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Study brings new business perspective for NZDF dog handler


Corporal Aidan Cornwall

Corporal Aidan Cornwall can now add a Bachelor of Business degree to his list of accomplishments after completing a comprehensive course of study at Massey University.


Since joining the NZ Army, CPL Cornwall has been an Explosive Detection Dog Handler at 2nd Engineer Regiment in Linton and a Recruit Training Instructor in Waiouru, among other roles. He’s juggled Army life with study and graduated with his Bachelor of Business, majoring in finance, earlier this year.

“Massey had the only comprehensive degree programme that I wanted to do. It wasn’t as specialised, so I could do papers in different subjects and they gave me a lot of breadth in that way. Also, you can complete everything by distance, which worked well for me because I was based in Waiouru for two years.”

Studying part-time while working full time, the 30-year-old found time management challenging, but says his lecturers were very understanding and supportive.

“There were a couple of occasions where I completed two or even three papers in a semester and worked full time. You have to really have your wits about you, and make sure you have your time management sorted. Thankfully, the lecturers were forgiving as sometimes aspects of military life didn’t align with assessment due dates – they were generally understanding, and happy to help me out.”

CPL Cornwall says the knowledge and skills gained from his degree have given him a broader perspective and equipped him with more tools to help develop the planning and communication processes in his role.

“This degree has given me a lot more tools to use when I’m looking at new projects – mostly around planning phases and professional communication. I now have a proper process for what I’m trying to achieve instead of just doing something and hoping it works.

“You get a bit of business sense for what is actually happening in the wider organisation. We do a lot of courses and training internally within the Army, but that’s all done from a certain [organisational] perspective. Studying really opens your eyes up to the ways that other people think and why they do what they do.”

In 2020, Massey and the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) signed a Relationship Agreement enabling personnel, to access opportunities and benefits such as special tuition rates when enrolling in any qualification with Massey.

The partnership also offers these opportunities and benefits to immediate family members of NZDF personnel, ex-serving personnel and veterans. For more information: https://force4families.mil.nz/massey-university.

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Agreement between the NZDF and Massey University