Maree Haddon-Silby

Chief Financial Officer / The Wise Group

Key Info

  • Master of Business Administration (with Distinction)
  • Bachelor of Management Studies
  • Business & Management
  • Accounting

For Maree Haddon, Chief Financial Officer of the Wise Group, studying for her Master of Business Administration was life’s short cut.

“I wanted to break into a different type of role, and figured the MBA would help jump-start me,” she says. “I chose Waikato because the management school has a great reputation, and I liked being able to connect with the cohort locally.”

Over two years she loved the interaction with other students – testing ideas and theories. “I loved that it wasn’t just learning from a book, it really was getting an understanding of topics from industry experts.”

She says this style of learning has enabled her to better solve real-world problems in her job at the Wise Group.

Maree found the MBA both interactive and engaging, and was surprised by how easily she was able to keep motivated to study.

“The topics were mostly genuinely interesting so it was sometimes a case of needing to stop rather than to start!"

“For me, the biggest benefit of the MBA was what it did to my thought process. It’s like your brain is ripped open and rewired. You start looking at things differently. It really helps you tackle problems from a different angle."

"That is what will help the most with my career, becoming a more dynamic problem solver.”

Somewhat surprisingly, Covid didn’t have too much impact on her learning – apart from having to switch to online delivery, and the ‘international global business experience’ part of the MBA programme had to be substituted with a trip to Queenstown instead, “which was still amazing”.

Blending her studies in with life, work and family was a juggling act, and a true test of her time management skills, says Maree.

“I found having a clear plan that broke down the bigger assignments into smaller steps helped. I also set aside a dedicated block of time each week. For me, it was Friday afternoons. That way it felt like another meeting, not something I was choosing to do.”

“It was an odd feeling when I finished my MBA – I was relieved but definitely found myself looking around thinking ‘what next?’. Your brain becomes used to absorbing more knowledge.”

For those who have doubts about their ability to go the distance, Maree’s advice is to give it a go: “Trust me, you will surprise yourself, and once it's done, you’ll be so glad you pushed through."

This story was republished with the kind permission of NZBusiness magazine.

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