From BA to brewery

Risk it all—the advice to current students from Victoria alumnus Richard Shirtcliffe.

Richard Shirtcliffe, Victoria Alumni
Image supplied

Richard Shirtcliffe

Head boy at Tuatara Brewing

BA Well

What kind of work have you been doing since you graduated?

On the face of it, my career looks a little disjointed—sponsorship, event management, marketing, business development, strategy, brand strategy and a few start-ups. And now, running a brewery, which is pretty damn magic!

I’ve always been inspired by entrepreneurial pursuits and environments, so building businesses in New Zealand and taking them to the world was a natural fit. Also, the roles I’ve had along the way have helped me acquire key skills that give me a shot at doing that.

Describe your student experience at Victoria.

It was a hugely formative and fun time: all new friends, influences, socialising. Despite a learning mindset that’s made me curious and restless all my life, I didn’t really have a ‘love of learning’ at that stage in my life—that came later.

What was the most useful thing you learnt at Victoria?

At university you can be, think, act and speak as you wish (within the bounds of the law!) and you’ll find a place for you. All you must do is open your mind to that, and embracing it is hugely liberating.

What’s some advice you’d like to share with current Victoria students?

Risk it all! When you’re in your twenties, it’s the very best time in your life to take chances that are the fastest ways to build hugely valuable experiences and success. At that stage, if you fail you’ll learn plenty and lose little.

Also, approach life with a mindset that asks ‘what if it goes right?’ We’re constantly looking at the downside, but advances in humanity have rarely come from worrying about the downside.