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AUT business student tops 1000

AUT business student tops 1000

AUT University's top business student doesn't fit any of the scholarly stereotypes. Devon Nel came to university from the sixth form, he works more hours than he attends classes and he's AUT Business School's number one first-year student - out of more than 1000.

Tonight, Devon will accept the Scottish Pacific Business Finance Award for the Top Overall Student in the first year of the Bachelor of Business at the annual AUT Business School Awards ceremony, which celebrates excellence.

Devon says he feels proud to be receiving the award but acknowledges the hardest work is still to come.

"The most rewarding part of my first year business degree was finishing the year successfully," he says. "The most valuable aspect was the overall learning experience and understanding the true meaning of applied business thinking. That's what I'll take with me into second year, into my current job and when I graduate."

AUT's first year business programme is unique in New Zealand. First year students examine business case studies, including a real small business, by applying all academic disciplines from finance, accounting, and economics to management and marketing.

The programme emphasises professional business skills such as team work and communication skills, so students work in teams to create a small business and prepare group presentations. Devon acknowledges team work participation was the most challenging aspect of his first year.

"Learning to co-operate and work with others who have very different goals was difficult," he says. "This experience will no doubt be beneficial for the rest of my degree and in the workforce where working in groups to achieve a single outcome is standard business practice."

Devon says he came to AUT because he thought its facilities and teaching style would make an easy transition from school to university, which it did.

"I was attracted to AUT because of its modern facilities and small interactive classes using laptops," he says. "The new Business School building had been applauded in the paper which got my attention. And I thought learning interactively in a small classroom with lecturers that you can get to know would be helpful to my learning."

As for the future, after graduating, Devon says he'll face the decision between the lure of a stable, well-paying job, starting his own business or continuing with postgraduate study.

"Who knows what the future holds," he says. "Being my own boss and determining my business success through my own effort is my ultimate goal. I am driven by self-motivation to achieve. I want to be the best that I can in everything I do."

Tonight's AUT Business School Awards ceremony celebrates the success of 42 students and graduates who will receive 38 awards, including the Consortium Award for the Top Overall Bachelor of Business Graduate, the PricewaterhouseCoopers Award for Top Graduate in the Master of Professional Business Studies and the ASB Business Banking Award for the Top MBA Graduate.

The AUT Business School is a finalist in the 2008 Vero Excellence in Business Support Awards for its unique Bachelor of Business degree and postgraduate business programmes.


To find out more about the AUT Business School programmes, please go to: &


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