Business leader gifts $500K to support business degree

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New Zealand businessman and philanthropist Tony Falkenstein 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 four-year Bachelor of Management Studies with Honours degree. 

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 from this year.

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, Falkenstein was inducted to the New Zealand Business Hall of Fame in 2008.

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

“The overseas study tour will bring classroom learning to life and ensure our students graduate with an advanced understanding of global business practice,” Coltman said. “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.”

Falkenstein said: “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.”

Waikato Management School is ranked in the top 1 percent of all business schools globally, having held the prestigious Triple Crown accreditation from EQUIS, AMBA and AACSB since 2005. 

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