Scholarship allows MBA student to make a difference

Source: Massey University

Massey University director of executive qualifications Dr Patricia Bossons, Wendy Smith and NZIMF president Joe Hollander.

The decision to tackle an MBA is big for anyone, but particularly so if you’re juggling full-time work and a young family. For Massey Executive MBA student Wendy Smith, further study was the only option for making a step-change in her career. She made the commitment, applied for a New Zealand Institute of Management Foundation (NZIMF) Scholarship and was ecstatic to be named one of two recipients for 2019.

“It’s a really big deal for our family as I was looking at borrowing the whole amount for my MBA,” she says. “Recently we’ve had some major medical bills so, with little savings, the scholarship has removed a lot of stress.

“It’s also a challenge to juggle all the balls, family, work and study. With two step-kids, as well as toddler, we are just a really full-on, busy, crazy household. So, it was a really big decision for me to return to study and the scholarship makes me feel like I’ve made the right decision.”

Making a difference

The NZIMF Scholarship is worth $15,000 and is awarded to two postgraduate students each year whose studies focus on management and leadership practice. For Mrs Smith, it means an opportunity to one day really make a difference to the delivery of health services in this country. 

Already an experienced physiotherapist with a master’s degree in manipulation (of the physiotherapy kind) under her belt, Mrs Smith is keen to move out of clinical practice.

“As a physio, you treat one person at a time, which is awesome, but it is by changing systems that you can have a really major impact,” she says. “There’s a lot of barriers in the health sector and I realised the only way I could help to remove those barriers was to become a manager. 

“Long-term I want to be involved in the development of health policy and improving the way systems operate.”

She says she consulted with the general managers and executive team at the hospital where she worked until recently and they all gave her the same advice: Get an MBA. 

“I had lots of clinical experience, which is important, but no executive experience. It was a really clear decision. To change the direction of my career I needed those skills, so it meant more study.”

Growing as a leader

She is also looking forward to the personal development that comes with doing an MBA.

“It’s about developing as a person, really, for me. You learn a lot of technical skills but the key thing the lecturers are trying to teach you about is leadership,” she says.

“It’s going to be going outside of my comfort zone, big time. But it’s exciting to be developing as a person and developing in a way that inspires others, and to lead others.”

Along with the first contact classes for her Executive MBA, which she found “terrifying but totally inspiring”, Mrs Smith is about to start a new job as a change management facilitator with her local Public Health Organisation (PHO) in Whangarei. The organisation is undergoing major structural changes and she hopes her MBA research report will help it to change in ways that lead to service improvements.

“I’ve always had a real urge to help the community, particularly up here in Northland where we have such a contrast in wealth in the population,” she says.

“Being a physio, you see extreme differences between people in health. That’s what makes me feel like I can have a purpose, and this qualification makes me feel like I’m actually going to be able to do something.”

Related articles

Massey Executive MBA helps provincial businesses grow
Massey Executive MBA programme heads to Whanganui
Business confidence for Taranaki MBA graduates
Massey MBA student goes under the farming hood

More related articles

NZ Super is not enough, but most retirees doing ok

Source: Massey University

The Retirement Expenditure Guidelines measure the real cost of retirement.

The latest Retirement Expenditure Guidelines confirm New Zealand Superannuation is not sufficient to fund the retirement most people want, but most retirees are satisfied with their level of retirement income. 

The guidelines, which are produced annually by the Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre, calculate what retirees currently spend to maintain either a ‘no frills’ retirement, or a more fulfilling ‘choices’ lifestyle that includes some luxuries. Costs are calculated for one and two-person households in both metropolitan (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch) and provincial areas.  

The report, which covers the 12 months to June 30, 2018, shows all households, including those groups with a ‘no frills’ lifestyle, have a gap between expenditure levels and New Zealand Superannuation. Report author, Dr Claire Matthews from the Massey Business School, says a two-person household living in a city would have to save $785,000 to fund a ‘choices’ retirement, while a couple living rurally would need to save $492,000.

“While living on New Zealand Super is possible, for the vast majority of New Zealanders it doesn’t support the lifestyle they wish to have,” she says. “This report reinforces the need to save for retirement if you want to set yourself up to have the retirement that you want.

