The Divisional Office is the managerial and administrative hub of the University of Otago Business School and the Division of Commerce. On this page you'll find brief profiles and contact details for:
Reception and general enquiries
Ground Level, Commerce Building
Cnr Clyde St and Union Pl East
PO Box 56
Dean and Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Commerce)
Professor Maree Thyne is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of Commerce at the University of Otago and a Professor of Marketing. Before taking up the role of PVC in February 2023, Maree was Head of the Department of Marketing.
Maree's research focus is consumer behaviour, in particular tourist behaviour. She has over 20 years' experience in examining tourists' needs and wants, determining how we can best meet these to provide a satisfying experience. Encompassing an extensive global network, Maree has led international research projects into several areas including examining the impact of tourists interacting with other tourists; the changing nature of cultural tourists; and understanding cruise tourist motivations. Working closely with businesses, Maree has led significant curriculum development around ensuring students are able to apply marketing theory to real business problems.
Maree supervises graduate students at the Masters and PhD level and is on the editorial board of numerous international journals including Journal of Travel Research, Tourism Management Perspectives and Australasian Marketing Journal.
Associate Dean – Pacific (part-time)
Esmay is the Associate Dean – Pacific, appointed to the Division of Commerce in December 2017. Her role is to provide leadership and strategic advice in the Business School on all matters relating to the University's Pacific Strategic Framework 2013–2020, and the latest PSF 2022–2030. She is based in the Divisional Office with her team of Pacific student support staff.
Esmay supports Pacific students also in the Division. She has been a Professional Practice Fellow at the University College of Education, responsible for coordinating and teaching Pacific content. In 2018, she was a recipient of the Ako Aotearoa Pacific Professional Development Fund Award and is a member of the Ako Aotearoa Pacific Peoples' Caucus Governance Board.
Associate Dean – Academic (part-time)
Richard leads teaching and learning activities in the Business School, with a particular focus on undergraduate. He is involved in oversight of the regulations for papers and degrees and involved in the academic boards in the Business School and the University. He has an input into the student facing services the Business School and University offer.
Richard belongs to the Department of Management. He is a Chartered Manufacturing Engineer and has held several technical and managerial positions within Aerospace manufacture. After spending more than thirteen years in the UK Aerospace industry, Richard moved to academia.
Associate Dean – Postgraduate Research
Professor Lisa McNeill is responsible for the oversight of the Business School's Postgraduate research programmes. She supervises the admission of students into the postgraduate programmes and leads initiatives involving postgraduate programmes, including curricula, recruiting and student relations.
Lisa teaches Innovation and New Product development, and Advanced Research Methods in the Department of Marketing, and her research focuses on sustainability in consumer behaviour, innovation and brand development, retail atmospherics and consumer decision making.
Associate Dean – Research (part-time)
Kirsten leads the Business School's research committee; liaises with staff to support and to encourage new research initiatives; and represents the Business School in the wider University (and beyond).
Kirsten teachers Societal Issues in Marketing and Consumer behaviour in the Department of Marketing. Her research explores the influence of marketing on well-being, in particular, that of vulnerable individuals; it raises ethical and regulatory concerns and stresses the need for businesses to be proactive in protecting individuals who lack agency.
Feel free to contact her directly on issues related to research policy.
Dr Jin Yi (Louisa) Choe
Associate Dean – Māori | Manutaki Tuarua – Māori
Associate Professor Ruckstuhl is the Kaitohutohu of the Otago Business School's Te Maea: Māori and Indigenous Economy and Enterprise Network.
She leads a number of research projects, including in the Science for Technological Innovation National Science Challenge, where she is the Vision Mātauranga deputy leader of the Challenge and co-leads the Building New Zealand's Innovation portfolio.
She is also the Associate Director Māori on the Dodd-Walls Centre of Research Excellence. Her broader research focuses on innovation and Māori business, resource extraction, energy transition and Māori policy.
Associate Dean – International
Associate Professor Leah Watkins is responsible for developing the internationalisation strategy for the Otago Business School. In liaison with DVC External Engagement and the International Office, this role includes oversight of the student exchange programme, as well as other international initiatives that build the international focus of students and staff at Otago Business School. An important part of the role is academic leadership of international initiatives, ensuring the best use is made of both existing networks and establishment of new international collaborations.
Leah is based in the Marketing Department, where she teaches Consumer Behaviour, Market Research and Marketing Communications. Her research area focuses on two main areas: Culture and Consumer Behaviour – specifically the influence of culture on consumption and cross cultural research methodologies; and Marketing and Society - specifically consumer values and lifestyles, sustainable consumption, and children's consumer socialisation.
Feel free to contact her directly on issues related to international collaboration, research and teaching.
Associate Dean – Postgraduate Programmes (part-time)
Neil chairs' the Business School's Postgraduate Teaching & Learning Committee; and liaises with Department's to support developments and quality in the taught postgraduate programmes.
