'I had reached a point where I really wanted to stretch myself both personally and professionally...'
Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, The New Zealand Merino Company Ltd
Immediately prior to beginning his MBA at UC, Peter spent three years working for a stockbroker in London and prior to this, spent 11 years with Trust Bank Canterbury in Christchurch, both largely finance-related roles.
‘I realised that I had reached a point where I really wanted to stretch myself both personally and professionally and be in a position to contribute to an organisation at more than just a financial level,’ he says.
‘One of the key drivers for doing my MBA at Canterbury University was the UC approach where personal and leadership development is considered just as important as the academic content, and where theory is balanced with practical applications. I knew the Canterbury MBA programme had a great reputation in business circles and I personally knew a number of people that had been through the programme.
‘I thoroughly enjoyed the 18 or so months that I spent with friends there, both students and lecturers, and wouldn’t hesitate to do it again if the clock was wound back. Yes it is hard work, but like most things in life you get out of it what you put into it!
‘I have made a number of professional and personal contacts through the MBA which continue to be of value today. But it goes beyond that – the doors that the MBA has opened for me since I completed the degree have resulted in many professional and personal connections that have helped with my continued development, and that otherwise may not have occurred. The MBA has helped me take my career to another level.’
Upon completing the MBA Peter joined The New Zealand Merino Company, which was moving into a time of fundamental change, as Chief Financial Officer. Since then Peter’s role has grown to also include the role of Chief Operating Officer, allowing him opportunities to make big contributions to the growth of the company.
‘I led the transition of the company from a $5 million annual turnover, levy-funded organisation into the $150 million annual turnover, fully-commercial company that it is today,’ he says. We have transformed New Zealand Merino fibre from being a discounted commodity into a premium-branded differentiated product demanded by high end apparel markets. What is exciting is that we are now following a similar strategy to the adjacencies of merino meat and strong wool, and into broader primary sector opportunities.
‘My role with the company has now evolved into more of a general management one. I am still responsible for financial management, strategic planning, and new business development, but am also now responsible for human resources as well as overall operations for the company.
‘The MBA delivered on what I was looking to it for – to stretch myself personally and professionally and through this be able to add significantly more value to an organisation. Add to this the fact that it genuinely was a fun experience!’