Bachelor of Commerce graduate Simon Owen completed his studies at the Southern Institute of Technology at the end of last year.
With a major in Marketing, he began working for himself whilst studying his degree, launching himself as a freelance marketer specialising in social media and digital marketing.
“Working as a contractor while I studied gave me the ability to apply what I was learning and truly understand it,” he says.
Born and raised in the deep South, Simon says his interest in business runs in his family.
“It’s something that I have grown up around and it has become my passion.
“I started my marketing degree fresh from high school, however my early learnings in business came well before then.”
Simon began his first self-employed venture at 15 years old importing products and selling them online in the New Zealand market.
“I made some money, but more importantly these early ventures were an eye opener on the importance of consumer behaviour and the laws of supply and demand,” he says.
“These were the seeds that lead me to study marketing. This same intrigue is the same driver that lead to me working with clients on marketing projects while I was studying.”
Simon chose SIT as there were a number of great businesses that he could work and grow with while studying in Invercargill.
“The attraction of zero debt was a great pull and has also given me flexibility in my options post study.
“My expectations of SIT were that I would be able to grow my business while I completed my degree. While hard work, SIT gave me the opportunity to do this.”
He found several tutors who added immense value to his studies, especially those who pushed students in critical thinking, rather than information memorisation.
Although Simons intention going into study was not to get a job, but to grow his skills and insights into marketing and business growth, after finishing his degree, he took on more client work through relationships he had built.
“Through my consultancy brand, Orange Sheep Creative, I offer a twenty first century marketers’ perspective on building a solid brand, digital and social marketing strategy to grow businesses.”
For business students, Simon has this advice:
“If you are studying business, I would recommend a slightly alternative approach to most students. While attending your lecturers, I encourage you to truly understand the content, unravel it with critical thinking, and beat it with a stick. Business growth and marketing concepts are open to interpretation so I encourage you to have conflict with them, question them, until you find the objective truth. Business is different than studying to be a nurse, lawyer or a builder, where there are clear rules of how to practice each profession. Business is an art and you have to find your style.”