Graduates Say BYU-Hawaii Prepared Them for Jobs in Tonga

Contributed By Alex Chowen, Church News contributor

  • 28 March 2014

BYU-Hawaii campus, where some graduates say they learned skills that attributed to their current employment success in Tonga.

Article Highlights

  • David Taufa, Heather Pohiva, and Selai Unga all graduated from BYU–Hawaii with accounting degrees, they all landed jobs within the Tongan government, and they all said BYU–Hawaii prepared them well for their employment.

“I came to BYU–Hawaii to learn, and now I’m ‘going forth’ to use what I have learned to serve my country and, most of all, to help build up the kingdom of God.” —Selai Unga 

David Taufa, Heather Pohiva, and Selai Unga graduated from BYU–Hawaii with accounting degrees in the summer of 2013. While they all had different career plans upon returning to their home country of Tonga, none of them expected the opportunity that opened up for them to use the skills they learned from BYU–Hawaii within the Tongan government.

Brother Taufa works as a foreign exchange dealer for the National Reserve Bank of Tonga (NRBT). Sister Unga was also hired at the NRBT as a bank examiner. Sister Pohiva works in the Ministry of Finance and National Planning as a financial analyst.

Getting a position with the government in Tonga is not an easy task. With a challenging economic landscape, the demand for jobs in the government sector is high, and many applicants come from inside the government and other universities in Australia, New Zealand, and Fiji.

In spite of the competition, all three BYU–Hawaii alumni turned in applications for jobs within the government. When they each received callbacks for job interviews, they were initially surprised to be considered but felt their education and experience at BYU–Hawaii prepared them well.

“I went in with complete confidence because of all the career preparation, like mock interviews and résumé and cover-letter workshops, that I had at BYU–Hawaii,” said Sister Pohiva. “I was prepared with professional skills, whether on the phone, face to face, or through email.”

Practical learning and application in the classroom also helped. “BYU–Hawaii helped me develop computer skills, especially in my computer accounting class,” said Brother Taufa.

Sister Unga had a similar feeling. “During my job interview, they asked a lot of questions about leadership skills, communicating with people, and training at work,” she said. “I’m glad that I took the business classes at BYU–Hawaii that really prepared me well.”

Glade Tew, dean of the College of Business, Computing, and Government and accounting professor to all three alumni, said, “I believe they will contribute so much, not only in their jobs but also in their families, communities, and the Church. Each of them is a wonderful individual who represents so well the spirit and mission of BYU–Hawaii.”

“I came to BYU–Hawaii to learn, and now I’m ‘going forth’ to use what I have learned to serve my country and, most of all, to help build up the kingdom of God,” said Sister Unga.