University of Waikato graduate Stuart Barrass is working with some of Europe’s most innovative companies. He’s a management consultant for Ernst & Young (EY) based at their global headquarters in London.
The companies Stuart works for are so high-profile, he wasn’t allowed to name them – company policy – but he did say they were companies listed on the Financial Times Stock Exchange 100 Index.
In his role, Stuart helps clients find ways to use or adapt to new technologies. He’s also involved in the EY Startup Challenge, an initiative that gives Europe’s latest and greatest start-ups an opportunity to test their innovations on clients.
“I actually learn something new every day,” says Stuart. “I have many different roles and responsibilities and get to work at the forefront of the European start-up scene.”
EY’s headquarters are in central London but Stuart spends most of his time in Shoreditch, an area in London commonly referred to as UK’s Silicon Valley.
“London is a fantastic place to live,” says Stuart. “There’s always something happening and events here draw the world’s best leaders, academics and entrepreneurs.”
Stuart says the recruitment process to land his big break wasn’t easy. He had to go through several interviews and assessments in New Zealand and London.
“Going into the final interview I expected to be grilled over the current global economy and the latest business trends but that’s not what happened,” says Stuart.
Stuart says his time at university helped him land this job.
The former Palmerston North Boys’ High School student completed a Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours and Graduate Diploma in Japanese at Waikato.
During his studies, he went on a university exchange at Kansai Gaidai University, to enhance his Japanese language skills and learn more about the culture and society in Japan.
He also won several scholarships including the Golden key International Scholarship and Asia Foundation New Zealand Japan Scholarship, and was involved in student clubs such as Enactus, debating and the investment club.
“This is where I learned a lot about public speaking, fundraising and social enterprise. In my second year I was lucky enough to go to the Enactus World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia,” he says.
His key piece of advice?
“Think far ahead about where you want to be. Learn how others made it there and make plans. It takes a lot of effort and planning to get your dream job.”