Rowland School of Business

Accounting and Dance Alumna Working for Ministry of Health in New Zealand

Friday, September 08, 2017

Pictured is accounting and dance alumna Kiri Richards, Principal Advisor Strategy Projects for Ministry of Health New Zealand. | Photo submitted by RichardsMeet Kiri Richards

Job title: Principal Advisor, Strategy Projects
Employer: Ministry of Health New Zealand
Degrees earned: Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Bachelor of Arts in Dance (modern) with a minor in History, Point Park University, 2010, and Master of Professional Accounting, Victoria University of Wellington, 2013
College activities: Student Accounting Association
Scholarships from Point Park: Academic scholarship and dance apprenticeship
Hometown: Nashville, Tenn.
High school: Nashville School of the Arts
Now living in: Wellington, New Zealand
Hobbies/interests: Still dancing, going to the theater and hiking in the hills of Wellington

Why did you decide to earn degrees in both accounting and dance from Point Park University?

I was originally drawn to Point Park by its renowned dance program, but I decided to double major in dance and accounting for practical reasons. I also thought the double major would lead to unique opportunities involving both specialties, for instance in administrative and management roles in the dance industry.

"Kiri’s technical background, commitment to quality and work ethic made her well suited for her strategy advisor role. Her accounting background has enabled her to contribute to a broad range of projects and to bring a financial perspective to our public sector strategy and policy work."

-- Monique Waayer, Deputy Chief Strategy and Policy Officer, Ministry of Health New Zealand


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"Point Park provided a well-rounded education that taught me how to learn and how to think creatively."

-- Kiri Richards


I’ve managed to keep a foot in both worlds so far, initially working as a freelance dancer in Wellington for a couple of years while getting my master's in professional accounting. I then spent about four years as a consultant at PwC New Zealand, and am now working for the Ministry of Health, but still manage to get back into a dance studio most weekends!

What’s life like in New Zealand?

Life in New Zealand is great, particularly living in Wellington. As the nation’s capital and seat of the central government, it has opened up professional opportunities not available elsewhere. Most of my time working in New Zealand, even while at PwC, has been somehow related to central government. At the same, Wellington has a thriving arts community. Both the New Zealand School of Dance and Drama and the Royal New Zealand Ballet are based in Wellington, and there’s always a show of some sort.

New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries I’ve seen — there are gorgeous beaches, native forests, mountains, lakes, rivers and fjords — and because New Zealand is a small country, it’s relatively easy to see it all. Living in New Zealand has also exposed me to completely different cultures. I moved here six and a half years ago, and am in no rush to leave! 

Tell us about how you have advanced in your accounting career at PwC.

I spent about four years as a consultant at PwC New Zealand, working my way up from a graduate analyst to a manager in the finance and economics team. PwC also supported me to become qualified as a chartered accountant with Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand.

How have your accounting classes and overall experience at Point Park helped you reach where you are today?

Point Park provided a well-rounded education that taught me how to learn and how to think creatively. While I haven’t ended up in a traditional accounting role (my work at both PwC and the Ministry of Health has mainly involved providing public policy and strategy advice to central government agencies), my accounting studies gave me a strong technical background, and positioned me well to contribute to projects involving financial modelling or supporting government budget processes.

My dance training and experience gave me discipline, drive and a strong work ethic, and have taught me how to relate to and communicate with all sorts of people. I credit both for where I am today.

Final thoughts?

I would encourage current students to take advantage of the breadth of education and experiences Point Park offers. Take the time to try new things and study new areas, and make the most of your time there!

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