Ramesh Narsi -  USP Alumni Network

Ramesh Narsi

Name : Ramesh Narsi
Country : Fiji
Programme : Bachelor of Arts (1971)

Why did you choose your field of study? My area of interest was Commerce. In those days, the choice of courses that were being offered was very limited. In the area of Commerce, Economics was the only major being offered. I think Accountancy became available only after 1971.
Briefly reflect on your student life at USP Student life at USP was pampered. There were approximately 200 students living on campus, including students from member island nations. Dining facilities were well run with choices for Indian and vegetarian students. Rooms were cleaned and laundry washed and delivered to rooms. We really did not have to do anything in terms of chores or cleaning.
Greatest achievement as a student There wasn't much competition as there weren't too many students. I enjoyed the benefit of being on a CSR (now FSC) scholarship which provided us with employment with CSR during the long summer holidays. The greatest achievement was being amongst the first students to graduate with major in Economics with fellow student Jai Prakash Narayan.
Career highlights since graduation I was recruited by Citibank as an Executive Trainee and started work at their Suva branch in January 1972. In November 1972, I joined CSR and worked as Chief Clerk (in charge of Growers Affairs) in their Labasa, Rarawai and Lautoka mills. In February 1974  I joined (then) Peat Marwick Mitchell , Chartered Accountants in their Lautoka office in the position of Senior 1. I left Peats to study full time at the University of New South Wales in Sydney Australia. I graduated with a Master of Commerce in. 1977. I achieved this while working full time as an Assistant Accountant with a transport company called United Transport Services (UTS ). While at Peats in Fiji, we used to do the audit of their sister company United Touring which gave me a leg up for the job with UTS in Sydney.
I obtained my Certified Practising Accountant (CPA) accreditation in 1978. My employment with UTS continued until 1995. Subsequently, I worked for myself, mainly as a contractor working for many different companies, including Qantas with whom I did a contracting stint for almost twelve years. I retired in February 2012.
Who/what do you credit your success to. What inspires you? Success invariably comes with hard work, dedication and loyalty. Exceeding the expectations of employers and willingness to learn by way of ongoing professional development was a sure path to success. And success was necessary to adequately provide for family.
How do you think USP helped you in your career? In the early years, USP was staffed by renowned personnel, mainly from Australia and NZ. We were taught by professors despite being two or three students in the class. A lot of lectures were held in the Professorsí offices. One could not be absent as the class would have to be cancelled or rescheduled. This situation made us more determined and inspired us to do well. Prof L V Castle , seconded from Victoria University of Wellington, was the Head of the School for Economic Development,  Prof E K Fisk  came from the Australian National University in Canberra, Prof Crocombe from the East West Centre in Hawaii, Dr John Harre' from NZ and many more visiting professors from US and UK. Prof A.S Carrington, then Dean of the Faculty of Commerce of the University of New South Wales in Sydney was our external examiner in Economics. Having had these distinguished lecturers teach us, I think, was the catalyst in USP being well recognised as an institution of higher learning. With my personal case, I was granted exemption from four subjects from the Master of Commerce course I had enrolled in at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) because of the quality of education provided by USP.
Describe any challenges you face to reach where you are today and how you overcame those challenges? My first challenge was changing from a science to social/economics orientation starting in year one of the degree course. Economics (of which I did 13 units out of a total of 18 units for the whole degree)
came naturally to me. I made the decision to study for my masters degree full time whilst also working full time which was very demanding, especially due to being new to both environments. But hard work and moral support of my wife and brother eased the situation. Having had a job and local experience made it possible to apply for residency which I obtained in 1978. After that , it was persistence and loyalty that allowed me to progress and prosper throughout my working life.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years? I have effectively retired from paid work. Currently, I do voluntary work for non-profit organisation (Meals on Wheels) two half days per week working  in their accounts area.
What advice would you give to current and future students of USP? Make sure you complete your course. Try and choose a course which will give you most exposure to employment opportunities, even if you have to change courses half way through because you are still relatively young. Aim to get top grades as ordinary pass is not going to get you into the door as far as job interviews are concerned.
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.       Aim for high grades. Unfortunately, this is the first criterion used by employers to cull candidates for interviews. Pass grades will not lead you much further in your choice of career.
2.       A degree is good but not good enough. You need to then undertake further studies in your chosen area of particular interest to stay ahead of the pack. This may mean doing a higher degree, doing relevant short courses or undertaking professional development.
3.       Be prepared for some pain - of competition, being away from home and the need to adapt as the market dictates.
What has your involvement been with the University since you graduated
Limited involvement except irregular visits to campus to admire the place that gave me a start in life and the progress made by the University since its inception in 1968.
Any other information you would like to share
I would very much like to meet fellow alumni from my time at USP. Hopefully USP will consider bringing them together by facilitating such a gathering

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