Business Development Manager, New Zealand Educational Tours - Tauranga
- Master of Education
Scott Henderson’s association with the University of Waikato has been ongoing for some years, both as student and employee. Beginning with an undergraduate degree in languages, followed by training as an ESOL teacher and working to that end for the university, Scott then headed overseas to travel and teach, before moving to Tauranga and completing his Masters.
Working now as Business Development Manager at New Zealand Educational Tours (NZET), Scott is able to combine his passion for international education and tourism. “I love getting out and about and meeting tourism industry professionals, passionate education managers and awesome, enthusiastic international students, but most of all taking them on what is often the best experience so far in their young lives.”
Scott says that his degree provided him with understanding and insights into research and decision-making processes, which cross over into many areas of business.
Along with the thrill involved in helping our international students make the most of their time in New Zealand, Scott and the NZET team must also meet the challenges of making sure that each and every student returns home safely and completely satisfied with their experience. Scott is proud of NZET’s outstanding reputation in the industry: “We are New Zealand’s number one youth tour operator, offering safe, high quality experiences with some learning and loads of fun!”
How did your study contribute towards the role that you are going now?
Doing my thesis around motivating factors of international students to continue their studies in New Zealand taught me four key things which I apply to my current role.
One: Never to assume what motivates someone to make a decision.
Two: Robust customer surveys will give you a solid foundation for your marketing.
Three: There are very different motivations between European and Asian students.
Four: The majority of decisions of future study plans were made before they arrived in New Zealand.
How did your time at Waikato change you?
My time at Waikato taught me academic rigor which can be applied in many aspects of my professional career. It has given me a much greater understanding of research processes, understanding different market segments and analysing statistics for marketing purposes.
What piece of advice would you give to anyone considering study at a post-grad level?
The best piece of advice I could offer to someone completing a large piece of research at the postgraduate level would be to choose a topic which firstly, you are passionate about. If you are passionate about finding the answer to your research question, then someone else will be equally as passionate about reading the results.
Secondly, if you are doing post-grad study for more than just ‘ticking the box’ for your current academic job, then choose an area which is commercially viable. I.e – your research will make you an expert in a field you actually have an interest in working in. I did my research around international student study intentions as I wanted to move from working with domestic students in education to international students and my studies helped me achieve this shift, now working in the Education Tourism sector.
What were the strengths of the course?
The flexibility of doing a mixture of part-time papers, a summer school block paper, and self-directed study helped me complete my Masters allowed me and continue working and supporting my family. The Research Methods paper is essential for giving you the skills and confidence to be able to complete a large research project.