Neil works in the Department of Tourism. His research encompasses a variety of interests that utilise tourism and leisure experiences as a cross-disciplinary lens through which to view behaviour; with a particular emphasis on children and families, identity formation, risk, gender, animals (particularly, but not exclusively, dogs) and animal rights, zoos, freedom, and sex and the sexual.
Feel free to contact him directly on issues related to taught postgraduate programmes.
Executive Assistant to Pro-Vice-Chancellor
As Executive Assistant, Fiona provides high-level confidential executive support and is the first point of contact for the Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Commerce.
Fiona manages the Pro-Vice-Chancellor's appointments, meetings, and email correspondence, including administrative processes for other Committees and Working Groups supported by the PVC Commerce.
Senior Manager Client Services
As Senior Manager Client Services, Kath's role is to ensure the smooth running of the Business School. Leading the professional staff in the Divisional Office, she is responsible for the administrative management of the Business School.
Graham's role is to provide strategic financial and non-financial information to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor and the Director Administration, and to ensure the funding allocation, budgets, compliance issues and other financial activities of the school are coordinated effectively. He also provides support and advice to the Departments managing the financial resources within the School.
Associate Finance, Divisional Finance (Humanities and Commerce)
Richa's role is to provide a range of financial advisory activities including month end accounting, financial reporting and analysis, budgeting and forecasting. Monitoring cost saving initiatives and efficiencies. She also provides support and advice on operational matters to department heads within the school.
Specialist, Academic Committees and Services
Rebecca is the Specialist, Academic Committees and Services, embedded within the Division of Commerce.
Rebecca's responsibilities include supporting staff within the Division through the academic approvals process by advising and assisting in the preparation of academic proposals, servicing the Commerce Divisional Board and University Committees, assisting with Annual Programme reporting, the GYR process, External Moderation, and Course Variations for undergraduate students.
Kaiāwhina Māori | Māori student support
Ben is the Kaiāwhina Māori (Māori student support) for Te Kura Pākihi | Otago Business School. He is able to answer any questions you may have about studying here at the University of Otago. He can provide information about scholarships, campus services, pastoral and financial care. Ben is also here to support those students who are studying away from their whānau, hapū and iwi, to ensure they feel safe and supported. He has a passion for the development of Rangatahi and understands the struggles that can come with academic life.
Pacific Islands' Student Academic Adviser (part-time)
Esmay is passionate about the retention and academic success of local and international Pacific students. Esmay's role is to liaise with academic departments and Student Services with respect to any issues relating to Pacific students and their course of study. Esmay supports both staff and students in the Business School and has a network of contacts with other divisions around the University.
Pacific Student Support Facilitator (part-time)
Viena is of Tongan descent and is one of the Pacific Student Support Facilitators responsible for all first-year Pacific students in the division. Viena is a University of Otago, Humanities and Commerce graduate and is currently completing a Postgraduate Commerce degree in International Business.
Pacific Student Support Facilitator (part-time)
Jekope works part time in the Divisional Office at the Otago Business School, Division of Commerce. He is of Fijian descent and is the other Pacific Student Support Facilitator responsible for all second-year Pacific students in the division. Maiono is a University of Otago Commerce graduate, also studying towards a PhD degree in the Division of Humanities.
Commerce Pacific Projects
Antonio is responsible for co-ordinating the OBS Pacific Incubation Programme Entrepreneurship (PIPE) Outreach.
Business Accreditation Manager
Theresa is responsible for the management of the School's accreditation and Assurance of Learning (AoL) process, and provides support to the academic leaders. The School holds discipline and School specific accreditation including EFMD Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).
Internship Programme Manager
Julie is responsible for coordinating the Business School's Internship Programme. She liaises closely with students interested in the prospects of an internship, and connects with the New Zealand business community, meeting business people to talk about the Internship Programme and other opportunities on offer through the Otago Business School. Julie manages the Commerce Employability Programme, designed to assist Commerce students prepare for the workforce, liaising closely with the Career Development Centre when delivering this series of events.
Academic Adviser – International and Online Learning
Sally is responsible for coordinating and overseeing international activities within the Otago Business School from an operational point of view. She assists with the development of strategy and policies, and their implementation, and also provides a liaison function between the Otago Business School and the International Office, as well as within the Otago Business School.
Academic Leader International (part-time)
Dr Mariela Carvajal is an Academic Leader International at Otago Business School and is responsible for providing academic support to international students. Working as a complement to the International Office, she assists students regarding study programmes, course planning and academic information. Her role also includes to seek professional existing support and services within the University to help international students.
Mariela works in the Department of Accountancy and Finance. She teaches Financial Accounting at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and her research interests are in the areas of financial reporting, accounting disclosure, environmental accounting and corporate governance.
Feel free to contact her directly on issues related to international students, teaching and research.