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Former EIT Business Studies student says being recognised at graduation has given her confidence

April 30, 2024

Sophie Hughes graduated with a Bachelor of Business Studies (Marketing and Management) at EIT and won the Niki Hibberd Memorial Cup and BDO Award for Best All Round Bachelor of Business Studies Student.

Being recognised at the recent EIT Hawke’s Bay graduation earlier this year has given former business studies student Sophie Hughes confidence and pride in the hard work she has put in.

Sophie, who finished the Bachelor of Business Studies (Marketing and Management) at EIT last year, won the Niki Hibberd Memorial Cup and BDO Award for Best All Round Bachelor of Business Studies Student. She graduated at the EIT Hawke’s Bay graduation ceremony at the Napier Municipal Theatre recently.

“I am so grateful and honoured to be the recipient of the award. Thank you to BDO. It definitely came at a really perfect time. I just returned from Japan and was in between work, looking for my next role. It just gave me that moment to feel proud of my hard work and dedication and give me that confidence back.”

Graduating has been a bitter-sweet experience for Sophie because she enjoyed her time at EIT.

“I have loved my experience at EIT, not only my supportive lectures and peers, but also the courses and assignments, making it a bittersweet feeling finishing up my EIT journey. But it’s shown me I’m in the right space in marketing. I look forward to continuing that hard work and dedication into my next marketing role.”

Sophie attended Napier Girls’ High School and then did a gap year. Her first year at EIT in 2020 coincided with COVID-19, but rather than seeing this as a negative, she enjoyed the online learning experience.

“It was the perfect way for me to take the first step online without going into a classroom on the first day. It took away those nerves being online. I immediately knew I was in the right place. I was getting great grades and my teachers were awesome. I just felt that I belonged which meant a lot.

Not only was it the academic environment that worked for Sophie, but also the friends she has made.

“When I started at EIT I met an incredible circle of friends. They also shared a high level of dedication and passion to the degree. So then that increased my motivation. We were pushing each other. It was just the best experience being at EIT,” says Sophie, who completed her degree in July last year.

Sophie says that she chose EIT because it was local.

“I’m definitely someone that wanted to stay local, stay with family, and my friends are here.”

“I really loved the smaller classroom environment I just really built a lot of rapport with each lecturer. I think I was drawn to it because it felt more of like a relationship building, classroom style environment, almost similar to what you had in high school.”

It stands to reason that Sophie has no hesitation in recommending EIT as a place to study as not only has she achieved her degree there, but it has also given her opportunities.

One of these was her trip to Japan as a result of winning an Education New Zealand Prime Minister’s Scholarship award.

“I went to Tokyo, Japan on a Prime Minister’s Scholarship award for a six-week sales and marketing internship.”

“I worked at an e-commerce tech company and wrote and published informative articles that would be published onto the website and also created their brand guidelines. It was the most incredible experience.”

It was the trip of a lifetime.

“I was just like a sponge while I was there. I pushed my comfort zone, I opened my eyes up to global marketing, seeing how they’re doing things different.”

“Even being immersed in a different culture for the six weeks just boosts my confidence up a lot. It was just such an amazing experience.”

Heather Hallam, Managing Partner at BDO, said: “BDO Hawke’s Bay is delighted to extend our warmest congratulations to Sophie, the recipient of this year’s EIT BDO Award for the Best All-round Bachelor of Business Studies Student.”

“BDO Hawke’s Bay takes great pride in our partnership with EIT, and Sophie’s success reflects the high calibre of students it produces. We look forward to following Sophie’s career and wish her our continued success in all her future endeavours.”

Russell Booth, Senior Lecturer and Programme Co-ordinator – Business at EIT, said: “Sophie has in her own words ‘blossomed’ in the last few years and her confidence has grown immensely”.

“Her results show she is an exceptionally bright student, with A grades in all courses. However, Sophie knew this wasn’t going to be the only thing to get her noticed. The Prime Minister’s Scholarship certainly put Sophie out of her comfort zone but knew it was something to do to develop her confidence.

“Her career has just begun in an exciting role which epitomises everything Sophie has worked towards over the last four years and we wish her every success in her future.”