Mike Roberts, graduate, Graduate Diploma in Project Management

Bachelor of Information and Communications Technology graduate Mike Roberts was working as a software tester when he discovered a passion for project management. It's a passion that has resulted in a rewarding new career and national awards recognition.

While still a software tester, and with the support of his employer, Mike moved into a project management role. Wanting to learn as much as he could, he returned to Ara to study the Graduate Diploma in Project Management.

"I chose Ara again because the tutors are engaging, passionate, knowledgeable and concise, and the courses are relevant with the right level of depth. Also the theory of the graduate diploma was aligned to the most widely used international standard of project management – PMI's Project Management Body of Knowledge - so it was very relevant."

Mike says the industry projects he undertook as part of his post graduate and degree programmes at Ara were highlights of his study. "The industry project is a fantastic opportunity for students. Being able to demonstrate your learnings by working in a real-world setting is so valuable."

Mike completed his graduate diploma in 2012. Little over a year later his expertise and enthusiasm for project management was recognised when he was nominated for the Project Management Institute New Zealand (PMINZ) Emerging Project Manager of the Year 2014.

More recently, his voluntary work at PMINZ's Christchurch branch won him the organisation's award for PMINZ Volunteer of the Year 2015 at its 21st annual conference in Wellington. The judges praised him for his energy, availability and untiring efforts and described him as "the archetypal volunteer".

When he's not volunteering for PMINZ, Mike is busy growing Millpond, an IT project management consultancy he established with two like-minded project managers he me through PMINZ.

"We offer project management services to help businesses and their teams achieve their strategic objectives. Many of our engagements are gained through word-of-mouth."

Mike's objective now is to raise Millpond's profile as an efficient and effective IT project management service provider.