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Nellie O'Donnell


Consultant - Risk and Advisory


Study Related Questions:

What did you study?

I studied a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) and a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biological Sciences (Genetics) at the University of Canterbury. 

Why did you choose this course?

I really enjoyed biology at high school so studying towards a science degree was a natural choice.  Initially I didn’t plan on studying law however I had a gap in my first year timetable so I picked up LAWS101 for “fun”.  I liked the course, made the cut for second year admission and decided to continue on with both degrees.   

What did you enjoy about your course?

I really enjoyed the diversity of learning that came with studying towards two quite different degrees.  On a normal day at Uni I would spend the morning in law lectures and the afternoon in a lab.  There was lots of variety so I never really got bored!

What helped you to successfully complete your course?

Friends!!  Uni is lots of fun but it’s not always going to be a walk in the park and it’s your friends that will binge eat chocolate with you at 2am the night before an assignment is due!

What advice do you have for future students?

Go out and make the most of your time at Uni!  While it is important to work hard and get good grades, you should remember that a lot of learning and personal development happens outside of the classroom.   

I would also recommend moving to a new city to study, or if you are staying in the same city, live in a hall of residence in your first year.  Living in a hall is such a great experience!  You’ll meet heaps of new people from all across the country and from a variety of backgrounds.  My closest friends today are the one I met during my time in a hall.

Finally, make sure you study something you enjoy.  If you don’t like what you are studying – change!  If you stick with something you don’t like, your time at uni is going drag, you’ll be unhappy and your grades probably aren’t going to be that flash either. 


Occupation Related Questions:

What is your job?

I am a Consultant in the Enterprise Risk Services team. 

What do you do on an average day?

There is no real average day in ERS as the work we do is so diverse.  However I’d say that each day the aim is to work with our clients to identify business risks and develop plans to mitigate and, if possible, eliminate those risks. 

What is the most exciting about your job?

The best part of my job is the interaction I get with clients.  The ERS team works onsite at the client’s premises which means that we get to work in a new environment and with a different group of people on a regular basis.    

What opportunities does your job offer?

Deloitte places a strong emphasis on training and development. At the moment, Deloitte is supporting me towards obtaining my PROFS through the College of Law.  Deloitte also has a wide variety of clients in both the public and private sector which allows me to develop me skills and knowledge in range of industries.  Finally, Deloitte is a global firm meaning that there is access to opportunities all around the world.  

What skills, training, education or past experiences helped you secure your job?

“Risk” is not something that can be taught in a classroom and so ERS hires graduates from a wide variety of backgrounds including accounting, banking, finance, marketing, law, information systems, science, computer science, maths and engineering.  You’ll need decent grades, excellent interpersonal skills, the ability to learn quickly and a good sense of humour!

Where do you see yourself heading in the future within this industry?

Right now I am just focusing on learning and gaining as much experience as possible.  In the future, like most young kiwis, a stint overseas is probably on the cards. 

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to work in the professional services industry?

Employers are looking for well-rounded graduates so it’s important that you work on the non-academic aspects of your CV.  Get involved with university clubs and sports teams, go on an exchange, volunteer, start a blog whatever!  Just do things that will make your CV from the rest.