Auckland students win international scholarships

06 December 2011

Fourth year University of Auckland students Emily Chai and James Ruddell have become the first New Zealanders to win the prestigious Boston Consulting Group Undergraduate Scholarship.

They will each receive AUD$15,000 from global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group, which offers two annual scholarships to top students from Australia or New Zealand in their final year of study.

To be eligible for the scholarship, students must be in the top 5% of their class and display strong leadership, problem solving and communication skills.

Emily is studying Commerce and Arts at The University of Auckland, majoring in Economics, Political Studies and Mathematics, and will soon start working towards an honours degree in Economics. The former Epsom Girls Grammar School student says she always knew she wanted to pursue economics at university.

“My involvement with organisations such as World Vision has exposed me to the issue of global poverty, and economics is seen to be the foundational structure through which change can be most effectively made,” Emily says.

She also has a long-held interest in mathematics that led her to represent New Zealand at the International Mathematical Olympiad in 2007. Outside the classroom Emily is involved with UN Youth New Zealand, serving as Auckland president in 2010, and has represented the University at several international business case competitions.

“I one day hope to work in the field of development economics, advising on growth initiatives for under-developed regions of the world,” she says.

James went to Saint Kentigern College and is nearing the end of a conjoint Arts and Law degree. He has finished the Arts portion of his studies, majoring in Political Sciences and History, and has one year left studying Law.

“I’m fascinated by the way society functions and how people interact with one another so a degree in which law could be combined with politics and history seemed the natural choice,” says James, who has just completed an honours paper looking at whether companies should be able to sue their directors to recover fines imposed on them by regulators.

The keen musician has represented the University at business case competitions in Los Angeles and Singapore, giving a business twist to his conjoint degree, and has also competed in national and international debating competitions.

This year James was involved in the Law Students’ Association and the Equal Justice Project, which promotes equal access to justice in the Auckland region. He is also involved in SavY, a student-led organisation aimed at improving financial literacy among New Zealand youths, and will become CEO of the organisation in 2012.

“This Boston Consulting Group Undergraduate Scholarship will help me maintain my extra-curricular involvement in my final year and enable me to focus on growing SavY as an organisation,” he says.