Ruma Karaitiana


CEO Building & Construction Industry Training Organisation

Building New Zealand's Future

Ruma Karaitiana is Chief Executive of BCITO, Building & Construction Industry Training Organisation. Ruma leads this nationwide company which has fifteen offices around the country, and is responsible for developing and implementing industry qualifications for the building and construction sector. He has come a long way from beginning his working life as an art teacher, but his passion for education has come full circle and Ruma now uses his Massey MBA to develop his team and even mentor others through their MBA experience.

Motivation for MBA

Having worked in several different industries and managed more than one successful business throughout his career, Ruma had plenty of hands on business experience, he realised however, in order to enhance his experience and consolidate his knowledge he needed some formal academic training.

A chance meeting with some friends who had recently completed their MBAs started his thinking. After some research, Ruma decided to apply for the Massey MBA. The accessibility and the flexibility of the programme worked really well for him. Ruma had previously completed an undergraduate degree at Massey and was familiar with the quality of the university.
Experience of programme

Although working, having a family and studying was challenging Ruma believes it was all well worth the effort.

“It was the keystone that pulled it all together for me,” says Ruma.

One of the things that made the whole experience really worthwhile for him was getting to meet and to know a group of like-minded individuals all going through a similar experience.

“I expected to get value out of meeting others doing the course and I really did. We formed close bonds within our study group, the relationships continued long after we finished the course and I even worked in a consultancy role with one of them, the contacts you make are really valuable in the long term.”

Massey keeps class and study group sizes small to allow strong relationships to develop and grow. “Some of the others in the class were really inspirational, I thought I was busy until I learned one of my group was doing a PHD, lecturing and doing and an MBA on the weekends.”

Of course it was a lot of hard work and Ruma believes that people do need to have some realism around what they are committing to and the demands that the course will make on them.

“You definitely need to have some control and discipline but doing the course enhances and develops these attributes. My advice to anyone thinking about it would be to stop thinking and just do it,” says Ruma.

Ruma thrived in the collaborative environment encouraged by the MBA lecturers; there was plenty of lively arguing and robust debates. “We were definitely encouraged to participate and challenge what we learned and we really did.

“The ability to contextualise the learning was the key for me, it’s never enough simply to memorise theory.”


Learning about the sound theoretical underpinning of business processes and procedures has had a profound impact on Ruma’s career. “The thing that has surprised me most is the transferability of the knowledge, the core body of knowledge is applicable to every industry vertical. I realised that I can contribute to a business in any sector from FMCG through to education.”

Ruma has now had four Chief Executive roles across different industries. “Before my MBA I don’t think I would have believed that that was possible.”

The global perspective of the MBA allowed Ruma to deploy his business skills in an international context, this proved very useful when he was working in China, where there were radical cultural and language differences but the same fundamental business principals still apply.

Completing his MBA has definitely been worth it for Ruma, as he says it has undoubtedly accelerated his career.

“Having my MBA has shunted me into a different state of business management. I look at companies from a very different perspective than I used to.”

One of the major advantages for Ruma has been a massive increase in confidence “It feels good to think, I know this, I understand this and I can make a positive contribution to any business.”

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