Alumni regional coordinator Steve Bott talks about his experience at the University. He shares some choice memories and advice.
Tell us a little about your current job
I own a financial advice practice so split my time between management duties and acting as adviser for our clients.
What did you study?
International Business and Japanese.
Why did you choose your degree?
I was fascinated with the wider world and thought these courses might help me get out there and explore.
Where are you living and what are you doing?
I live in Brisbane with my wife and three kids. We are currently isolating due to the virus but still do leave the house for bike riding. My boys are working on their wheelie and jumping skills, and my daughter sits on the side and cheers them on.
What’s the current situation with COVID-19 in Brisbane?
Obviously not as bad as some places, but we still rely on the whole community pitching in and staying home unless necessary. Streets are eerily quiet most of the time and the shops are mostly closed.
What's your best tip for others who are working from home?
Set your computer as far away from the fridge as possible.
What do you enjoy most about working in your profession?
Helping clients navigate through the ever-changing financial system.
Biggest challenge for your industry?
Constant legal change.
Best piece of advice you’ve been given?
If you don't go after what you want, you'll never have it. If you don't ask, the answer is always no.
What was Wellington like when you were studying?
Cold and wet. I worked part time in the basement of Westpac and started at 5 am. Biking down the hill in the dark and rain in winter is an experience I'll never forget.
Any memorable lecturers?
Peter Zettinig was a relatively young (30s) 'cool' lecturer. I tutored in his courses and the entire teaching group had an end of year party at his house. Watching our PhD-qualified lecturer bike down the road on his daughter’s tricycle after a few beverages is something I'll never forget.
What do you wish you had known before applying for your first job?
Plan your career with an end goal in mind and work backwards from that. There's little point applying to work in a bank if you want to be a pilot. You'd be better off working in a hangar washing equipment, even if that means lower pay in the early years. It is easy to get stuck on a career trajectory that you don't want to be on, so make wise choices early on in your 20s. Seek guidance from as many people as you can, especially those in positions you want to be in.
Why did you take on the role of being an alumni coordinator helping to connect with the alumni community in your area?
Well I kind of just fell into it. There wasn't anybody here doing that role at the time and I just put up my hand and said I'll help out. I had been informally doing the same thing for the alumni group of the Australian university where I completed my MBA, so I was accustomed to the process.
What would someone be surprised to know about you?
I have a phobia of praying mantises. Can't go near them. My children found out about this and like to play games such as 'Hey Dad, guess what I have behind my back?', 'Hide the praying Mantis in Dad's shoe', or, the latest classic, 'Hide the praying mantis in Dad's bed'. But let's not forget the greatest game of all: 'Hey Dad, if you put $1 in my money box, I'll tell you where I hid the praying mantis'.
Find out more about our network of alumni who are working to grow connections for Victoria University of Wellington graduates around the globe.