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$15k scholarship allows fitness lecturer to exercise his mind

Executive MBA student Kieran McKendry.

Massey Executive MBA student Kieran McKendry maintains a gruelling schedule. Besides postgraduate study, he works full-time as the coordinator of the Western Institute of Technology Taranaki’s Fitness Programme, trains clients as a personal trainer, plays premier basketball himself and coaches two women’s teams and co-parents his four year-old son.

But his Executive MBA journey was made a little easier this year when he was awarded one of two $15,000 scholarships from the New Zealand Institute of Management Foundation. Mr McKendry says he felt overwhelmed when he found out.

“I’ve never been awarded anything of this kind in my life,” he says. “It was just a huge relief financially as I have to travel often for the MBA and my studies are predominantly self-funded.”

Mr McKendry already has a Bachelor of Sport and Exercise from Massey and says that while he considered studying sport science at postgraduate level, he decided having an Executive MBA would bring a wider range of career opportunities in the future.

“The MBA will open up numerous opportunities and make me a much more versatile employee and person,” he says.

“When I have finished, I’m hoping to move into management and have the ability to influence my organisation and improve outcomes for students, or possibly move into the private sector. I’d like to use this new knowledge to create change and gain a sense of fulfilment.”

Mr McKendry’s Executive MBA research project will investigate the impact of fixed-term contracts in the tertiary education sector, with the aim of mitigating detrimental effects and using fixed-term contracts more effectively.

Returning to study as an adult has advantages

He says returning to study while working full-time took some adjustment, both in terms of time management and re-learning to write in an academic style.

“Future planning and knowing where I need to focus my priorities has become really important because hitting deadlines is crucial to success with this programme.

“But the biggest change this time around, compared to my undergrad study, is taking the time to just enjoy the experience, to build those relationships with students and lecturers and really applying my learnings to real-life situations.”

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