Passion for business

WHEN Lara Bourke left high school in 2008, she left for Australia, unsure of whether she would pursue further studies.

Almost nine years later, the 26-year-old is a holder of a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Fiji and was presented with a medal for being the most outstanding student at the university’s School of Business and Economics.

Ms Bourke says after leaving Fiji, she gained work experience in Australia.

“I moved to Sydney to do a few years there to gain work experience and I ended up back in Fiji a while later,” she said.

“I had to do a year of foundation so I did that in social sciences and that was in 2013. After that I started pursuing my degree in 2014 and it has taken three years.”

She says she decided to study at the University of Fiji because she wanted to support the small yet growing university.

“We’re more like a family here so you really get to know your peers and lecturers personally and you have a great support network and you form relationships with lecturers in all departments.

“I had no idea (about the medal) and it was a big surprise. I was really emotional because I was never really sure I would go to university but after I matured, I thought I was ready and it has been really special.”

Ms Bourke says a majority of her schooling was done in Sydney.

“I decided to finish high school in Fiji at Adi Cakobau School as my mum is Fijian and she is from Macuata.

“So I was looking for a more experienced learning rather than academic. It was more about finding out who I was as a person, learning to be independent, coming back to my motherland roots so that’s why I wanted to start at ACS.”

Her time at the prominent girl’s boarding school left a lasting impression on her, something which she is grateful for.

When asked about why she chose to enter the business field, Ms Bourke says her parents are heavily involved in the hospitality industry through their two hotels.

“I’ve grown up in a business environment specialising in eco-tourism and sustainability so I sort of have that passion for business but more in a holistic way through bettering the environment and community.

“We have one resort in Macuata called Nukubati Island Resort and our second hotel is The Fiji Orchid.”

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