31 October 2019

NZEA Winners: Where Are They Now?

Annabella Gamboni
Communications Advisor

New Zealand Excellence Award winners share what life is like after studying in New Zealand. Since its introduction in 2016, the New Zealand Excellence Awards (NZEA) programme has offered dozens of Indian students the opportunity to experience New Zealand’s transformational education system.

NZEA recipients can study their choice of subject, at either undergraduate or postgraduate level – from engineering and computer science to design.

Three NZEA alumni share what they are doing now after studying in New Zealand.

Samskar Palavarapu

University of Waikato Class of 2017: Postgraduate Diploma in Computer Science

Samskar Palavarapu first became fascinated by computers as a young boy. Now, he gets to work with them for a living.

Samskar is currently working in Wellington as a junior web developer for DataTorque, a New Zealand company that creates tax collection software for clients across the globe.

“I love my job. I enjoy working in such a fun environment surrounded by amazing people.”

The NZEA award removed the financial barriers Samskar faced when looking to study overseas. He also believes the inclusion of the scholarship on his CV made him stand out on the job market.

“Getting the award encouraged me to aim higher and chase bigger goals,” he says.

Samskar praises Waikato University for its advanced courses in computer science, which he says match current technological trends. He’s also a big advocate of the University’s extra-curricular activities.

Surya Shankar. An NZEA scholarship winner, who studied in New Zealand

Surya Shankar

Lincoln University Class of 2018: Graduate Diploma of Applied Sciences

Surya Shankar came to New Zealand with one goal: to kick off a career in food science.

He’s now in his first role having been employed by a New Zealand cooperative and giant of the global dairy industry.

Surya is working as a microbiology laboratory technician at a factory in South Canterbury. He describes it as a “boon” for his career.

Surya’s current responsibilities include testing cheese and butter for any bacterial nasties. Next month, he’ll be rotated to a different part of the lab to extend his skills.

Surya says that his course at Lincoln prepared him well for his new role. So too did the hands-on training, independent style of learning and links to industry that Lincoln offered.

Megha Sharma. An NZEA scholarship winner, who studied in New Zealand

Megha Sharma

Massey University Wellington Class of 2017: Master of Design

Megha Sharma says her New Zealand education played an essential part of her finding a place in her dream industry: fashion.

Megha works as a visual merchandiser in Auckland, designing and implementing the aesthetic of a retail shop. Before that (straight after graduation), she worked with a Wellington start-up as a sustainable design consultant.

“The role allows me to be creative and apply design thinking and customer experience methods,” she says.

Megha found her current job quickly. She says her qualification gave her an edge thanks to its practical style of learning.

In Megha’s view, Kiwi employers look for work experience alongside qualifications.

“Human skills, not just academic achievements.”

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About the contributors
Annabella Gamboni
Communications Advisor

Annabella Gamboni is a member of the communications team at Education New Zealand. At high school, she spent three months in Germany as an exchange student, and later, spent a semester at a UK university.