USP Alumni Network

Filifilia Iosefa

Name: Filifilia Iosefa
Programme: BA Economics/Management (1994) MBA (1998)
Country: Samoa
Occupation: UN Coordination Specialist, Samoa

Why did you choose your field of study? Originally, I was going to study law in my undergraduate degree. But I changed my mind to study business mainly because I was interested in the field of business at a young age. Additionally, few of my best friends in college were from business families and I was intrigued by their stories. I was inspired by their experiences and so I got stuck into business operations. 
Briefly reflect on your student life at USP? To be frank, my parents (especially my Mother) did not want me to go to USP in Fiji based on the negative experiences of past students. When I first landed at USP in 1990 and started meeting all these different Pacific island students, I was very happy to be there. I was excited to see these new faces from all over the Pacific and hear about their fascinating stories.  My best memories of USP were the Samoan (CCCS) church services on Sundays, Pacific cultural week performances, being a halls of residence warden in my second undergraduate year, traveling to Tuvalu on a MBA group project, making new friends, enjoying Pacific music, and the USPSA cultural tour of Fiji. 
Greatest achievement[s] as a student: Being able to participate in religious and social activities while completing my MBA studies. I was probably the only MBA student during my time who didnít shy away from enjoying time with my friends in the Samoan church choir on Goodenough Street, playing sports, going to social events of the Samoan Association, and other curricular activities on the USP Laucala Campus.  I remember travelling to Canberra Australia during the mid-semester break in 1998 to visit my best friend, all expenses paid by AusAid.
Career Highlights since Graduation: Senior Production Planner at Yazaki Samoa 1994-1997. Operations Associate/Learning Manager for UNDP 1999-2006. Sales/Marketing Manager for Computer Services Limited 2006-2013. UN Coordination Specialist for UNRC 2013 until now. Major conferences:  COP21 conference in Paris, France 2014. SIDS conference 2013 in Apia, Samoa. Commonwealth Study Conference New Delhi, India 2007. Current board member of the Leadership Samoa Programme. Former board member of the Samoa Chamber of Commerce. Member of the Samoa Conservation Society. Member of the Samoa Cancer Society.
Who/what do you credit your success to? My parents, especially my Mother. She was a hard woman who drove me nuts at times telling me to study and do well in school. She also taught me and my siblings at such a young age the real value of love, respect, and integrity. When she passed away in 1997, I felt this overpowering feeling that she wanted me to go back to university. Her death really motivated me to apply for a Mastersí scholarship award. I was fortunate to receive an AUSAID scholarship to do MBA studies. Instead of going to Australia, I opted again to study at USP mainly due to my interest in Pacific regionalism. What inspires you? I am inspired by good results, positive people with likeminded attitude, and being able to assist someone who really needs my help. My family also inspires me to do well.
How do you think USP helped you in your career? USP life as a student taught me how to ďlive within your own meansĒ and budget wisely until the next allowance is due. It also showed me how to be self-sufficient, organized, and reliable. The knowledge and experience I gained from USP has well equipped me throughout my working life and also helped me to secure good employment opportunities.
Describe any challenges you face to reach where you are today and how you overcame those challenges? Getting over the negative attitudes of CEOs and Managers who are quite selfish and self-centered in their way of thinking. Fortunately for me, I always look on the bright side of things and believe there is always hope in life. Hence, I have moved on to better job opportunities and I am happy with where I am today in serving those in need through my work with the UN. 
Where do you see yourself in 10 years (career and/or personal goals)? I would like to work overseas for some time as most of my working life has been in Samoa. In the long term, I will consider running my own business and possibly do some consultancy work.
What advice would you give to current and future students of USP? Have a positive attitude and enjoy your time at USP as a student. Make friends and hold onto those friendships as they will be quite useful in the future. Build your capacity as a person and donít compare yourselves to others. You are the master of your destiny, so donít settle for less than your best. Most of all, you have to believe that you can graduate from USP if you really know how to plan your time wisely and study well.
Please share top three tips that you think are most important for our current students or recent graduates that will help them when starting out on their career paths.
1.    Get good reference letters from your lecturers to help you find employment
2.    Build your network and contacts of people who can give you free advice.
3.     Have a short-term and long term plan in life. Success in life involves 80% planning and 20% implementation.
What has your involvement been with the University since you graduated? I used to be a tutor at the USP Alafua Campus in Samoa back in 1998-1999. I also participated actively in the MBA Samoa Alumni in its early stage. I would really like to be involved in the USP Board and contribute to the future development of USP.
Any other information you would like to share. I would like to work for USP and give back something useful to the place, if the opportunity arises.


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