Moving south to study took Sasha from strength to strength

09 May 2023 | News

The level of support offered to students at Lincoln was a major factor that first attracted 2023 graduate Sasha van Beek to New Zealand’s smallest university.

Set to receive her Bachelor of Agribusiness and Food Marketing (majoring in Supply Chain Management) on Friday 12 May, Sasha’s loving her new role in Procurement and Supply Chain at Southern Spars, which has her working on rigs for the upcoming America’s Cup.

And she’s adamant that the practical work component of her degree helped to kick off her career.

When reminiscing about the beginning of her time at university, she said it was a real change of pace to move from her beachside hometown of Tauranga to Lincoln.

"I loved the change of pace, though. Everything was far more relaxed and friendly."

Having explored a couple of different tertiary study options during her final year of high school, Sasha found the smaller size of Lincoln to be a significant strength. 

"The dean and head advisor of both of the degrees I was interested in made the effort to meet with me and discuss what my studies would look like. They even introduced me to some of their current students while we were on tour," she said.

It was this level of openness and willingness to support not only current students but prospective ones as well that set Lincoln apart. I wasn’t just a number, and this level of support followed me throughout university and even after finishing my degree, I still keep in contact with some of my key lecturers.

Now going from strength to strength in her career at Southern Spars, which is a world leader in the design and manufacture of carbon-fibre rigs for the yachting industry, Sasha said it was her passion for systems and efficiency that drew her to study agribusiness, food marketing and supply chain management.

"The food industry is a sector that in my opinion offers some of the most exciting opportunities for innovation in marketing, supply chain management and product development," she said.

"I really enjoyed my degree, as it perfectly combines the two areas of study that I wanted to focus on – the food industry and commerce – while providing hands-on experience through the practical work component.

"I can say with certainty that if it wasn’t for the practical work, I would have been far less prepared for the role I am in today. The practical work component of my degree truly helped me kick off my career.

"The past internships I held in order to complete my required papers not only provided me with work and industry experience that other graduates didn’t have, but gave me the practical and interpersonal skills to be confident in my abilities and impress employers.

"And because of the nature of Lincoln's course structure, and how they use industry connections to develop their course to suit the most needed skills in real time, I left Lincoln with all the knowledge I needed.

In terms of Lincoln highlights, Sasha was impressed with the university’s Food and Fibre Awards and Networking Dinner, conceived in 2022 and designed to introduce current students to future employers, as well as honour academic success.

"The event helped me to connect with so many industry professionals, even leading to some tours of potential workplaces after graduation," she said.

"It was also a fantastic way to celebrate our friends’ hard work and listen to upcoming business advocates talk about their experiences. It is something I would recommend to all students."

The 2023 Food and Fibre Awards and Networking Dinner takes place on 11 August.