Current employment: Agribusiness Manager, Westpac
School: Epsom Girls' Grammar School 2001-2005
Training institute: University of Auckland 2006-2007, Massey University 2008-2009
DairyNZ scholarship recipient: 2009
Kirsten, a Westpac Agribusiness Manager, was raised on a dairy farm near Waiuku. She went to boarding school at Epsom Girls’ Grammar School and then to The University of Auckland to study a conjoint commerce/science degree. “After two years I decided that I wanted to include agribusiness in my degree, so I enrolled at Massey University and shifted to Palmerston North. The decision was the right one for me because it opened up the whole agribusiness world of opportunities I would not have had if I had stayed in Auckland, where I was competing with thousands of other students for jobs. I have never regretted the change, even though it was scary at the time!”
Kirsten has been with Westpac in New Plymouth since graduating, and she loves her work as a rural banker. It allows her to use her excellent people skills and her knowledge from her studies, especially the agribusiness and rural valuation papers at Massey University. “Relationship skills are vital. To advise farmer clients requires good listening and communication skills, coupled with sound financial knowledge. I enjoy building rapport with my clients and working with them to manage their businesses, in both the good and not so good years.”
Half of Kirsten’s working week typically involves visiting her forty Central Taranaki farmer clients, ninety percent of whom are dairy farmers. The balance of her time is spent back at her office writing reports and analysing their accounts.