Dean’s Blog

03 April 2013
1-Deans-blog
Professor Greg Whittred, Dean of the Business School

As I write this, it’s the second week of the first semester and the Business School is abuzz with students. What I enjoy about this period is not just the rise in energy levels but the engagement we see from so many of our partners, supporters and the corporate sector.

Immediately following PwC-sponsored Orientation week, we enter recruiting rounds for end-of-year internships and full-time placements. Over the past two weeks, pretty much every lunch break and evening has a major employer on site “pitching” for recruits. This year, these events have included Bain & Co, McKinsey & Co, First New Zealand Capital, BCG, Deloitte Firm, Ernst & Young, Deloitte Consulting, KPMG, Disney International Programs, Audit New Zealand, Westpac, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Fonterra, BNZ and Teach First NZ. The students have also benefited from a Commerce Careers Fair and speed networking.

It is literally one of the first things our new students see and it is a very powerful reminder of the need for them to start thinking early about the future they seek – and the differences they wish to make – and how we in partnership with our stakeholders can help them achieve their goals.

Engaging our students’ hearts as well as their minds is a big ask, but it can yield enormous dividends. Witness for example our relationship with Columbo Plan graduate and Malaysian business leader Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Halim Saad, whose business interests extend across Eurasia and Australasia including New Zealand, a country of which he is inordinately fond of (a product of his time here - admittedly at Victoria University in Wellington - and his passion for rugby). Early last year Tan Sri Halim was appointed an Honorary Professor in our New Zealand Asia Institute, and it was with his guidance and support we were able to launch the first of our “Asia Dialogues” with a focus on opportunities for this country in the global Halal economy.

As our relationship with Tan Sri Halim has grown, he has expressed the desire to make a difference for both New Zealand and Malaysia. Together and in partnership with Victoria and Canterbury Universities, we have launched an initiative that will see a pool of up to 200 Malaysian government scholarship holders’ travel to study here annually. While the arrival of this first cohort of students is still a while off, it will have an enormous impact on each of the partner universities undergraduate commerce programmes.

This year also sees the addition of several new “taught” masters programmes. The Master of Management, Master of International Business and Master of Professional Accounting are “conversion” masters designed for graduates from diverse backgrounds including arts, engineering, science, technology or business seeking to be business-ready…and will, in the course of time, change the face of the Business School’s post-graduate student body.

So a busy year ahead – no doubt for all of us. Do feel free to email with any comments or thoughts you have about the articles in this newsletter g.whittred@auckland.ac.nz

Greg