Revamped MBA ensures ‘access to excellence’

The University of Auckland is incorporating unprecedented levels of flexibility into its new-look MBA for 2024 – continuing a 40-year legacy of innovation.

A number of strategic and practical measures undertaken by the University of Auckland Business School will ensure that its
MBA remains highly respected and truly world-class.

MBA Director Mike Lee says they’re not only enabling working professionals to accelerate their careers through nationwide “access to excellence”, but they’ve also created a number of brand-new courses that have previously been unavailable in a
triple crown internationally accredited MBA.

“Being NZ’s number one research-led institution, means that our MBA connects students to cutting-edge research that’s
impacting the future of business. So, we’re confident our MBA will not only prepare professionals for the future of business in Aotearoa, but also provide them with an esteemed, internationally recognised, and respected qualification,” he says.

Today’s and tomorrow’s leaders and executives must now gain the skills to navigate issues around topics such as diversity, equity, inclusiveness, as well as ESG issues.

The world is changing so quickly that many feel lost as to how they can have a conversation or even ask questions about difficult and sensitive topics without potentially causing offense, explains Lee.

“It’s a cultural, political and legal minefield out there and our MBA aims to be the radar professionals crave, as well as provide the supportive network they need.”

For the last 40 years, the University of Auckland MBA has been limited to professionals who were able to access the Auckland campus in person. However, one significant undertaking in 2024’s revamped MBA is enabling ‘Access to Excellence’.

Working with Auckland Online, a business unit set up by The University of Auckland to deliver specialised online learning, Lee says “allows people who live outside of Auckland access to our world-class MBA programme.”

Mike Lee adds they’ve worked tirelessly to make the University of Auckland MBA not only more accessible through a ‘remote first’ philosophy, but also more flexible, in terms of converting content that once would have taken the form of ‘oneway’ half-day lectures, into “bite-sized digital assets”.

“Now students can access the same rigorous content in smaller, more digestible chunks anytime and anywhere,” says Lee. “But deciding what and how to convert some content into digital assets was only half the battle. We’ve also worked hard to retain the best elements of peer-to-peer learning and the interactive and highly-engaging instructor-led discussions and activities that any world-class MBA is known for.”

Making something more convenient does not always have to equate to dumbing it down, Lee adds. “For students worried about the isolation and lack of motivation in an online programme, our new digitally enhanced MBA provides instructors with much better technology in terms of keeping track of student progress, which will not only enable students to be more accountable for their own learning, but will also provide instructors and support staff with earlier signals to check in on students and nudge them at the right time to stay on track.”

For anyone worried about the loss of ‘networking opportunities’ in an online programme, The University of Auckland Business School will continue to offer in-person events – such as a twoday Wānanga during the Te ao Māori business course, Optional In-person Intensives (OIIs) such as a two-day maths refresher bootcamp, Intergenerational MBA Alumni networking events, and the University’s renowned one-week overseas study tour.

“The ‘Remote First’ philosophy is not about devaluing the in-person experience, it’s about ensuring that people are not unfairly disadvantaged simply because they do not live within driving distance of Auckland,” says Lee.

Michael Oosthuizen, Engineering Reliability Manager for Lion, The Pride Brewery, had 18 years of FMCG experience in the brewing industry and was looking to diversify into general management. He says completing his MBA gave him the confidence to take on more challenging roles within the organisation.

“I was looking for a qualification that was different from any of my previous technical qualifications and thought that an MBA would give me insight into other aspects of an organisation that I’m less familiar with,” he recalls.

“It was never about scoring good grades and always about gaining comprehension so that I could apply my new learnings at work, which made me work hard to ensure I understood the new concepts.”

Oosthuizen says he enjoyed making lifelong friends with like-minded people and being challenged to go outside his comfort zone.

To learn more about the University of Auckland Business School MBA click here.


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