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Business leader gifts $500K to support Waikato’s premier business degree

17 January 2019

Business entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Falkenstein.

Prominent New Zealand businessman and philanthropist Tony Falkenstein (ONZM) has pledged a half-million dollar donation to enable students at the University of Waikato’s Management School to travel overseas and gain hands-on exposure to global business innovation.

The overseas study tour is part of a new capstone paper in Waikato’s well-regarded four-year Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours degree. This and other changes to the degree will more clearly place the BMS(Hons) as New Zealand’s premier business degree for aspiring CEOs and entrepreneurs to succeed internationally.

In their final year, all BMS(Hons) students will take the paper ‘Understanding Global Business Practice’ so they can discover the practical challenges of operating a business in offshore markets, and learn more about global strategic thinking and cutting-edge business innovations. As part of the overseas study tour, students will visit one or more countries and have the opportunity to visit a number of successful businesses.

The revised BMS(Hons) degree programme will be offered to new students from February 2019.

Mr Falkenstein is the founder and chief executive of Just Water International Ltd, a pioneering NZX-listed company that supplies drinking water coolers and filters to workplaces across New Zealand.

A member of Waikato Management School’s business advisory board, Mr Falkenstein is an outspoken champion of innovation and entrepreneurship in business, having been inducted to the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame in 2008.

Professor Tim Coltman, Dean of Waikato Management School, says Mr Falkenstein’s $500,000 donation is the largest of its kind to directly benefit students since the school was founded in 1972.

“We feel privileged to be working with Tony, who is one of New Zealand’s most successful entrepreneurs. We are extremely grateful for Tony’s generous financial support, which will go a long way towards enriching our students’ educational experience,” says Professor Coltman.

“The overseas study tour will bring classroom learning to life and ensure our students graduate with an advanced understanding of global business practice. It will also lift their aspirations beyond the ordinary and inspire them to become business leaders on a global scale. We believe this collaboration with business and refresh of the renowned BMS(Hons) degree will also excite our next generation of learners.”

Mr Falkenstein says, “As an advisory board member I am delighted to see Waikato Management School thinking outside the square, and providing refreshed business courses that will enhance the success of today’s students.”

“For a long time I have been a passionate supporter of business education as being the key to New Zealand’s future economic and social prosperity. A course which allows students to ‘open their eyes’ to global business opportunies through overseas travel is something I would like to see as the standard in every student’s education,” says Mr Falkenstein.

Waikato Management School is ranked in the top 1% of all business schools globally, having held the prestigious Triple Crown accreditation from EQUIS, AMBA and AACSB since 2005. Waikato is also ranked in the world’s top 200 universities for Accounting & Finance and Business & Management Studies in the QS World University Subject Rankings 2018.


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