Bruce Johnson

'My master’s has opened up a wide world of opportunity for me...'

  • Bruce Johnson

Master of Engineering in Transportation

Senior Project Manager, Mouchel Consulting Middle East, Abu Dhabi

With several years of experience in the transportation industry managing tunnels and road operations, Bruce eventually decided on taking his career a step further with UC’s Master of Engineering in Transportation.

‘I always felt that I needed to complement my practical knowledge with an understanding of the theoretical aspect of the engineering principles that applied to Transportation,’ he says. ‘Having a master’s degree indicates a higher level of understanding in many areas and this gives me a level of credence which is typically missing with an undergraduate degree.’

Living in Australia and regularly traveling to Christchurch for lectures, Bruce found a lot of benefit from Distance study to continue managing projects in Brisbane, including the Go Between Bridge Tolling System and Airport Link tunnel.

‘When I started studying for my master’s I was working full time as a Project Manager on the largest tunnel in the Southern Hemisphere. Balancing a busy work schedule, family life and study time was a never ending challenge.’

He found the cost of travel and studying at UC was cheaper than alternatives in Australia however, and after working on his time management between commitments, he was able to make the most of the opportunity.

‘UC has an excellent reputation worldwide and the curriculum was perfect for me. All the tutors were down to earth and approachable. They have a high level of experience in the field, not just purely academic.’

Bruce made sure to expand on his own knowledge from the industry with his studies.

‘I chose several subjects that were completely new to me. After graduating, I had enhanced my knowledge of my core subject (ITS and Traffic Engineering), plus I had a very high level of knowledge of other areas of the Transportation Industry. I chose the Advanced Pavement Design and Risk Management papers, which have both been invaluable to me since graduating.’

Now living and working in Abu Dhabi, Bruce is currently a Senior Project Manager for Mouchel Consulting. His specialisation involves risk, asset and maintenance management, as well as further operations for transportation infrastructure, and as a principal consultant.

‘My master’s has opened up a wide world of opportunity for me,’ he says. ‘Where an undergraduate degree is the normal standard of Tertiary Education required in NZ/Australia, to venture overseas it is almost mandatory to have a master’s degree. In the Middle East it is a pre-requisite.

‘The financial benefits have been huge. On many occasions Clients have accepted my submissions/bids purely based on my master’s degree.’

He also keeps himself busy as a Single Figure (5) Handicap Golfer, an Olympic Archery Coach, and a Professional Portrait Artist.

With future plans on becoming a Project or Commercial Director for a large tunnel project, Bruce is highly thankful for the experience he gained from UC.

‘Although it was tough going at the time, I look back on my time at UC and realise I thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and the experience of mixing with younger and fresher students,’ he says. ‘It was a great experience for an elder statesman engineer. I believe the younger students also benefitted in the classroom and on project teams from my years in the industry.’

Zoran Bakovic

Zoran Bakovic

'The knowledge one could take by doing MET at UC is both very scientific and practical...'

Stephanie Loo

Stephanie Loo

'I had the opportunity to work closely with my client, teammates and technicians which enriched my university experience...'