Dean’s blog: Numbers are important

12 December 2014
Professor Greg Whittred
Professor Greg Whittred

Thank you to all who responded to our UABS Quarterly survey. It was great to hear that most of you enjoy the articles and would like to hear more about what is happening at the School and what our students are doing. We hope the articles in this edition meet your needs.

University rankings have been in the news lately and for good reason. It is important that you have confidence in your University and Business School. We are proud that in the recent The Times Higher Education (THE) rankings, in the broad category of Social Sciences and Management – which is the only index covering "management" broadly alongside some of the arts faculty among others - UABS ranks at number 30 globally. And in the following subject areas our global rankings are:

  • Accounting and Finance – 24 (as for last year)
  • Law (including Commercial Law) - 28 (as for last year)
  • Economics and Econometrics – 51-100 band (as for last year)
  • Computer Science and Info Systems (including ISOM) – 51-100 band (as for last year)

Over the past year we have been working extremely hard to ensure we meet the stringent requirements set by the international accreditation bodies – AACBS International (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), EFMD-EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System) and AMBA (Association of MBAs). UABS was the first business school in New Zealand to achieve the “Triple Crown” which is held by only 1% (66 out of 13,670) business schools worldwide. The process of accreditation provides assurance to you our supporters, our students, our faculty and the New Zealand Government that we provide extraordinary quality programmes, are leaders in innovative teaching pedagogy and have state-of the-art facilities.

So, thank-you to all of you who responded to our requests for alumni and business representation to speak with the visiting accreditation teams. Your input was invaluable in being able to demonstrate the engagement we have with business and the relevance of our programmes to employers. We are now waiting for final confirmations and although indications are very positive it is, as you can appreciate, a nail-biting time until the documentation is finalised.

I’d like to end this wrap-up with a piece of stunning news – the University was recognised as one of the world’s emerging international centres of excellence in entrepreneurship and innovation.  Massachusetts Institute of Technology was commissioned to review world’s best practice given that governments all around the world are looking for technology innovation as a driver of national economic growth.

The University of Auckland was considered to be one of the five most highly regarded entrepreneurial universities operating in “more challenging conditions”, meaning those countries that did not support innovative activity, were geographically isolated, or where there was a lack of venture capital. For other universities operating in much more supportive environments in technology driven hubs of innovation, the most highly regarded were not surprisingly MIT, Stanford and Cambridge.

While the author, Ruth Graham, was very impressed with what the University of Auckland has done, her great concern was that with New Zealand’s R&D running 47% below the OECD average, “it presents a major constraint on the growth of the University’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and indeed to the country’s innovative capacity as a whole”. Based on her experience such underspending was an acute and growing problem for New Zealand.

Her overall conclusion was much more positive noting that despite this “the University leadership and the complementary dynamic of the commercially-focused activities of UniServices and the community-focused activities of the Business School (including the Spark initiative), have established the University of Auckland as an emerging international centre of excellence in entrepreneurship and innovation”.

The full report and executive summary are available on the MIT website.

Callaghan Innovation has published a follow-up piece on its website entitled The University of Auckland gets a global high five.  

Meanwhile, for most of our students they will have completed their year-end exams and have scattered to the four winds until we see them again in March. The School always seems a little dead after the last few frenetic months as students hand in their last assignments, lecturers pour over marking schedules and even in our Executive Education classes, the customised programmes start to wind up with graduation events for executives. However, we will soon be playing host to a number of international academic and business conferences, and Summer School will start up in early January. It is never quiet for long.

As always, please email me at if you would like to discuss anything that in this newsletter that interests you.  I always like to hear from you.

Wishing you a happy and safe holiday season.

Professor Greg Whittred

Dean, The University of Auckland Business School