Celebrating 40 years of the MBA

On Friday 20 October 2023, a special gathering of alumni, students and staff celebrated the fortieth anniversary of our prestigious MBA programme.

Past MBA students from cohorts spanning the last 4 decades came together to reminisce and reflect on the last 40 years, connecting with staff past and present.

MBA Director, Associate Professor Mike Lee, mc’d the night, and alumni guest speakers from each decade shared their memories of the MBA, and the impact it had on their lives.

Trailblazer, Dr Lee Mathias, took us right back to the 80’s, even donning one of her outfits from the decade for the occasion (complete with shoulder pads!). Lee was part of only the second group ever to study for an MBA in New Zealand, and one of only five women in her class, she was also pregnant and working full time, while studying – a real rarity in those days. She went on to found Birthcare, New Zealand’s first primary maternity facility, which was based on her MBA entrepreneurial group project in the class of ’85. Grant Ellis, longtime CFO of Restaurant Brands and 2019 Deloitte Top 200 CFO of the Year and Bruce Gordon, former PushPay CEO, and finalist in the IBM Most Inspiring Individual Award at the NZ Hi-Tech Award 2020, both spoke about the advances in technology over the years, and how the core learnings from their MBA stuck with them through their careers. And Joanna Simon, CEO Starship Foundation, spoke about how she is using her MBA for good.

Our MBA program has equipped you with the tools to achieve excellence, thrive under complexity, create value, and drive change. Hopefully, it has also enabled you to make better decisions, enhanced your leadership skills, and inspired you to continue to learn and grow. It's this commitment to lifelong learning that has undoubtedly contributed to your success and the success of this program over the past four decades.

Mike Lee, MBA Director

See photos from the evening below: