|Jackie Aveling - Product Development Manager, Animal Nutrition, Ballance Agri-Nutrients
|Grant Anderson - Head of Accounting, XERO
|Mark Hosking - Managing Director, Franklin Vets
|Michelle Murray - CEO, Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance
|Paul Christey - Business Owner/Manager, Core Management Ltd
|Ipu Hapi - Process Manager, Fonterra
|Heather Johnston - Recipient, Tauranga Chamber of Commerce Business Scholarship 2015
|Tahl Lawrence - Recipient, Tauranga Chamber of Commerce Business Scholarship 2015
|Moana Lailua - Manager, Steelers: Counties Manukau Rugby Football Union
|Jason Dawson - CEO, Hamilton and Waikato Tourism
Being able to stay in Tauranga with the support and comfort of home to complete the majority of my MBA was one of the main reasons I chose Waikato Management School. Then I only had to pop over the hill to Hamilton for my final year of study. It also meant I would create great business networks in the right location -where I worked.
The MBA programme at Waikato has an excellent reputation, and the learning I gained and the people I met exceeded my expectations of what a Triple Crown Accredited MBA would offer.
I was able to expand my thinking about business and how the business world operates in different cultures and contexts. I’ve developed a much broader management skill set, not only in terms of hard skills but also understanding people and having greater self-awareness as a manager.
As a Product Development Manager for (Animal Nutrition) at Ballance Agri-Nutrients, I have been able to directly translate my learnings into my everyday routine, and both I and the company are benefitting from my increased work capacity. I’m able to use techniques and skills I gained to create meaning in a broader range of situations, and I’m more confident in looking for new business opportunities.
After completing my MBA I became a trustee and mentor to fellow businesspeople, which has given me an even greater sense of fulfilment.
Taupo man Grant Anderson was looking for further career advancement, and a way of formalising the value of his decades of experience as a Chartered Accountant and director, when he signed up for the Waikato MBA.
Grant’s previous roles in finance covered a wide range of business sizes and activities, from unknown start-ups to NZ public companies and multinationals. Although his experience had provided an in-depth understanding of the financial and operational aspects of business, he needed something to take him to the next level.
Grand says the MBA programme has certainly delivered in terms of intellectual challenge.
“Learning about myself, challenging my thinking and my emotions was difficult for me, but hugely worth it,” says Grant. “I have definitely grown a lot as a person as a result of doing the MBA.”
“The biggest unexpected bonus was the depth of the friendships I have made with my classmates, whom I wouldn’t have met if I hadn’t taken the MBA programme. I think my life is richer from getting to know them.
Grant says his MBA helped him to secure his new position as head of accounting at Xero, based in Wellington.
“It shows a desire and motivation for self-improvement. Leading through personal power has been critical to my role at Xero, which requires me to influence and guide without direct line authority. Understanding when to work quietly behind the scenes and when to raise issues up vocally can be critical to success.”
Since completing his MBA with Distinction in 2005, Grant continues his involvement with the University of Waikato MBA programme as a highly regarded member of the teaching faculty. Grant’s experience offers the sort of practical, relevant and insightful perspective that makes Waikato’s MBA distinctive.
p>For Mark Hosking, choosing to study for his MBA at the Waikato Management School was a ‘no-brainer’. Having spent the past 12 years working as a veterinarian in the dairy industry, finding a university with strong links to the agricultural sector was the key to helping Mark advance his career.
In its 65 years of operation, Franklin Vets, with six branches and just under 90 staff, has become the largest privately owned veterinary practice in the South Auckland/North Waikato region. When Mark took over as managing director, he wanted to make sure that he had the required skills to fulfil this challenging role and make a difference. “Franklin Vets has had substantial growth in the last few years, so when I started, my goal was and still is to develop our systems – particularly in inventory management, HR and marketing – to allow for future growth and development.”
Mark believes the MBA programme’s grounded approach to practical business has given him the skills and confidence to not only take on the challenging role, but more importantly, succeed at it. “Right from day one, we were encouraged to use our own businesses as case studies for the theory we were being taught. Waikato’s MBA programme has allowed me to identify and understand the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats to my business.”
The highlight of Mark’s MBA was the trip to China. “It opened my eyes to an area that is going to be strongly related to New Zealand’s economic performance over the next few decades. New Zealand’s agricultural future lies with our competitive advantage in food safety and our clean, green image.” The trip also had an impact on the way Franklin Vets, and Mark in particular, will look to the future. “Greater emphasis will be placed on animal welfare, food safety and sustainability. These are the future critical success factors for our farming clients.”
Since she began work in the health sector more than 10 years ago, Michelle Murray has notched up an impressive résumé. Michelle worked at the Maori health provider Te Manu Toroa for more than five years in human resource management, quality and project management. She then moved to the Bay of Plenty District Health Board, firstly as the Portfolio Manager for primary care in the Maori Health Planning and Funding team, before moving to the mainstream Planning and Funding team as the Portfolio Manager for primary care and immunisation, consolidating her knowledge and expertise from her previous two roles.
Michelle enjoyed her work life and the challenges it brought her and began thinking about how an MBA qualification might aid her future ambitions. "In my mind there were two reasons to gain an MBA. First, to be exposed to a wide range of managerial and leadership tools that could be utilized within my management role. And second, to position myself ahead of others when applying for higher roles like Chief Executive." With an active family and work life, it was convenient for Michelle that Waikato University offered her the flexibility of completing the first two years of the MBA programme in Tauranga where she is based.
Michelle found her time at Waikato extremely rewarding. "I gained a tremendous amount of knowledge on a wide range of subjects. The great thing was that I was able to apply what I learnt during my MBA studies to my management role at the time - further embedding these skills and ideas in my thinking." Michelle found the benefits of completing the MBA programme unparalleled when it came to positioning herself ahead of others for top management roles. Having that particular skill set - the knowledge, expertise and finesse, led Michelle to her current role as CEO of Eastern Bay Primary Health Alliance. Although on a new learning curve, Michelle is excited about the opportunity to put her learning into action.
Paul Christey originally took the Waikato MBA to gain a better understanding of business, by being able to better recognise opportunities and capitalise on them.
He believes the MBA programme has had a huge impact on himself as a person and his business. “Firstly, the confidence I’ve gained has been worth the investment. Secondly, being able to learn in the classroom and test the theories I’ve learned directly into my business has helped refocus it into areas that create long-term wealth through sound strategic direction.”
One aspect he feels has made the most significant contribution to his business has been the ability to look outside and clearly evaluate external forces impacting on his business. “I can now defend against threats and capitalise on opportunities. I’ve been able to reduce risk and significantly grow my business as a result.”
Looking back, Paul says the MBA programme was very challenging at times. However, the sense of accomplishment from achieving his goal of completing the programme was very rewarding. “Receiving my MBA at capping with my family was one of my proudest moments.”
Paul found his experience at Waikato extremely satisfying. “I am self-employed so the results are measured in the bottom line for my business. It has exceeded my expectations, with a significant increase in profits and growth from my core business. In addition, I am developing a number of exciting new opportunities to further create wealth.”
“I would absolutely recommend the programme to others. My only regret is that I should have done the MBA earlier, rather than putting it off for 10 years!”
Ipu Hapi likens the Waikato MBA he is working so hard to achieve to a sacred taonga, “like the All Black jersey”. “It is a symbol of excellence, hard work, and shows that with effort and sacrifice I can become all that I want to be.” A process manager at Fonterra in Hamilton, Ipu has always put a high value on education.
“Being part of the Waikato MBA programme is a journey that has opened me up to a world of possibility,” he says. “It has equipped me with the tools and confidence to be able to work through any situation. Now I know where I want to be, and what I want to be doing.”
Married with two boys, Ipu’s entire family is invested in helping him to finish his MBA. “It’s a chance for me to set a good example to my young family around learning, and the value I place on education, as they’re both starting school now.”
The workload is tough, but grasping concepts is satisfying, he says. “In every class we talk about how these concepts are applied in the workplace, which gives more meaning to what you’re learning. It helps you to identify gaps and find improvements in what you’re currently doing. I also like to share with my staff what we’re learning about.”
His approach to managing people at work has changed as well. “In the past I’ve been worried about being a good leader. Now I look at myself as a person who is always adding new skills to my leadership toolkit. This has led me to try out new things and be willing to learn from my mistakes, so that I’m comfortable in any situation.”
Ipu is full of praise for his lecturers. “I feel I have the best people in the world to guide me through my executive education journey. The classes offer a unique environment where all involved are invested in helping you achieve your goals, and allow you to learn from other people’s experiences. The friendships you make along the way give you a diverse professional network and range of skills to draw on for advice in the future.”
Waikato Management School’s Triple Crown accreditation status sets the business school apart and provided Ipu with assurance that he was getting a high-quality education.
