From e-commerce giants streamlining global supply chains to startups disrupting traditional brick-and-mortar shops, the power of digitalising businesses is evident. Such transformations are taking place in organisations of all sizes and industries. Leading this change, however, will take more than just purchases of the latest cutting-edge tools. It’s also about empowering executives to step up as future leaders who can bridge the gap between technology and business objectives.
The Eastern Institute of Technology Te Pūkenga (EIT) is home to Digital Business Postgraduate Programmes addressing this demand head-on. The suite of postgraduate programmes includes the Master of Digital Business (MDigiBus), the Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Business (PGDipDigiBus) and the Postgraduate Certificate in Digital Business (PGCertDigiBus).
Tailored for individuals with a bachelor’s degree in Information Technology or Business, these programmes offer a management perspective on contemporary, emerging technologies. “Industry has been involved right from the time we started developing these courses,” says Cherie Freeman, MDigiBus Programme Director.
“We roped in our students — before coming to us, many of them had experience with digital business at big multinational companies throughout the world. EIT also employed industry experts to come aboard and support us, as well as academic staff and educational experts. We felt it was really important for them to help us determine what our students needed to learn in order to succeed.”
Indeed, staying ahead requires insights forged in the crucible of real-world experience. For example, Dr. Farhad Mehdipour, a part-time postgraduate lecturer at EIT, boasts over 23 years of industry experience. He navigates students through the complexities of Quantitative Methods and Contemporary Tools, as well as Data Analytics and Visualisation.
“These courses allow students to learn theoretical and practical skills for handling, interpreting, and analysing data in various forms,” he says. “For example, they work on a real-world project which requires a data-driven solution to analyse data and gain actionable insights. The skills they acquire through such exposure are very needed and applicable to any industry domain. Many businesses require digital solutions to enhance their efficiency and productivity and reduce costs.”
EIT often hosts distinguished guest speakers, such as the Chief Digital Officer from PwC who recently shared firsthand knowledge of implementing a successful digital marketing strategy. It has organised site visits to Spark’s 5G telco innovation lab, showing students the inner workings of a live work environment. The institution actively taps into its alumni network, too. Through interactive forums, graduates share achievements and insights gained from their high-level roles within the digital business ecosystem.
“It is important to note our local business community is very supportive in nurturing the next generation of talent,” says Brendon Hickey, Industry Partnerships Manager. EIT is a corporate partner of IT Professionals, New Zealand’s leading national association, and a member of the Auckland Business Chamber, Sustainable Business Network, Game Developers Association and the AI Forum, among others.
Apart from forging mutually beneficial relationships with carefully identified potential partners, Hickey plays a key role in facilitating digital business placements. So far, students have worked with high-profile, reputable employers across New Zealand, such as Air New Zealand, the international Sudima Hotels chain and sustainability-focused digital businesses like Likewise.
“These opportunities often lead to permanent roles and increased offers of placements for other students, based on the performance and contribution of their predecessors,” says Hickey. “Right now, I am receiving weekly updates from a major event management company providing short-term internships for current MDigiBus students.”
Another key focus area for Hickey is employment support for international students. Approximately 99% of EIT graduates opt to work in New Zealand once they graduate. Hickey’s comprehensive Employment in New Zealand programme seeks to help them realise this goal.
“The programme enables students to gain essential insights into workforce dynamics, including domestic recruitment processes, organisational cultural practices and behaviours, and employer expectations,” he explains. “Being able to effectively, confidently engage with local employers is a big part of achieving success, and I focus on unlocking students’ potential while highlighting their credentials.”
Keen guidance makes this possible. Hickey works with his students on an individual basis to ensure they navigate their job search effectively and embark on professional development journeys that resonate with their aspirations. Such approaches are typical at EIT. The institution understands the path to professional success requires guidance, encouragement, and a network of support.
Apart from ensuring the smooth operations of the EIT Auckland’s campus, Freeman focuses on nurturing an inclusive atmosphere where students feel valued, heard, and empowered. “We’re an international campus, so I make it a point to understand the cultural differences and provide the support and resources required for students to have a quality learning experience,” she says.
In fact, support is offered the moment students enrol. They are immediately introduced to student life in New Zealand through access to an online course with many recordings and materials. Once on campus, they are paired with mentors who have traversed the same paths. These mentors act as a crucial bridge between students and faculty, ensuring EIT remains attuned to the evolving needs of each student — local or international.
An International Support Officer is reserved for the latter. From housing queries to workload concerns and even addressing homesickness, this on-the-ground support is proof of EIT’s commitment to the overall well-being of its students. To find out what else makes it the perfect place to pursue cutting-edge topics, click here.