Housing-related expenses were the main contributors to rising costs for retirees, including home ownership, property maintenance, property rates and insurance. This was offset to some extent by reduced spending on fruit and vegetables and recreation.

Report author Dr Claire Matthews.

How prepared are most Kiwi retirees?

For the first time, the Retirement Expenditure Guidelines report also includes insights into the preparedness of both pre-retirees and retirees. The insights come from the thesis of Massey PhD graduate Dr Bob Lissington, who analysed data collected from 1000 New Zealanders.

The survey data showed some key differences between pre-retiree (those aged 50-64) and retiree (those aged 65-80) respondents, including home ownership rates and expectations around working and retirement income.

The report highlights a small reduction in home ownership for future retirees, which could have an impact on their financial outcomes, Dr Matthews says.

“Of those aged 50 to 64, 52 per cent report still having a mortgage, while 79 per cent of the respondents who had reached retirement age were mortgage-free. If greater proportions of retirees have mortgage debt in future, it will become of more concern.”

Just 40 per cent of pre-retirees believed they were well-prepared for retirement, and 57 per cent considered retirement to be a concern. 

A wake-up call 

Westpac NZ general manager of consumer banking and wealth, Simon Power, says the findings should be a wake-up call for workers approaching retirement age. 

“Every New Zealander deserves to go into retirement with peace of mind and security,” Mr Power says.  

Mr Power says all New Zealanders should think about their retirement and how much money they’ll need to enjoy the lifestyle they want. 

“You’re never too young to be regularly reviewing your retirement plans and whether your investments are best suited to helping you achieve your lifestyle goals.

“Interestingly, the report found that retirees and pre-retirees are making limited use of financial advisors. People who are worried about their financial independence as they approach retirement should consider talking to formal advisors or educators. 

“At Westpac, we run free Managing Your Money workshops for customers and non-customers alike. We also have a Budget Calculator and CashNav app, which help people monitor and manage their spending.”

Dr Matthews notes that most actual retirees rated their current level of income adequate to fund their desired retirement lifestyle. 

“Despite the concerns of pre-retirees, the good news is it’s likely the majority of Kiwis will hit retirement having done enough if they remain focused on saving,” she says. “They obviously need to remain focused on saving for retirement, but most retirees, when they get there, are saying they are actually ok.”

About the Retirement Expenditure Guidelines

The Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre, or Financial Education and Research Centre, is a joint initiative by Westpac and Massey University that aims to improve the financial wellbeing of New Zealanders.

Workplace Savings NZ provides financial support to produce the Retirement Expenditure Guidelines, which are based on figures from Statistics New Zealand’s triennial Household Economic Survey, adjusted for the effect of inflation. 

It is important to note that the guidelines do not represent recommended levels of expenditure, but reflect actual levels of expenditure by retired households.

Read the full report.

Related articles

Five budgeting tips for retirement planning
A DIY approach to retirement planning
Majority of Kiwis just scraping by in retirement

Opinion: Supporting those traumatised by terrorism

Source: Massey University

For many, returning to ‘normal life’ will take a lot of support from friends, family and their places of work.

By Dr Fatima Junaid.

Today, many Muslims in New Zealand will be returning for Friday prayers. Some might feel anxious, others may feel it’s important to go as a sign last Friday’s terror attack has not affected their resolve or faith.

At the same time, many might have returned, or are thinking of returning to their workplaces – resuming work with fears, anxieties and post-traumatic stress. On top of all this, there will be all the usual stresses of their work.

Collectively, these can be detrimental for both the employees and the organisations. Stressed employees are often not very productive. They can also behave in unpredictable and sometimes even destructive ways.

Trauma of losing loved ones

Losing a loved one is traumatic. The people of Christchurch already know that. However, trauma due to man-made disaster (such as last Friday’s act of terrorism) may be different from the trauma that results from a natural disaster like the sequence of earthquakes Christchurch has experienced. Terrorism instigates fear. The malevolent intent of harming others and the helplessness of the victims can cause anger that can lead to hatred.

The Friday attack clearly affected victims and their families in Christchurch and the wider Muslim community, but the event has also had an effect on the rest of the New Zealand population. There are many layers in which it has affected people, and it is important to understand the ways in which it will continue to do so.

