Before Otago MBA
"A couple of stars aligned for me which resulted in doing an MBA at Otago. Firstly my wife and I had a baby boy and were learning how to be parents and secondly I had retired from playing hockey with the national men's team. Hockey required us to be living in Auckland and once this was out of the picture raising a boy with no family support meant Auckland was not the ideal location. A job transfer within ACC, my employer, was offered in Dunedin and both my wife and I jumped at the chance – from a lifestyle perspective, having a job and of course the University. Both of us completed our undergraduate studies here so knew what the University offered. Although Dunedin is a different city as a local as opposed to being a student."
Why Otago MBA?
"How did I come to be doing my MBA? At the time I was heavily weighted, both work and study, towards health sciences and I felt my business knowledge was an area that I required greater understanding. Doing my homework, a part time MBA appeared to be manageable from both my employment and family perspective, plus the MBA was going to fast-track a greater range of knowledge. Otago was an easy option as it was right on my doorstep and class timings fitted around work commitments (to a degree). Essentially the MBA I saw as an opportunity to experience a wide range of business facets and offer the potential to diversify my employment options."
Highlights at Otago MBA
"The highlights were numerous, now having completed the study and in hindsight. Many diverse people that offered a different take on how I viewed things, challenging situations and numerous introductions to excellent business people. The live case study and project were definitely a challenge and a highlight. Having to deliver a product that took a lot of hard work and hopefully offered something useful to the client."
Life after graduation
After completing the MBA James secured a job with the company he completed my 540 project with, Siliconcoach, a sports technology company based here in Dunedin. He worked as a business development manager for their online learning product called Bracken. This consisted of managing a group of existing customers from the education, sports and commercial sectors and of course developing sales (everyone a salesperson). "Being in a small technology company, compared to a large government corporation, meant that I was calling on a wide variety of the MBA information on a daily basis. Changes happen and the difference, good or bad, is seen rather quickly…"
Siliconcoach was rebranded as The Tarn Group in 2015. James' training at the Otago MBA has served him well - he proved his worth with his employer and rose through the ranks. In November 2016, he took over the helm at the Tarn Group to become its Chief Executive Officer. The Tarn Group has now four products - Bracken, Dialed In Motion, PnO Data Solutions and Siliconcoach.
James' plan for the future is to bring the company into the international arena. He is looking overseas, particularly to sporting organisations and partnerships, to sell the product of the Tarn Group outside of New Zealand. It made sense for Australia to be the first step. Once again, the strong international business focus of the Otago MBA has come in very useful.