USP Alumni Network

Name: Metua Robert Vaiimene

Country : Cook Islands

Programme: Bachelor of Arts (2000) and Master of Business Administration 

Why did you choose your field of study
Economics and Accounting interested me in secondary school and so I chose those majors when doing my undergraduate degree in Fiji. 
Being back in the workforce in the Cook Islands for more than 6 years it seemed natural to pursue a Masters degree in business and the MBA programme was offered for the first time in the Cook Islands which meant I didnít need to leave my job and family to study.

Briefly reflect on your student life at USP?
As a regional student I enjoyed interacting with all the different cultures and religions of my fellow students from the Pacific and around the world.  At USP in Fiji I learnt to live a frugal life and make the most of what you have.  I wonít talk about all the socializing I did in Suva except to say that I really enjoyed it!
Greatest achievement[s] as a student
Graduating with an MBA
Surviving the on campus life in Suva
Career Highlights since Graduation
2010 Director of Destination Development, Cook Islands Tourism Corporation
2004 CEO for the Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Transport, and Youth and Sports
2003 Legal Rights Training Officer, Punanga Tauturu

Who/what do you credit your success to? What inspires you?
As my first teacher (who is also a teacher by profession) I credit my success to my mother Gill Vaiimene (nee Johnston) who inspires me every day.  Her selflessness, her perseverance with gentle patience inspires me to be a better person and a better citizen of the world.  She gave me the will to work hard, and sense to enjoy my life while doing it.

How do you think USP helped you in your career?
I would recommend a USP education purely for the relevance to the region and our individual countries, as well as the multi-cultural experience.  Much of what I learnt doing my BA and MBA is directly applicable to the various roles I have pursued in my life whether they are career roles, personal roles or community roles.  
I continue to enjoy the network of USP graduates within the Cook Islands and the region.  It is who you know in this world and it always helps to have fellow USP graduates who can relate to you (or who know you) whether that is in Government, in Business or in the Community.

Describe any challenges you faced to reach where you are today and how you overcame those challenges?
It was a challenge to continue studying to help progress my career.  USP allowed me to study at home which meant that I was able to gain new knowledge and develop new skills without leaving my employment and the support of my family and friends.  Thanks Rod Dixon (and others) of USP Cook Islands!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years (career and/or personal goals)?
Who knows what the next 10 years will bring.  I have personal goals of being able to support my parents in their twilight years, and living on my Dads home island but my career has and always will be dedicated to helping my people and serving my country in whatever capacity that may be.  There is a place and role for these kinds of people in society, and that is where I still want to be in 10 years and more.

What advice would you give to current and future students of USP?
The will to succeed is important, but it is the will to prepare to succeed, that will separate those who wish and dream, from those who make it happen.
Please share top three tips that you think are most important for our current students or recent graduates that will help them when starting out on their career paths.
1.    You more than likely will not be in the same job / career / field as when you start on your career, so donít be afraid to try something new or different and not strictly related to your field of study.
2.    You donít learn everything at school or university so be prepared to learn new things as you go.
3.    Love your work or learn to love it.  Passion makes work so much easier and rewards so much more satisfying.  And if you donít love it, leave!

What has your involvement been with the University since you graduated? (if any)
Our campus in the Cook Islands is connected in many ways to the community not just strictly educational.  There is always something that USP is doing that I am involved in.  More recently I have been able to represent the Tourism industry stakeholders in evaluating USP, its performance, and relevance to the Cook Islands.

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