But after studying for a little while, she realised marketing was a lot more suited to her, and so Nikki went on to major in PR/Advertising in her Bachelor of Media Arts from Wintec.
During her last year of study, Niki completed a short, unpaid internship at Village in Mt Maunganui, Tauranga, and happily for her, it lead to an account executive role and eighteen months later she is now an account manager in the marketing team.
On a daily basis, Niki is using a wide range of skills to fulfil the duties of her job, from time management to organisation and planning, professional communication with others, the ability to build and maintain good work relationships, problem solving, maintaining a positive attitude, providing excellent customer service – the list goes on. While she was prepared for all of this through her study, one of the biggest learning curves in the real world ended up being about money.
“In my course, we had to do many campaign-type projects where we had no real monetary limit to what we could recommend to the faux client – the sky was the limit. So working with real clients with set budgets has been an eye opener, especially when some budgets are small, with little flexibility.
“This is where problem-solving skills come in to play, and it’s actually quite fun coming up with the right solution for a particular client and their allocated spend.”
Aside from thinking creatively when it comes to money, Niki also likes working with her customers across a range of industries – which then means she gets to work on many different projects. Her favourite part of her job is the end of a project, especially the big ones, when everything comes together and the client is happy with the outcome.
For anyone considering marketing or public relations as their future career, Niki highly recommends doing an internship at an agency, or in-house, in the type of environment you think you’d like to eventually work in.
“I probably learnt more in three months at Village than I did during my whole degree, although University is definitely a good foundation for that knowledge. Doing an internship also allows you to make contacts in an industry where ‘who you know’ is important.”