The process 

Many migrants to New Zealand fled their home countries and came to New Zealand because it is a peaceful place. For them, this event means remembering the horrors they might have lived through before they came to New Zealand. This gives them a heightened sense of danger.

It is different from the population in New Zealand at large because many New Zealanders have not known what it means to feel unsafe. The families of the victims of Friday’s shootings, and many in the Muslim community, know this feeling too well. Now they are reminded of it.

Dr Fatima Junaid.

How organisations can help

Organisations can provide a sense of safety and security to their employees and communities in general. They can brief them about the safety and security measures that have been put in place. Research has shown when people feel physically safe in a place, they feel less stressed. We should follow the New Zealand prime minister and constantly remind people they are safe.

Notwithstanding this, there will be people suffering from post-traumatic stress, which can often go undetected. Those suffering from it may not even know it. But it often surfaces in different ways and manifests itself in various behaviours.

The Friday attack might have caused trauma to many beyond the victims and their families. Some might have greater psychological resilience to combat the traumatic stress; those who don’t can collapse. Psychological resilience comes (or can be built) through social support, from community and also from organisational support. 

Organisations and workplaces should allow those employees who want to return to work to come back, but then provide them with space, time and support so they can go through their grief in their own ways. They may come back seeming fine – but this may not be the full story. They may be desensitised to violence due to multiple exposures, or simply developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Organisations can offer flexible work hours or flexible work days in times of grief to enable people to continue working. Many people will choose to come to work, rather than stay at home. Work can provide a sense of meaning and also a sense of control over their life because disaster trauma leads to a sense of loss of control (real and perceived).

Having a sense of control over some things can be emotionally strengthening because everything else seems to be very out of control. The routine nature of a job can provide a sense of normalcy, in an emotionally chaotic time.

Impact of terrorism

The altruism and demonstrations of solidarity that have been borne out of this suffering may actually unite people. That surely would be everyone’s hope. Thousands of New Zealanders have laid flowers at mosques and attended vigils in solidarity with the Muslim community. 

But not all Western media internationally have communicated this event with the same humanity that has characterised coverage in New Zealand. There will be people who see the perpetrator and feel encouraged to do the same. There will be others who see the victims and feel angry and revengeful, which means the division, ugly insensitivity and hate may find more fuel.

Terrorism is known to lead to political extremism, dividing communities with a strong feeling of “them” and “us”. This has been evident in many incidents in many countries.

So, we should take this opportunity to increase our communication with and engagement in our communities, at work and outside of it. Embrace the diversity in your organisation – talk to someone who’s different in colour, in religion, in background. 

From my own experience of losing my father in a suicide bombing during the Friday prayers in a mosque in Pakistan, I know what support can do. I had the support of my colleagues and my organisation – it helped me heal and grow.

I know many who didn’t have this support. They still suffer from post-traumatic stress, and some have gone on to be a destructive force in their own lives without realising it. There is much we can do as organisations and individuals to make people feel connected and supported, and to build their psychological resources.

Dr Fatima Junaid is a lecturer with Massey University’s School of Management.

Related articles

Opinion: Combating fears to reduce hate
Opinion: Mosque shootings – politics of hate ends our innocence

Massey ranks third in Australasia for accounting research

Source: Massey University

Professor Michael Bradbury and Professor Ahsan Habib both ranked amongst the top 10 most prolific accounting researchers in Australasia.

The Massey Business School has been ranked third in Australasia and first in New Zealand for accounting research impact and productivity. Two academics from the School of Accountancy were also ranked amongst the top 10 most prolific authors.

A peer-reviewed article, published in the academic journal Accounting and Finance, examined accounting research published in the discipline’s top 10 Australasian journals from 2015 to 2017 to identify the most cited articles and the most prolific authors.

Professor Michael Bradbury, whose research focuses on voluntary disclosure, financial reporting and analysis, auditing and International Financial Reporting Standards, was ranked the second most prolific author in the region. 

Professor Ahsan Habib, whose research interests include market-based accounting, corporate governance and auditing, was ranked 10thin the list of most published researchers.

