Olympic bronze medallist Storm Uru capped off a stellar year this afternoon when he received his master’s degree at a Massey University graduation ceremony in Palmerston North.
The rower acknowledged it had been difficult training for the Olympics while working on his degree, but says he has always been one for taking on tough challenges.
“It was a difficult process, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Massey staff who were always great,” Uru says. “I’m very pleased I completed it and I think the harder something is, the greater the satisfaction you get out of it.”
For his master’s degree Uru researched New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement with China to see if it was helping Kiwi companies set up operations there.
“China is just so interesting, competitive and dynamic, and it’s only going to grow in importance. While many New Zealand companies export to China, direct foreign investment is still relatively low, so I was interested in learning if the FTA has encouraged companies to establish themselves on the ground.”
Uru says he can imagine himself working in China one day, but his immediate future involves a six-month contract working as a trader for the BNZ and then, if all goes to plan, a year at Cambridge University to study towards an MBA.
While Cambridge University is synonymous with rowing, Uru insists that if he is accepted into the programme, his academic studies will take priority.
“I’ve always fitted my studies around my training so I’m determined that for at least one year my academic career comes first. Having said that, I’ll definitely be rowing on the side.”
Uru says that balancing sport and study comes naturally to him, but there were times when he wondered if he would get his master’s research report written.
“I usually worked on it on Sundays, but the level of fatigue after a week of training meant that I often had to delete a lot of what I wrote,” he says. “But I could never be someone who recovers from training by watching TV, and I could never study without doing exercise. Doing both in tandem balances me out.”
Despite having nearly completed a chemistry degree at Canterbury University (he had to give it up when he relocated to Cambridge to join the New Zealand rowing team), as well as a Bachelor of Business Studies, a Postgraduate Diploma in Business, and now a Master of Management via distance learning at Massey, today’s graduation ceremony was Uru’s first.
“I’ve never been able to get the time off before, so this graduation is huge for me. My family have travelled down and I’m glad I’m in a position where I can concentrate on enjoying it,” he says.