Otago Polytechnic

Olga Rashchepkova gave up a great, well-paid job as a commercial lawyer in Russia to come to New Zealand and start a new life.

Having completed her master’s degree at Otago Polytechnic Auckland International Campus, she’s now a Portfolio Coordinator at the New Zealand Transport Agency and enjoying life in Auckland.

Olga’s first visit to New Zealand was in 2014 when she came to see a childhood friend who had already made the move here.

“I just fell in love with the country.”

However, relocating to New Zealand herself didn’t seem like an “achievable dream” for Olga, because she didn’t speak much English and didn’t know what she would do for work here.

She couldn’t stop thinking about the country, even a few months after she returned to Russia.

“I thought okay, I’m going to change my life, I’m going to try.”

Next, Olga quit her job, shocking her boss, and began studying English.

In February 2015 she moved to New Zealand where she continued studying English and worked in hospitality.

Olga said it was hard to find a job in a management position as an immigrant without local experience. She knew she needed a qualification from a respectable local institution to put on her CV.

She decided on a Master of Applied Management from OPAIC, which she began in April of 2017.

Olga says she liked the multinational approach of the polytechnic.

“It was a very healthy mix of different nationalities.”

The focus on group work in class helped prepare her for work, where you have to build and manage relationships with different colleagues.

During her degree, she discovered that project management was the area she wanted to pursue.

Olga says her project management tutor Lorraine Skelton was an inspiration and “opened a new universe” for her.

Olga got a good overview of the opportunities available in the project management space and realised it can be applied to any area from events management to construction to information technology.

She is now a Portfolio Coordinator at the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) delivering non-infrastructure projects. That includes IT projects, for example changing the software for driver licence computerised theory testing.

Olga loves life in Auckland, especially the friendly people and Kiwi values.

“We’re surrounded by water, you can go thirty minutes and use the beach, or you can go for a walk in your lunch time and see beautiful one million-dollar views.”


Published on 2 Feb 2021

Orderdate: 2 Feb 2021
Expiry: 2 Feb 2023