Both professors also contributed to the Massey Business School’s third-place ranking for accounting research citations, which measures the importance and impact of research outputs. This was the highest ranking of any New Zealand university and followed only the University of Sydney and University of Queensland.

Research with impact

Massey Business School Pro-Vice Chancellor Stephen Kelly says,“We are immensely proud of Professor Bradbury and Professor Habib, along with all their colleagues in the School of Accountancy who have contributed to this outstanding result.

“At Massey we are very focused on research that has impact, both within the academic community and with industry and practitioners. To be producing work that is heavily cited by others is an indication of the value of our work in one of the largest disciplines in business research.”

Related articles

Auckland Community Accounting gets green light
Community Accounting a win-win initiative

Opinion: Combating fears to reduce hate

Source: Massey University

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with Muslim leaders at a Canterbury refugee centre.

By Professor Stephen Croucher

As an immigrant to New Zealand, I am saddened and outraged by the events in Christchurch. The apparent innocence of New Zealand has been stripped away by acts of cowardice and evil.

Police remain on high alert and authorities are still responding to events following the shootings at two mosques in Christchurch that took the lives of 50 people and seriously injured many more. Three people have been arrested, and one, an Australian living in New Zealand sporadically, has appeared in court on murder charges.

My research focuses on how members of a majority perceive a growing immigrant population, and what we can all do to keep fear and hatred in check.

Migrants target of hate 

The alleged gunman is a self-identified white supremacist. Before the attacks he posted an 87-page manifesto online. In his manifesto and social media accounts, he refers to the rise of Islam, and to towns and cities being shamed and ruined by migrants.

He posts photos of ammunition, retweets alt-right references and praises other white supremacists. The manifesto includes references to “white genocide,” which is likely a reference to a conspiracy theory embraced by the alt-right and white supremacists that “non-white” migration dilutes white nations.

The gunman’s motivations seem to echo those of other white supremacists who have committed similar atrocities: the Pittsburgh synagogue shooter, the Charlottesville attacker, the Charleston church shooter, and attackers in Sweden, Quebec and Norway. 

In each of these cases, the attackers voiced hatred toward minorities or immigrants and expressed a belief that their way of life, the “white” way, was being destroyed by these groups who were infiltrating their societies.

Over the past decade, my team has conducted research in India, France, Finland, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, analysing how members of the dominant group perceive minorities and immigrant groups. The research has shown that many dominant group members, often white Christians in the countries studied, express fear of immigrants in their nations. In particular, respondents have voiced fear of immigrants changing their cultural, political, and economic way of life.

Professor Stephen Croucher.

What we all can do

Normally such fears are benign and lead only to misunderstanding or lack of interaction. But as we have seen too often, they can lead to prejudice, hatred and much worse. 

Recently, such fears have become more visceral with the proliferation of social media platforms. With the use of social media, individuals can easily find others who share their feelings, and therefore not feel alone. The ability to find a community that shares one’s feelings provides a sense of security and validates one’s fears and feelings of hate.

In our increasingly connected world, it’s essential we take steps to combat these fears to reduce the chances of such atrocities happening in the future. First, how families talk about minorities and immigrants is critical. In work that we conducted in Finland, we found prejudicial opinions of Finns toward Russian immigrants are largely shaped during adolescence. It’s incumbent upon parents to be role models for their children and adolescents and to promote tolerance and mutual respect early.

Second, in an increasingly computer-mediated world, it is our shared responsibility to challenge racist and hateful cyber messages. If you see a YouTube clip that you deem abusive or offensive, report it.

Third, the more contact we have with each other and learn about one another, the less likely we are to fear one another. This may sound trite, but the more we know about other groups, the more likely we are to pass that information onto one another and improve overall social cohesion. In turn, we are better able to identify and challenge those bent on dividing society. It is our collective responsibility as diverse societies to recognise our diversity and to face the psychology of hate that would attack our home and us.

Professor Stephen Croucher is the head of Massey University’s School of Communication, Marketing and Journalism.

Related articles

Opinion: Mosque shootings – politics of hate ends our innocence
Opinion: Protecting religious diversity in NZ after Christchurch
Mass shootings and gun control debated
Opinion: Islamophobic? Who Me?

