Tools of the trade

Despite New Zealand’s small size and geographical isolation, Master of International Trade student Hannah Jacobi thinks it can be a world leader in trade.

Hannah Jacobi with Wellington in the background

"We’re always going to be limited by our scale but there are so many New Zealanders who have shown leadership in international trade—from Helen Clark to Mike Moore and Alan Bollard, the Executive Director of APEC,” says Hannah. “Other countries look to us for our expertise and the knowledge we hold.”

Hannah is set to continue this tradition as she builds on her undergraduate studies in Law, French and International Relations.

After graduating from Victoria in 2016 with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts, Hannah worked for a year in the public sector before deciding to upskill. She says the strong focus on international trade was what attracted her to the course.

“There are a lot of Master’s courses out there in International Relations or Politics, but I was really keen on doing something that focused on trade given its importance to New Zealand.

“The Master of International Trade is the first degree in Australasia that’s solely focused on trade, so there was no question that I would study at Victoria.”

The taught Master’s is multidisciplinary and includes courses from Victoria Business School, the Faculty of Law and the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Hannah says she enjoys the variety of topics and guest speakers.

“We have different guest lecturers pretty much every week, so we’re challenged to think about trade from a lot of different angles.

“Also being in Wellington, with its proximity to government, is really exciting—it’s a hub for trade policy. In the course we’ve heard from people who are working in government as well as people from the private sector—which is something that you might not get elsewhere.”

She says a highlight of the course so far has been a lecture from Dr Maria Bargh, Head of School of Te Kawa a Māui/the School of Māori Studies, who spoke about trade from a Māori perspective.

Hannah is doing the Master’s part-time while working in a public sector trade policy role, and she values how the course accommodates her working life. “It’s really well suited to people who are working. The timetable is convenient and the fact that it’s a taught Master’s works well with doing it part-time.”

Despite current tensions in the global political climate, Hannah sees exciting opportunities for New Zealand’s future in trade.

“It’s definitely been an interesting year to be studying these issues. I think in New Zealand, we need to continue to show leadership in the Asia-Pacific region and be advocates for a rules-based trading system.”

Find out more about the Master of International Trade here.