EIT Bachelor of Business Studies graduate Sheree Wereta (Ngāti Ruanui) is a prime example that not every success story follows a straight line. The 30-year-old had to carve her way through some switchbacks, but in the end it all came together.
Originally from Whakatane, Sheree started to study Tourism Management and Marketing at Waikato University. “Honestly, at that time I had no clear idea of what I wanted to do. Although I finished some papers, I got too caught up in social life. Eventually I understood that it wasn’t working for me.”
Sheree decided to move to Napier where her dad lived. She worked at the Napier Prison Tours, later at the MTG and the Municipal Theatre. In 2016, she and her partner welcomed her daughter, who will start school later this year.
While being a stay-at-home-mum, Sheree came to a crossroad. “I had this feeling that I needed to do something more stimulating, to get a qualification, to do something with my life. I met with the programme coordinator for the business degree at EIT and the fact that I was able to credit nine of the Waikato Uni papers towards the degree, gave me a real boost. It just felt right from the get-go.”
In the beginning, Sheree studied part-time. Once her daughter turned three, she switched to full-time. Sheree said that it was a huge balancing act and time management was challenging. “Assignments are usually due around the same time so I had to squeeze them all in at once. But the lecturers were willing to invest in me. I knew that for them I wasn’t just a number and that they wanted me to succeed.”
As part of her programme, Sheree did an internship within the Napier City Council marketing team. When a job in the marketing department came up she applied for it although she was still studying. She went through the interview process but decided with withdraw her application as she knew that it would have been a full-on job and she wasn’t ready to compromise on family time.”
The internship however, was still one of her highlights. “You can’t beat an internship, if you are 100 percent passionate about it and willing to fully apply yourself. If employers know you already they have more trust in taking you on.” She says that the importance of networking and building connections was something that was reaffirmed throughout her studies.
Looking back, Sheree says that she doesn’t regret the twists and turns in life. “Everything happens for a reason. And once I had changed my mind-set I worked really hard and pulled through.” At the moment, Sheree and her friends are fine-tuning a business plan. “To launch my own business is certainly the ultimate career goal,” she says.