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Award winner seeks positive change in outdoor industry

Wednesday 6 April 2022 2:55pm

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Anna Smoothy says winning the Neville C Bain award was a 'truly humbling' experience.

Masters of Administration (MBA) student Anna Smoothy received the Neville C Bain Award and reflects upon the journey that led her here.

“My career goal is to instigate positive changes within the environmental social governance performance of the outdoor industry,” Anna says.

Her MBA journey started as an “exercise in credentialism” and a pathway to get her next Switzerland visa but she instead found a “comprehensive education experience” that was in line with her goals.

“I was working as the Head of Marketing for a Swiss ski company and French apparel brand but was experiencing visa difficulties because my undergraduate degree was in radiology, not commerce,” Anna says.

“To get my next visa I had the option of getting any kind of marketing certificate, but I decided that a more strategic move was to develop my business acumen more holistically.”

That thinking inspired Anna to pursue a MBA at the University of Otago and led to her receiving the Neville C Bain award.

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Anna had been working as the Head of Marketing for a Swiss ski company and French apparel brand prior to doing her MBA at Otago.

“This acknowledgement has been truly humbling; I have taken almost two years off of work to complete my MBA and so the financial component of this prize is hugely helpful to me,” Anna says.

During her course, Anna was particularly interested in “learning about sustainable enterprise, strategy, international business and especially economics”.

“I understand that Dr Neville Bain was an expert in economics and so that makes receiving his prize even more gratifying,” she says.

“Thank you so very much for this award, I feel very lucky to have received it.”

Anna has a background in professional skiing and is currently working part-time as the host of the Freeride World Tour (FWT) while completing her final MBA paper.

In this paper Anna’s will be investigating the circular economy by questioning whether outdoor clothing rental services are sustainable.

She will be completing this research on behalf of the company Cirkel Supply Co and in association with Patagonia and Houdini.

To see more of Anna’s work, check out her short films EAST WEST, Zermatt to Verbier .

Written by the Otago Business School Communications Adviser, Kelsey Schutte.