The Waikato Management School (WMS) at the University of Waikato’s Tauranga campus was humming with aspiring leaders last week as more than 40 Year 13 students from 10 Bay of Plenty secondary schools came together to partake in the first face-to-face hub day for the WMS Leadership Academy.
WMS launched the academy as a pilot in term one with high school students across Bay of Plenty and Waikato regions. The programme is designed for ambitious, self-motivated students, supporting them to become stronger leaders who are better equipped to make a positive difference in their school, future careers and communities.
Anchal Sharma from Whakatane High School joined the programme because she wanted to grow as a leader. The deputy head girl, prefect and community advocate says she wants to use the skills to help reach her dream of becoming a surgeon.
“The messages I’ve learned so far are unique and I’ll take this with me through life. I’m mindful of what it takes to become a leader, and what type of leader people want to follow,” she says.
Throughout the programme, students benefit from world-class leadership concepts and training and also complete the WMS flagship first-year paper, Introduction to Leadership Communication which means they will have one credit if they go to university.
Anchal, who is also enrolled in Lifespan Development and Writing for Academic Success at the University, encouraged students who get the opportunity to be part of the Leadership Academy to “take it”.
“Even if you have the smallest interest in leadership, this programme opens up your mind to new concepts that you can use in many ways.”
Thursday’s event, led by WMS Distinguished Alumni Jamie Fitzgerald, was packed with inspiring talks, leadership coaching and networking, as well as interactive sessions which brought to life the leadership theory students learned in their tutorials.
Jamie is CEO of the consultancy business, Inspiring Performance and an avid adventurer who has walked unaided to the South Pole and holds the world record for rowing across the Atlantic Ocean.
Mikaere Smith, Head of Future Pathways; Māori and Pasifika Mentor at Aquinas College, told students to enjoy the opportunity.
“You’ve put in a lot of hard work and you’re on the next transitional stage of your life. Thanks to the university for showcasing this talent.”
Meanwhile, Katikati College Year 12 Dean, Graeme Vallely wished the initiative was around when his children went to school.
“Seeing students go through this journey; the outcomes and the rewards, are fantastic.”
Another student was using their final year of high school to get a head start on university.
Jacques Van Rinsvelt, prefect of Tauranga Boys’ College is enrolled in Economics for Business and Management, Introduction to New Zealand Law and Society, Critical Thinking, and the Leadership Academy paper.
“My school did a good job of showing there were no limitations, so I thought I’d go for it and prepare myself for university as much as possible.”
WMS Pro Vice-Chancellor Matt Bolger says WMS, ranked number one in New Zealand for business and economics, focuses on empowering people to grow thriving businesses in a thriving society, in a thriving world.
“It may be cliche but these students are going to be our leaders in the future, and we want to empower them to grow so they can make an even bigger impact in the world,” Matt says.
The Waikato Hub Day was held last week at the Hamilton campus. Cohorts from both hub days will come together in Hamilton for a Summit in August for the conclusion of the programme.