Nicole Davey

Strategic consultant at EY - Wellington

Key Info

  • Bachelor of Business
  • Certificate of University Preparation (CUP)
  • Strategic Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Waikato OE/CRCC Asia Travel Award
  • WMS International Exchange Scholarship

Can you tell us about your journey to university?

I genuinely believe that anyone is capable of succeeding at university. I left high school at 15 without completing NCEA and then managed my parents’ sports bar in Te Awamutu for four years.

At the age of 20, I decided to take the plunge back into study by completing a Certificate of University Preparation (CUP) course at Waikato. This was an invaluable experience as it introduced me to student life at Waikato and sparked my interest in studying business at a tertiary level.

What made you choose to study at Waikato?

I chose Waikato because I wanted to pursue a business career equipped with the right academic skills and tools to ensure I am capable of navigating through future challenges and uncertainties.

Waikato provides all the opportunities a student needs to confidently enter the workforce and add value to a business.

Waikato Management School is globally recognised – plus the lecturers are such good value.

What was your favourite subject and why?

I really enjoyed studying Strategic Management because you're able to transfer theory into real-world experiences.

Many of the cases we studied focused on how business practices impact sustainability and the planet. I’m really passionate about this topic, so I hope to embrace those values in my job for the betterment of society and the environment.

I was thrilled to reach the finals of the Waikato Management School Case Competition, which gives you the chance to create a strategy for a real-life company. It shows you what the business world is really like in terms of risks, challenges, managing team dynamics, and  how strategic objectives are vital. The Case Competition exposes your strengths, weaknesses, and what you’re capable of achieving if you set your mind to it.

What does a typical day at uni look like for you?

I spend most of my day on campus, because the atmosphere inspires me to work hard. I also served as Vice-President of the Waikato Management School Students' Association (WMSSA) in 2019, which was very rewarding.

On my weekends I like to head back to the Bay of Plenty to spend time with family.

What is your plan after finishing your degree?

I’ll be moving to Wellington and joining EY as a consultant in their advisory team, with a focus on strategy and performance improvement. Aligning my values with a company is really important to me – this is how I can make the best impact.

In the future I would love to work overseas and then start my own business one day. I’m hungry for new challenges to keep growing personally and professionally.

I truly believe that you shouldn’t be afraid to have big dreams - hard work and having faith in your abilities will open the door to so many great opportunities.

What was your experience of doing a work internship in Japan like?

During my degree, I successfully applied for a two-month internship in Tokyo, Japan, with an IT company called UpSwell Inc., which was looking to export technology products into the United States. It was exciting to get out of my comfort zone and learn more about the Japanese culture, economy and business practices.

My job was to build their e-commerce business model and website, source suppliers, retailers and distribution channels. I did a lot of research around US tax laws and customs regulations, so it was a really high-pressure work environment. Since then, their business has grown and they’ve offered me the opportunity to keep working for them remotely from New Zealand.

How have you changed as a person in your time at Waikato?

Studying at Waikato has developed my confidence in so many areas, which has added value to my life both in social situations and the workplace. My degree has also taught me to aim higher and frequently update my goals.

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