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Student story

Sarah How - recipient

22 January 2024

Sarah, an ambitious MBA student working in New Zealand's food and fibre sector, embarked on her MBA journey after a defining moment in her professional life.


Sarah recognised the vast potential for growth and innovation in her industry, but also acknowledged the pressing challenges related to sustainability – environmental, economic, and social. Observing the industry's tendency to operate within an echo chamber of ideas and opinions, she felt the need to break free from this limiting environment and seek fresh perspectives through an MBA.

Opting for the University of Canterbury (UC) for her MBA studies, Sarah found its course structure and content to be refreshingly future-focused and relevant compared to other traditional programs. UC's emphasis on accommodating "hybrid" students who could attend classes virtually due to family and work commitments resonated well with her.

However, what truly set Sarah's MBA experience apart was the prestigious Ben Gough Family Foundation Leaders Scholarship she was awarded. While the financial support was invaluable, the scholarship's additional offerings made it exceptional. Recipients like Sarah were not only embraced into the Gough family Office network but also provided with personalised mentoring from remarkable individuals drawn from the Ben Gough Family Foundation and Family Office circles. This unique aspect of the scholarship introduced Sarah to the concept of "authentic" networks and the inherent value they held in shaping meaningful opportunities.

Halfway through her MBA journey, Sarah had already reaped significant benefits from the scholarship. It served as a powerful confidence booster, inspiring her to fully dedicate herself to personal and professional growth. Beyond academic excellence, the scholarship provided her with a clear direction for her long-term career goals. Through her mentor Phil Veal, Sarah learned to strategically leverage her learnings and experiences to realise her aspirations.

The coaching and mentorship offered through the scholarship had a transformative effect on Sarah's approach to success. She gained insights into alternative pathways to achieve her ambitions and became more ambitious and driven than ever before. The UC MBA experience as a whole contributed to Sarah's newfound self-assurance, instilling in her the belief that she could drive meaningful change in her industry.

As a result of the MBA experience and mentorship, Sarah's confidence in driving change has grown, and she now aims higher than ever before in her professional journey. The overall UC MBA experience has empowered her to seek different pathways to success and provided the tools to make a significant impact in her industry.

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