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How Massey provided PwC designer Caitlin MacEwan a foundation for flight

PwC designer Caitlin MacEwan may be flying high – but she’ll never forget how Massey has helped her reach the heights she has.

Caitlin MacEwan knows a few things about what makes good design – after all, that’s why she’s now working with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), one of the largest companies on the planet. It’s up to her and the team she works on to make sure PwC’s products can be easily used by people who don’t know much about accounting or finances.

“Our team has just been renamed The Experience Centre,” she says. “Working in the team is amazing, they’re such a talented, smart and lovely group of individuals. The team works very hard but always has time to help out someone in need or catch up for a team lunch.

“On any given day, one member of the team will be working on something completely different to another. Projects range from day-long events delivered in our Sandbox (a dedicated space in which we run different types of workshops), to projects that go on for months and months like redesigning city transport systems. We’re also a really creative bunch – our space is filled with odd drawings, calligraphy and random bits of inspiration.”

Caitlin MacEwan.

Helping people to make an impact with the technology they use and interact with, MacEwan says her gig can be described as a dream job. “PwC was always on my radar,” she explains. “Then a colleague of mine from Catalyst IT (where I worked as a student) started working at PwC. I met up for a coffee with her to talk about how things were going and it all went from there. The interview process was relatively intensive, lots of ‘coffees’ and then a one hour presentation with the team. There’s a very good reason for this thorough process though, it creates a strong team that genuinely likes one another. I was offered a job while I was finishing up my degree and, after a nice long summer break in the South Island, started my job in January.”

For all her achievements, she’s quick to point to her experiences at Massey for setting her up for success. “During my last few years at Massey I fell in love with Experience Design, however, when I left I was worried that what I had learnt was very different to how the ‘real world’ operated,” she explains. “To my relief, what I had learnt and believed in aligned perfectly with how The PwC Experience Centre operates. The team comes from a huge variety of backgrounds: architecture, fine arts, linguistics, education, accounting; which is awesome but I feel really thankful to have studied design for what I am now doing.

“Massey introduced me to experience design through a few specific papers. Experience design is the practise of designing a solution; be it a system, website or event, which keeps the users at the centre. If I hadn’t have gone to Massey I’m not sure I would have stumbled across ‘my calling’ so easily. Massey taught me the power of hard work and the importance of being really passionate about something. It taught me how to be empathetic, how to ask questions and how to make a difference.”

Fond memories are also something MacEwan is thankful to Massey for. “It has to be the people,” she says. “To be perfectly honest, my final year was extremely hard, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The people I bonded with will be friends for life. The Massey community is amazing, the tutors are so invested and have so much knowledge.”

And that’s not all she has to say. “I’ll always be grateful for my time at Massey.”