What’s missing from the capital gains tax debate

Source: Massey University

By Alison Pavlovich

As part of a major review of New Zealand’s tax system, the government’s Tax Working Group recommended a comprehensive capital gains tax. New Zealand is one of few countries without a capital gains tax, and the proposal has generated outrage.

Commentators have described the proposed tax as a “mangy dog”, “an envy tax”, an “attack on the Kiwi way of life” and “offensive to New Zealand values”. 

Digging deeper beyond the headline-grabbing rhetoric, some commentators have expressed concern the proposed tax will have a detrimental impact on the economy by distorting investment decisions and creating an excessive administrative burden on taxpayers and the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). There are also claims about the lack of fairness in taxing “hard earned gains” that have been built up for retirement. 

Missing from the debate is the fact that a capital gains tax should reduce income taxes for most New Zealanders.

A fairer tax system

The debate strikes at the heart of two essential elements used to assess the quality of a tax: equity and efficiency.

In order to be equitable, a tax should treat people with similar economic situations in a similar way. This is called horizontal equity. Equally, taxation should fall more heavily on those who have the ability to pay. This is referred to as vertical equity. 

These are the principles set out by the great Scottish economist Adam Smith in his 18th-century magnum opus The Wealth of Nations. In order to evaluate the tax proposals, New Zealand’s Tax Working Group used Smith’s principles of fairness alongside two distinctly New Zealand frameworks: Te Ao Māori (Māori worldview) and the Living Standards Framework. These two frameworks have been developed to guide policy makers toward the objective of inter-generational well-being, including the effect of policy on growing inequality and non-economic factors such as social and environmental capital.

Not taxing capital gains results in a failure to achieve both horizontal and vertical equity. 

Taxing passive gains

Currently, in New Zealand, some income is taxed and some is not. The income that is taxed is typically derived from personal services (“hard work”) and from investments of capital (interest, rent and dividends). The income that is not taxed is typically derived from market movement, such as capital gains on assets. 

On the whole, we have a counterintuitive approach to taxation in New Zealand where we tax “hard work” and fail to tax gains that accrue passively. Two people in similar situations are taxed differently. A person who invests in a small business that produces goods and services pays tax on all their profits, while another who invests in property that accumulates passive gains, does not. 

In a world where the accumulation of capital through passive gain is increasingly being held by a smaller group, the need to tax those gains is becoming more urgent. 

Statistics provided by the Tax Working Group indicate the taxation burden is flat across all income groups. This means our tax system does not operate according to Smith’s ability-to-pay principle. We have progressive tax rates but those in the highest income deciles enjoy much of their income in the form of tax-free capital gains. New Zealand’s failure to tax capital gains is inequitable. 

Tax efficiency

The claims that a capital gains tax is inefficient centre around administrative issues and investment distortions. The first claim has some merit – new taxes usually result in additional administration, especially early on. The second has no merit whatsoever.

For New Zealand’s economy to thrive, greater investment in the production of goods and services is required. However, these investments are often risky. And they are taxed when profitable. Hence it is a far more attractive investment proposition to invest in low-risk assets that attract little or no tax, such as land. 

Contrary to popular belief, land investment, in itself, is not a productive activity. The land is there regardless of who owns it. Someone may conduct productive activity on the land, such as farming or building houses, but the ownership itself does not produce goods or services. A capital gains tax would reduce distortion in investment choices, not increase it. 

If tax applies to gains on investment in assets as it does to business profits, it will encourage investment decisions based on where the greatest return can be made, not where tax-free gains are derived. The lack of capital gains tax has been distorting investment decisions for decades.

Impact on economy

In the longer term, it would be a positive outcome to attract some investment out of property and into production of goods and services, regardless of any possible adjustments that might occur in the short term. 

And the tax cuts? Missing from this debate entirely has been recognition of the Tax Working Group’s recommendation that the additional tax collected from a capital gains tax should be used to reduce income taxes. This is not a “tax grab” but a reallocation of the tax burden. 

If the government were to implement the recommendations of the Tax Working Group report, most New Zealanders would find themselves with an increase in their after tax income. Greater equality would seem to be more consistent with Kiwi values than the status quo.

Alison Pavlovich is an assistant lecturer with Massey University’s School of Accountancy.

