Since arriving in New Zealand in 2016, Navjot Singh has achieved a Graduate Diploma in Business, gained his New Zealand residency and landed a role at leading shower and tapware company, Methven. We talked to him about how he’s made the most of the past three years.
Back in 2010 in his hometown of New Delhi, India, Navjot and his group of friends decided to travel to New Zealand together and complete their MBAs. However, when he was offered a role at Business Process Management company EXL, Navjot’s friends ended up going on without him.
“I spent the next few years working at EXL in different operations functions such as Operations Management, Quality Management and Business Migration. I then moved to the UK for a similar role at Scottish Power for EXL, before deciding it was time to go back to my original plan and head to New Zealand to study.”
Navjot had heard good things about Unitec from his friends and decided to apply for the Graduate Diploma in Business, specialising in Operations Management. Luckily, his work experience could be credited towards his degree, and he started the level seven programme in March 2016. On top of dealing with a new country and culture, he found Unitec’s approach to study very different to what he was accustomed to in India.
“New Zealand, particularly Unitec, takes a much more practical view of study than we do in India. Unitec provided fantastic exposure to the industry, and I was able to apply what we were learning in real life scenarios. It was far more effective than the theory-based learning we have in India.
“The other main difference was the choice of subjects. Unitec didn’t require us to go down a pre-planned path, but instead offered a more diversified degree. For example, even though I was studying operations, I could still take some marketing papers. It gave me the perfect blend of subjects and, I believe, a more well-rounded education.”
Probably the biggest challenge for Navjot was finding his feet in a new country. However, he says Unitec’s lecturers and staff provided incredible support – not only in his educational development, but in his personal development too. He attended Unitec’s Professional Development workshops, which aim to prepare students for the workplace by building skills around communication, goal setting and selling themselves to potential employees.
“As someone new to the country, the Professional Development programme helped prepare me to head into the workforce. It armed me with a greater understanding of New Zealand culture, built up my confidence in terms of speaking and marketing myself, and allowed me to build up a network outside of my immediate class. The tutors also took us through some of the smaller things that can make a big difference in the workplace – such as how to prepare a resume.”
Through the course Navjot was one of six students selected to take part in something called the ‘Voice Challenge’ – an X-Factor-style competition where students are required to market themselves to a panel of judges.
“Being selected from more than 500 students for the Voice Challenge was pretty fantastic. It was a real challenge for me to ‘pitch myself’ in 60 seconds to an audience but it was so beneficial. In fact, it actually led to me getting a start-up internship at BNZ.”
Navjot worked at BNZ for two months before being put forward for another internship at innovative shower and tapware company, Methven – and he’s been there ever since.
“Today, my role at Methven is Sales and Operations Analyst. I work with the numbers and draw conclusions from them – which I love! It’s fascinating to me. I take care of forecasting for Methven’s three big markets, NZ, the UK and Australia, and look after their business improvement reporting. I’m also currently working on two additional projects on top of my day job.
“One thing I love about Methven is the fact I can continue studying as part of my role. Right now, for example, they’ve enrolled me in a certified Supply Chain Management course. For me it’s so important to keep learning, and Methven really value that too.”
Navjot has achieved a lot in the three years since he moved to New Zealand, and it’s something he attributes to dedication, determination and discipline.
“When I arrived in New Zealand I made the decision that my first and foremost priority was to study. I wanted the lecturers and tutors to see I was serious about my degree and my career. I didn’t miss lectures, I got my assignments in on time, I focused on building up a good network and being proactive about my learning. Unitec recognised that and opened so many doors for me.
“For me, Unitec will always have a special place in my heart. What they taught me through my degree was invaluable, but they also helped me settle in to New Zealand and get into the workplace. That then helped me secure my residency in New Zealand – something that was a huge milestone for me. I truly believe if you put in the hard work and take advantage of the support and guidance on offer, opportunities will come to you.”