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Carl Sanders-Edwards leads a staff meeting at JumpShift.

 

Entrepreneurial consultant wins top US scholarship

Carl Sanders-Edwards’ entrepreneurial skills have seen him go from selling marmalade in Australia to advising some of the world's biggest companies.

Now, with the help of a scholarship from Fulbright New Zealand, he hopes to help young New Zealand companies succeed on the international stage by teaching them how to improve strategy and productivity.

The 34-year-old Massey University science graduate has been awarded the Fulbright Platinum Triangle Scholarship in Entrepreneurship. He will use the $100,000 award to complete a Master of Business Administration degree at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, beginning in September.

Mr Sanders-Edwards says the college has the number one entrepreneurial-based programme in the United States and is the perfect option. “My goal is to help improve productivity in New Zealand,” he says.  “Here, we work harder for less, but over the years I’ve developed methodologies to help companies work better and do the basics well.”

The grounding for those basic business skills began at Massey University, where Mr Sanders-Edwards graduated with a Bachelor of Technology with first-class honours in 1998. “My degree was in manufacturing and industrial technology, but the great thing about the degree was that it taught me many of the fundamentals required to succeed in the business world.”

This was reinforced when he started his first job, for global consulting firm Accenture. “Their new graduates get six to eight weeks worth of training before starting work and at least half of that is focused on generic skills – communications, meetings, presentations and reports. I discovered that I was already well ahead of the pack, thanks to Massey.”

After leaving Accenture, Mr Sanders-Edwards and wife Emma moved to London, where he worked for company called rightmove.co.uk. He implemented systems that saw the company grow into an 800 million pound business and floated on the stock exchange.

The move home in 2003 was punctuated by a stop in Australia, picking oranges, but his and his wife's entrepreneurial spirit led to another opportunity. “We were picking for about $1 an hour, but realised we could make much more if we used the oranges to make Cointreau marmalade,” he says. “In effect, we ended up selling the oranges back to the growers.”

Another business was started when they returned to New Zealand. Browniepoints.co.nz was a website aimed at expatriate New Zealanders living overseas who wanted to send gifts home. They ran it from Tairua on the Coromandel Peninsular for more than four years before selling it two years ago to focus on consulting.

It is the skills learned at all these stops that his current company JumpShift develops in leaders from across New Zealand and, soon, the world. “There isn’t an abundance of world-class companies here, so no one is teaching our graduates how to work effectively. The underlying capability of a business dictates whether it will be successful, and that means doing the basics well.”

The group carries out training sessions on leadership and the use of the latest technology with clients such as Fonterra. But Mr Sanders-Edwards is also focused on helping emerging businesses realise their dreams and he believes a top-class MBA from one of the entrepreneurial hotspots in the world will help.

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