Related articles

Finance 2019 focuses on capital gains tax
Opinion: Do we need a capital gains tax?

E-voting and the other ‘E’s missing in action

Source: Massey University

The president of Local Government NZ wants to introduce e-voting, but will it really lead to higher voter turnout?

By Dr Andrew Cardow and Dr Andy Asquith

We were a tad concerned to read the recently-published views of Dave Cull, the mayor of Dunedin and the president of Local Government New Zealand – the collective voice of our local authorities. He outlined the concerted attempts to introduce e-voting into local body elections – but proponents of e-voting conveniently overlook two other important ‘E’s – engagement and evidence

The argument often used, and repeated by Mayor Cull, is that the postal system is broken and online voting is the simple cure-all solution. However, not a shred of credible evidence is used to support the arguments that e-voting can compensate for the continuing decline of the postal voting system in terms of increasing voter turnout. 

It is well known that there is a low turnout in New Zealand for local elections, especially amongst ‘youth’ voters. This coincides, naturally enough, with a general lack of interest in local government brought about in part by a lack of engagement by local politicians. We can hear the wails as councillors’ huff and puff about their meeting attendances and how recognised they are in the community. We also hear the snorts of derision from the officers who work hard providing community outreach and ‘democracy services’. The problem here, though, is this: they are only really talking to themselves and the very small part of the community that is constantly engaged. The ‘chattering classes’ – such as us and those of you who are bothered enough to read this.  

Put simply, our elected councillors have low profiles amongst the wider community. One of us recently heard (yet again) a councillor state that low levels of engagement and participation was a direct result of general citizen satisfaction with both councillor and council performance. This misleading and evidence-free view can only lead to the further decline of our local democracy here in New Zealand as councillors and the institutions they serve on slowly decay and become superfluous. 

Dr Andy Asquith and Dr Andrew Cardow.

What we need is political engagement

Into this mix strides the solution of e-voting, which is hailed as the panacea to encourage turnout amongst both young people and the disenfranchised. E-voting is said to be easier than postal and physical voting so will appeal to youth and those under 50 who are too busy to fill in a voting form or turn up at a polling booth. This is simply not true. The reason people don’t vote in local elections is because they don’t see the relevance to them. Until people are aware of the role, scope and scale of our local bodies, and the multiple, important roles they play in our daily lives, they will never engage and vote, irrespective of the means and mechanisms we put in place.  

We have seen ‘evidence’ from Canada quoted as being illustrative of the benefits of e-voting. However, if you read the Canadian research, two things are striking. Those who take up e-voting are the 50-somethings, a group already inclined to vote, and that younger people prefer to vote via the ballot box, or the traditional way. However, none of this research addresses the engagement question.  

There was no discernible increase in participation. The only way to increase participation is to increase engagement. By this we mean political engagement. It is recognised that the officers provide a great deal of social engagement opportunities but, so far, such efforts have not resulted in higher voting turnouts. Just making it easier to vote will not increase the vote. 

Political engagement needs to happen first. By this we mean councillors need to make themselves visible, not just at the end of every election cycle or at local board or council meetings. Local government politicians need to ensure they are interacting with their public – us, the voters – and show they are relevant. Perhaps they could run ‘clinics’, much like their central government colleagues.  

Given that democracy is about politics and political debate, can we boldly suggest that our local politicians wrestle control of the debate around engagement, e-voting and the future of local democracy back? Otherwise we run the risk of our local democratic institutions becoming effectively local administrative institutions free from politics and debate. One thing is for sure, we need to reinvigorate our local democratic institutions because people will not vote if they see no reason to. E-voting or not.  

Dr Andrew Cardow is a lecturer with Massey University’s School of Management and Dr Andy Asquith is the programme director for Massey Business School’s Master of Public Administration.

Related articles

E-voting: No silver bullet for low voter turnout

$400K grant for new rural innovation lab

Source: Massey University

The Rural Innovation Lab will start by identifying three ‘on-farm’ innovation projects based on technologies such as cloud, big data, the internet-of-things and artificial intelligence.

Massey University has been granted $400,000 from the Government’s Provincial Growth Fund to help establish a Rural Innovation Lab in the Manawatū-Whanganui region.

