human Resource Management; and a Graduate Diploma in Finance.

“The excellent experience I had studying at the Waikato Management School the first time around made it an easy decision to come back and complete my master’s degree.”

That decision was strongly influenced by Covid-19.

“I started to feel increasingly curious about how technology might go on to shape our business environment as a result of the pandemic.

“I was already seeing significant changes in my workplace at the time, and I was really interested to delve into this topic. The Master of Digital Business qualification looked to be a great way to do this, and the papers were relevant to what I was seeing in the workplace.

“It was normally very easy for me to relate ‘classroom’ discussions or concepts with real-world examples, which I think is a good sign of a highly applicable qualification.

“I think I really came to understand how important people are to business. Everyone is unique, so organisations that can best utilise and celebrate people’s differences are in a much better position to be able to adapt and innovate in a unique and efficient way.”

Stella’s favourite paper was DIGIB558 Contemporary Issues in Digital Business, which not only discussed different technologies but also encouraged students to use them in assignments.

“We took turns leading a seminar about a digital business topic of interest where we were encouraged to use technology to enhance the way we presented our seminars. It was great to learn from peers and have the opportunity to engage with numerous topics.”

Stella grew up on an orchard south of Katikati in the Bay of Plenty. She attended Katikati College before heading west to Hamilton to study at the University of Waikato.

“I loved my time at university and I really value the exposure I got to a range of topics and viewpoints. I think the small class sizes helped where lectures would often turn into discussions. This helped me develop critical thinking skills, and the opportunity to work with different people in group projects is experience I value.”

Stella also spent a semester at University of Strathclyde in Scotland in 2018 as part of the Study Abroad programme, which she describes as a highlight of her time at university.

New Project 36

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