CIE » Newsroom » Staff Profile: Tiger Chen, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Engagement Coordinator

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Staff Profile: Tiger Chen, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Engagement Coordinator

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2 June 2021

The Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) thrives because of its community. CIE’s Engagement team nurtures its network of students, staff and volunteers to help connect and awaken people to opportunities to unleash potential. 

Tell us a little about your background and how you ended up at the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

On my first day at the University of Auckland, I happened to stumble upon the Velocity stall which led to a year of participating in as many of their events as possible. In second year, I joined the Velocity student team as a graphic designer, and was then invited to be the inaugural Marketing Lead of Unleash Space. Helping to build Unleash Space from the ground up was so fun and fulfilling, and seeing it come to life was unreal.

Once I’d completed my Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Marketing and Information Management, I spent some time travelling and working at Walt Disney World in Florida. This was an amazing opportunity for me to take a breather and think about what I wanted to do next.

I came back to New Zealand and got a job as an insights analyst at a market research agency. While I really enjoyed the work, I found myself craving something more creative. An email promoting this role at the CIE arrived in my inbox, and I haven’t looked back since!

What drew you to this role at the CIE?

The people and programmes! Having participated in lots of our programmes as a student, I knew first hand the value that the CIE has to offer students and staff, and how empowering it is to be a part of such a supportive, innovative ecosystem. I was drawn by the opportunity to play a role in inspiring the next cohort of problem solvers, and helping students from all walks of life make the most of their time at university.

What does being the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Engagement Coordinator involve?

A day in the life is super variable – it could involve anything from interviewing inspiring alumni, writing stories and newsletters, and managing social media channels to prototyping, designing, and at times running workshops in the maker space! I’m all about helping students unleash their innovative and creative potential by sharing CIE’s diverse range of offerings and telling exciting stories that come out of the University of Auckland community.

What is your favourite part of your job?

Definitely hearing about the impact of our programmes on people’s lives! It’s so inspiring listening to our alumni talk about their journeys and how their work has created positive and meaningful change. I like to think CIE’s programmes are, for some people, the first step they take in discovering how they can make a difference in the world.

What have been your favourite projects to work on?

That’s a tough one! There’s always so many fun things going on. One highlight is definitely the staff Christmas ornament making workshops that I helped design and facilitate last year. It was a really wonderful way to end an action packed year. I loved meeting staff from all over the university, and every workshop was buzzing with energy and positivity. Facilitating maker space workshops also pushed me out of my comfort zone, so it was a super valuable learning experience for me.

What advice would you give to University of Auckland students and staff to make the most of the opportunities CIE has to offer?

Be open minded about how an entrepreneurial mindset can add value to your life! You don’t have to be an entrepreneur or want to start a business to benefit from CIE’s programmes and events. Our programmes are designed to help you develop (amongst many other things) your creativity, problem solving, resilience, and critical thinking skills, and apply them to anything you’re passionate about.

When you’re not working, what would we find you doing?

Seeking out the latest eatery, making a spreadsheet for an upcoming trip, or trying out different creative outlets! I’m currently dabbling in hand-crafted jewellery. I’ve worked with laser cut acrylic, wood, and polymer clay so far, and I’m excited to keep experimenting with different materials and techniques. I’m also working on a start-up, Island 12, and studying towards a Google certificate in UX design.

What was it like working at Walt Disney World?

Hands down one of the best experiences of my life! I had the privilege of working in the costuming department, preparing the costumes worn by character performers in the parks. Being behind the scenes every day and seeing what it takes to run an operation as massive as Disney World was incredible, and something I never dreamed I’d have the chance to be a part of.

Outside of work, I loved being able to immerse myself in American culture – trying all the food (so many flavours of everything!), making lifelong friends from all over the world, and road tripping through 27 states (plus Canada) was the experience of a lifetime!

Velocity Team 2020
Velocity Team 2020

social media

2 June 2021

The Business School’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CIE) thrives because of its community. CIE’s Engagement team nurtures its network of students, staff and volunteers to help connect and awaken people to opportunities to unleash potential. 

Tell us a little about your background and how you ended up at the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

On my first day at the University of Auckland, I happened to stumble upon the Velocity stall which led to a year of participating in as many of their events as possible. In second year, I joined the Velocity student team as a graphic designer, and was then invited to be the inaugural Marketing Lead of Unleash Space. Helping to build Unleash Space from the ground up was so fun and fulfilling, and seeing it come to life was unreal.

Once I’d completed my Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in Marketing and Information Management, I spent some time travelling and working at Walt Disney World in Florida. This was an amazing opportunity for me to take a breather and think about what I wanted to do next.

I came back to New Zealand and got a job as an insights analyst at a market research agency. While I really enjoyed the work, I found myself craving something more creative. An email promoting this role at the CIE arrived in my inbox, and I haven’t looked back since!

What drew you to this role at the CIE?

The people and programmes! Having participated in lots of our programmes as a student, I knew first hand the value that the CIE has to offer students and staff, and how empowering it is to be a part of such a supportive, innovative ecosystem. I was drawn by the opportunity to play a role in inspiring the next cohort of problem solvers, and helping students from all walks of life make the most of their time at university.

What does being the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Engagement Coordinator involve?

A day in the life is super variable – it could involve anything from interviewing inspiring alumni, writing stories and newsletters, and managing social media channels to prototyping, designing, and at times running workshops in the maker space! I’m all about helping students unleash their innovative and creative potential by sharing CIE’s diverse range of offerings and telling exciting stories that come out of the University of Auckland community.

What is your favourite part of your job?

Definitely hearing about the impact of our programmes on people’s lives! It’s so inspiring listening to our alumni talk about their journeys and how their work has created positive and meaningful change. I like to think CIE’s programmes are, for some people, the first step they take in discovering how they can make a difference in the world.

What have been your favourite projects to work on?

That’s a tough one! There’s always so many fun things going on. One highlight is definitely the staff Christmas ornament making workshops that I helped design and facilitate last year. It was a really wonderful way to end an action packed year. I loved meeting staff from all over the university, and every workshop was buzzing with energy and positivity. Facilitating maker space workshops also pushed me out of my comfort zone, so it was a super valuable learning experience for me.

What advice would you give to University of Auckland students and staff to make the most of the opportunities CIE has to offer?

Be open minded about how an entrepreneurial mindset can add value to your life! You don’t have to be an entrepreneur or want to start a business to benefit from CIE’s programmes and events. Our programmes are designed to help you develop (amongst many other things) your creativity, problem solving, resilience, and critical thinking skills, and apply them to anything you’re passionate about.

When you’re not working, what would we find you doing?

Seeking out the latest eatery, making a spreadsheet for an upcoming trip, or trying out different creative outlets! I’m currently dabbling in hand-crafted jewellery. I’ve worked with laser cut acrylic, wood, and polymer clay so far, and I’m excited to keep experimenting with different materials and techniques. I’m also working on a start-up, Island 12, and studying towards a Google certificate in UX design.

What was it like working at Walt Disney World?

Hands down one of the best experiences of my life! I had the privilege of working in the costuming department, preparing the costumes worn by character performers in the parks. Being behind the scenes every day and seeing what it takes to run an operation as massive as Disney World was incredible, and something I never dreamed I’d have the chance to be a part of.

Outside of work, I loved being able to immerse myself in American culture – trying all the food (so many flavours of everything!), making lifelong friends from all over the world, and road tripping through 27 states (plus Canada) was the experience of a lifetime!


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