The lab will engage farmers and growers across Manawatū-Whanganui to drive new thinking in the primary sector, particularly digital farm opportunities. It will also serve as a pilot initiative for the development of similar programmes across New Zealand.

“This initiative will help to develop and potentially support the commercialisation of new ideas and technologies, which will improve land use in the primary sector,” Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau says.

“For Manawatū-Whanganui in particular, land use optimisation is a central plank in the region’s economic action plan.  This project will help to unlock new economic opportunities across the region.”

The Rural Innovation Lab is being supported by many organisations, including the Palmerston North City Council, Microsoft New Zealand, Massey University, local economic development agencies and the Manawatū-Whanganui Farmers and Growers Innovation Collaborative.  

“The Rural Innovation Lab is a model example of local people, businesses and the community, progressing a project that aligns with their economic aspirations. The Government is proud to support this work,” Mr Tabuteau says.

Massey Business School Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor Stephen Kelly.

Massey contributes funding, evaluation and research expertise

Pro Vice-Chancellor of the Massey Business School Professor Stephen Kelly says the University will contribute funding, administrative support and research expertise to the ongoing evaluation of the project.

“We are holding an event at Central Districts Fieldays to start identifying at least three major ‘on-farm’ innovation projects based on technologies such as cloud, big data, the internet-of-things and artificial intelligence.” 

The projects will be chosen through a competitive process with proposals assessed by an independent panel. The criteria include increasing economic output; enhancing returns for Māori assets; contributing to the mitigation of, or adapting to, climate change; and fostering the sustainable use of natural assets.

Professor Kelly says a research team from the Massey Business School is already working on an aligned research project. 

“The Massey Business School will use its agri-tech expertise to examine the technology adoption decisions of farmers and growers, as well as the actual and potential impact of technology on sustainability within the agricultural sector. 

“The research findings will no doubt provide valuable insights for the Rural Innovation Lab projects.”

Related articles

Getting farms to adopt innovation in agriculture
Agrifood sector is tech-savvy but not ready for major disruption
Drone technology takes out Massey Innovation Award

Professor Malcolm Wright appointed to marketing chair

Source: Massey University

Matthew Abel congratulates Professor Malcolm Wright.

Professor Malcolm Wright has been appointed to the MSA Charitable Trust Chair in Marketing, one of two endowed chairs at the Massey Business School funded by business consultant, philanthropist and Massey University alumnus Matthew Abel.

Massey Business School Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Stephen Kelly says Professor Wright was selected for the position because he is a world-class scholar.

“Malcolm is one of the most prolific marketing professors in Australasia who excels in publishing, service, grants, and the advising of new academics,” he says. “In his career he has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles with over 20 in high-ranked marketing journals, and made numerous contributions to books, including authorship of the multi-edition textbook Consumer Behaviour: Applications in Marketing.

“He has also worked actively with Massey University in a variety of roles, including head of school, dean academic, and deputy pro vice-chancellor. Malcolm has spent 25 years teaching students about all aspects of marketing and supervised numerous doctoral students.”

Donation allows investment in people

Professor Kelly says he is grateful to Mr Abel for his donation to the Massey Business School as it allows the school to invest in its people.

“Academics of Malcolm’s calibre make a huge contribution to programme development, as well as teaching and mentoring students and colleagues. It’s in our best interests to keep them in New Zealand and the MSA Charitable Trust Chair makes this possible.”

Professor Wright says the MSA Chair means an enormous amount to him.

“It is a huge privilege to have been granted this honour. It will also really help my work as it signals to others the value of the projects I have been involved with,” he says. “This will help me to amplify that work and extend its application further into the marketing community.”

Over his 25-year academic career, Professor Wright has focused on evidence-based marketing, brand loyalty, new product adoption and product growth rates. His current research focus is on how information processing and memory affect consumer choice, and in particular how consumers use intuitive and deliberative thinking to process brands, concepts and environments.   

“My work includes a team of PhD students looking at aspects of this problem in areas as diverse as fairtrade labelling, climate engineering techniques, peripheral attention to tweets, and virtual reality shopping,” he says. 

