Michael Sparrow

Issues Manager / Department of Conservation - Wellington, New Zealand

Key Info

  • Masters of Business and Management

Michael Sparrow worked as a fitness instructor and blackjack dealer before realising his true passion was to enter the business world.

After completing the Master of Business and Management (MBM) at Waikato University, Michael has now found his dream job as an issues manager for the Department of Conservation in Wellington.

Michael's role is to support the management of operational issues alongside the director of national operations.

“I’m really enjoying it and there’s a bright future ahead," he says. “I wouldn’t have been able to get the job I’m in now without the MBM degree, so it has definitely advanced my career professionally.”

The ex-Tauranga man had studied zoology, medicine and astronomy before realising none of them were the right fit for him.

“I was thinking about starting my own personal fitness studio at the time, so I wanted to learn about all aspects of running a business, and give myself the best possible chance of success.”

After comparing his options, he chose the one-year MBM at Waikato Management School because of its world-class reputation.

“It’s hard to put a price on what I’ve learned from the Waikato MBM. It provides you with a broad range of skills across all areas of business, which you can then apply to real-world situations through all the practical assignments.”

“My confidence and leadership skills also grew markedly throughout the course. I was often put in leadership roles and learned how to coach people to reach their full potential.”

Michael says he really enjoyed the Action Learning Project, where students work in small teams. “Having to design an entire business plan from scratch, and presenting it to judges in a Dragon’s Den-style judging format, taught me a lot about how to create a successful business.”

Michael also completed an internship at Tainui Group Holdings Ltd, a $1.3 billion organisation with investments in energy, dairy, technology, retail, tourism, an inland port, and much more. “The skills and experience I gained from working at Tainui have been invaluable to my career,” he says.

“Through the MBM course, I’ve made new friends all over the world, as well as learning how to interact with people who have different cultural beliefs and values, which is very useful in the workplace.”

Since then, Michael has also appeared on television as a contestant in the first series of Survivor New Zealand, where he made it into the top five.

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