Blake Johnson

Operations Product Owner, Placemakers - Auckland, New Zealand

Key Info

  • Master of Business and Management
  • Bachelor of Science
  • Business & Management
  • Computer Science

Since graduating with a Master of Business and Management at Waikato University, Blake Johnson has landed his dream job in Auckland as an operations product owner for Placemakers.

The former Hillcrest High School student says he would never have had the opportunity to work for the company without first gaining an MBM degree from Waikato.

“This role is an incredible opportunity for me to learn and grow. My colleagues constantly inspire me with their intelligence and strategic thinking,” says Blake.

“I’m excited to be able to use my business, management and computer science knowledge. Ultimately, I plan on becoming a senior project manager.”

“The use of technology is always growing and changing so it’s exciting to be keeping up with the fast pace. Information technologies have an essential role in all businesses and it’s only going to keep expanding.”

A few years back, Blake was still finishing his computer science degree. He decided to undertake the one-year Waikato MBM straight after that to complement his existing IT skillset and enable him to reach his career goal of becoming a senior project manager.

“The 12-month MBM master’s degree didn’t require me to have done any previous business study, so it was the perfect option for me.”

“Broader business projects have marketing, financial and organisational impacts, and impacts based on leadership. All these aspects were covered in the course using a mix of both theory and practical activities that gave me the knowledge, skills and confidence I needed to manage any project.”

During the course, Blake took part in an action learning project competition, where teams were required to create and pitch a business plan in a 'Dragon's Den' style environment. It required them to apply skills such as strategic decision-making, managing staff and stakeholder relationships, sales and marketing, and financial information.

“For me, seeing a project come to completion and watching my team grow is very rewarding, and it’s what keeps me going.”

“I’d definitely recommend the MBM to anyone looking to complement their existing skills. It’s certainly helped me to achieve my dream job.”

Blake thoroughly enjoyed the degree as he says it constantly felt as though the things he was learning were relevant to the direction he wanted to go.

He thinks the key to making the most of your university experience is to build and develop networks within the industry.

“Seek the opportunity to get involved with an external businesses whether that’s through an internship or work experience. It’ll help tie everything that you’ve learnt together.”

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