EY Business Student of the Year 2017

03 May 2017
Business School Dean Professor Jayne Godfrey with EY Business Student of the Year Kanika Solanki.

Kanika Solanki was named EY Business Student of the Year 2017 after her speech about what businesses can do to make the world a better place.

Kanika, a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Arts conjoint student, was one of seven finalists who made a presentation to judges, staff, students and guests at an awards ceremony on Monday 1 May.

Challenged with speaking about her vision of how business will change the future, Kanika said the world’s leading companies are thriving yet the prosperity they generate is only being shared by a few.

“I did an Anthropology course that taught me about Ubuntu; an African belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity. Now is the time to sprinkle some Ubuntu upon business.

“Looking to the future, I see businesses playing a vital role in promoting the ideals of shared prosperity. This can be done through Inclusive Businesses that engage the base of the economic pyramid i.e. the most marginalised 40% of our society into their value chains.

“With the rise of socially aware consumers, businesses must become a more human version of themselves. To push them in this direction we need recognition. Recognition from governments, consumers and society as a whole.”

Kanika is due to graduate in 2018 with a BCom/BA in Finance, Economics and Statistics. She is the President of social enterprise 100Percent and is the co-founder of TEDx at the University of Auckland. Kanika is also involved in mentoring programmes and is a classical dancer.

She faced tough competition from finalists Ana Saulala, Sam Simpson, Daryn Govender, Emma Sun, Harry Seth, and Karen Sue (runner-up).

As well as taking home $1,000 in prize money, Kanika has the opportunity to have three one-on-one meetings with prominent New Zealand business leaders.

The judging panel was made up of Professor Jilnaught Wong (Business School Deputy Dean), Aaron Quintal (EY Tax Partner), John Judge (Chairman ANZ, Fletcher Building Director, Auckland Arts Festival Trust Chair) and Elizabeth Vincent (EY Busines Student of the Year 2015 winner).

The Business Student of the Year award is organised by the Business School Student Development and Engagement team.

Read more information about the EY Business Student of the Year Award.


  • Winner: Kanika Solanki
  • Runner Up: Karen Sue
  • Finalists: Ana Saulala, Sam Simpson, Daryn Govender, Emma Sun, Harry Seth