He also engages with the broader marketing community through media commentary, as the chair of the Australian Advisory Board for the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science and as a director of Consumer Insights Ltd, a Massey University spin-out company focused on market research.

Mr Abel has been a long-time supporter of Massey University and his MSA Charitable Trust aims to support Massey Business School chairs until 2040. Each year the trust makes a donation to the Massey University Foundation, part of which is endowed in order to fund chairs in marketing and finance for the next 21 years.

Massey Executive MBA helps provincial businesses grow

Source: Massey University

The Massey Executive MBA team onsite with Whanganui & Partners.

Massey University’s refreshed Executive MBA programme features a more integrated approach focused on solving business problems, rather than teaching abstract academic courses in isolation. 

A key part of this approach is the new integrated project, which for the 2019 cohort, is a partnership with regional development agency Whanganui and Partners. 

“They are a business, with business problems in their own right,” says executive qualifications director Dr Patricia Bossons. “They also give us access to all the businesses in the Whanganui area, which will contribute real-world, live case material throughout the Executive MBA programme.”

Students launched into their integrated project immediately, with their first contemporary strategy session taking place in Whanganui.

“Instead of staying in the conference centre classroom where we ran the orientation day, we moved to the home of the integrated project and engaged with strategy in real time, with live business issues,” Dr Bossons says. 

“The mayor and the head of the council joined us at various times. We had a presentation from local iwi and a presentation from a group of youth representatives who are working with Whanganui and Partners to make Whanganui more attractive to its younger population.”

Design thinking in action.

Working with businesses on live problems

The contemporary strategy course, led by design thinking expert Professor Hamish Gow, gave the students concepts and tools to apply immediately to some of the business situations in front of them. 

Four local organisations participated in the programme by inviting students to visit their businesses so they could better understand the challenges they face. All demonstrated the potential of regional New Zealand in a way that surprised many of the students, Dr Bossons says.

The participating companies were an innovative safety helmet producer that has achieved a huge global reach for its product; a shop-fitting manufacturing business that works with national chains, including Mitre 10 and Countdown, and uses an exemplar lean manufacturing process; an aluminium boat builder that builds mussel barges for the Marlborough Sounds and the Waiheke and White Island ferries; and Whanganui airport, which is serviced by Chatham Airways and is largely unexploited from a business perspective. 

“We already have three students developing ideas for leveraging the business potential of the airport, and a fully engaged business leader happy to work with them,” Dr Bossons says.

Following the success of the contemporary strategy weekend, the students will revisit Whanganui as a “project” for each of their courses.

“While they might be physically back in their regional cohort groups in Albany, Wellington and Auckland Airport, they will work with a business in Whanganui on an issue that relates to the subject of the course being taught,” she says. “Whanganui and Partners will connect Executive MBA students with the best-fit business for each topic.”

Students get a briefing for their integrated project in the programme’s pop-up classroom in Whanganui.

Innovative, refreshed programme

The integrated project is just one of several innovations in the refreshed Executive MBA programme. Others include:

  • A strong focus on ethics and other leading-edge business themes, including working across cultures, digital transformation and sustainability.
  • The creation of a personalised learning journey so students become reflective practitioners as they work through the programme. This is done with specialised software that allows students to compile a portfolio of their experiences, including reflections on their experiences as they happen. The private portfolio will form the backbone of the assessment for a new course on applied personal leadership.
  • Three sessions of one-on-one executive coaching as part of the applied personal leadership course. This will allow students to identify the particular leadership development issues they want to work on. By the end of the programme, they should be able to articulate the leadership value they offer to business, in their chosen context. 
  • The applied business research project will focus on live business problems. Students will work with a real issue that has meaning for them and assessment will include a presentation of outcomes to a panel of senior executives. 

The Executive MBA also includes an international study tour and the programme is currently in discussions with overseas business schools to provide opportunities for students to take a special option course overseas.

“No other MBA in New Zealand is designed to deliver this blend of real-world application in real time,” Dr Bossons says, “and the strong thread of personal leadership development, running in parallel with the technical business subject learning, is unique.

“We want to partner even more closely with business to inform and develop the programme as we move forward so we are the programme of choice for future strategic leaders.”

Related articles

Massey Executive MBA programme heads to Whanganui