Matt Woolley

Taking part in the Summer Research Scholarship programme opened VBS alumni Matt Wooley’s eyes to the challenge of working in tax policy.

VBS alumni Matt Woolley
Matt Woolley, assistant policy analyst working to transform NZ's tax system

After graduating with a Bachelor of Law (LLB), and a Bachelor of Commerce(BCom) majoring in Accounting, taking part in Victoria University’s Summer Research Scholarship programme opened Matt Woolley's eyes to the challenge of working in tax policy and he was hooked.

He then started working as an assistant policy analyst at the Inland Revenue Department to help transform New Zealand's tax system – a "once-in-a-generation opportunity".

Until the scholarship programme experience, Matt says he had been unsure of what he wanted to do after university.

"I wasn't keen on pursuing either the traditional accounting or legal career pathway. However, I did know that I wanted to do something that combined both my accounting and law studies.

"My vision changed over the summer of 2013/2014, when I had the pleasure of taking part in the scholarship programme.

"I was hosted by Inland Revenue and worked on a project that has a daily impact on cross-border trade. The experience was my first exposure to tax policy – an experience that I found interesting and challenging."

Matt originally chose to study at Victoria for several reasons, and had heard of the university's reputation for excellent accountancy and law programmes.

After attending Wellington College, it seemed a natural progression to continue with tertiary study in Wellington. He had studied Chemistry, Biology, Calculus, Music, Economics and Accounting at Wellington College.

Remaining in Wellington also allowed him to continue with his music interests. In 2009, Matt completed his ATCL with distinction in classical piano.

Matt found studying in New Zealand’s capital city the best feature of Victoria University.

"It meant having government, the courts, the New Zealand stock exchange and corporate head offices of many household names on your doorstep. Invariably this meant being taught by New Zealand’s leaders and best business minds.

"My education at Victoria has enhanced my ability to think critically and enabled me to develop the skills I need to succeed in business. Excellent teaching and courses packed with real business problems have made my education highly relevant for the fast-moving business world."

During the final two years of his study, Matt was selected as a tutor for the School of Accounting and Commercial Law.

He was also involved in several student and club activities, including:

  • Vice President of the Victoria University of Wellington Commerce Students' Society
  • a founding member of the Executive for the Victoria University Entrepreneurship Club
  • serving as an academic mentor for Te Pūtahi Atawhai – a centre for Māori and Pasifika students

Matt had been working towards becoming a chartered accountant and being admitted to the bar, and at some point undertaking postgraduate study. He is currently a solicitor at Russell McVeagh.