“There have been some outstanding graduates of this programme, and being part the Waikato MBA alumni makes you part of a unique fraternity.”
"I am truly grateful and appreciative that the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce selected me as the recipient of the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce Business Scholarship. The Tauranga Chamber of Commerce provides valuable support to professionals who are enhancing their careers by increasing their management knowledge and expertise
This ultimately strengthens business capability within the Bay. I have worked within the health and safety arena for the last 18 years, in a variety of industries. The environment within which health and safety operates is rapidly changing, and is now recognised as a key business tool.
This prompted my decision to undertake further learning to build upon my technical knowledge and broaden my general management skills.
In my role as Global Health and Safety Manager with Comvita New Zealand, I am increasingly involved in management and business discussions. The Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies from the University of Waikato will expand upon my existing skills and increase my general business knowledge in a way that can be practicably applied in real time.
Receiving this scholarship will assist me in pursuing my educational and career ambitions and I thank the Tauranga Chamber of Commerce for their support."
With a background in civil engineering, Hamilton man Tahl Lawrence was “itching to continue learning and add to my skills sets,” when he decided to sign up for the MBA programme at Waikato. Choosing Waikato was an important first step “If I was going to study, I wanted to make it count.”
“For me it wasn’t about moving up ranks; it was about extending myself to lift my outlook personally and professionally,” he says. “I arrived with a fairly well-rounded skillset, and the MBA has complemented this brilliantly, building on my transferable skills. I’m pretty excited about what the future holds for me.”
Tahl says a highlight of Waikato’s MBA programme has been meeting and working with some amazing people from a diverse range of backgrounds and industries, which really brings classroom discussions alive.
While it’s been a challenge to give up so much personal time with friends and family, he firmly believes the Waikato MBA has been a good investment of his time and money.
“It gives you the tools to make some great choices in your career, and some great decisions in business. The majority of lecturers are business consultants who are well-known in their field of expertise, meaning the content is credible and very relevant. It can be put straight into practice in the real world.”
During his MBA Tahl has made some exciting career changes, moving from local government into the private sector working with a Waikato-based start-up company, and following his study tour to China, has turned his attention to New Zealand – China opportunites.
Tahl was awarded the Corporate & Executive Education MBA Scholarship, worth $10,000, after achieving top marks in his class while completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Management Studies (PGDip(MgtSt)) last year – the first part of the MBA.
“I would certainly recommend the PGDip to anyone in business or looking to develop their skills across a broad range of relevant topics,” he says. “Completing the full MBA can be considered a big step, but for those with leadership aspirations, I don't think you can beat it for both real world exposure and professional credibility. “
“For those who are seeking a qualification that will add value immediately to their level of business acumen, I would most definitely recommend the University of Waikato’s MBA,” says Waikato MBA graduate Moana Leilua, manager of the Steelers rugby team.
“I’ve seen the benefits personally, and also with peers in my classes. Not only is it highly academic, but it can be practically applied in the workplace. That’s one of the key aspects I really value about the qualification.”
Before undertaking the MBA Moana was hoping to gain more knowledge, build confidence to apply for senior roles, and increase her professional networks.
With two papers left in the first part of the MBA, she says the programme has definitely delivered on her expectations. “The quality of the lecturers and the learnings gained since starting this journey have been invaluable,” she says.
Being able to meet like-minded people who are striving towards higher aspirations professionally is one aspect she has enjoyed during her time at Waikato. It soon became evident that her investment in the MBA was worth it.
Since undertaking her studies, Moana is now manager for the Counties Manukau Steelers rugby team, where she has a short-term contract for the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup Season.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to utilise what I’ve learnt, as its relatively new territory and I have the ability to really make it my own. I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Having a world-class management school right on my doorstep and talking to business leaders who couldn’t speak higher of Waikato’s MBA definitely made my decision to go back to study easier. I had only heard good things about the calibre of the lecturers and the real-world business expertise they pass on.
I chose the MBA because I was seeking external endorsement and verification that I have robust leadership and business skills. I’d never fully completed tertiary education, and I felt like now I was prepared and driven to do just that.
It was really helpful for me to bring my management experience into the classroom and see it align with theories and research. I then built on this experience through exposure to world-class business leaders, some of which were our lecturers, and a trip to China which broadened my perspective on management and leadership, and encouraged me to see business in a different frame.
The MBA gave me the inspiration and courage to start my own consultancy business working across multiple industries. This led to me seeking new opportunities, and becoming the new CEO of Hamilton & Waikato Tourism.