Harvard University Business School has Paul buzzing

Paul Rickerby has recently returned from an intensive executive leadership programme at the prestigious Harvard University Business School in Boston, USA, and is keen to share what he has learned with his colleagues, clients, business contacts, in fact anyone who is interested.


“It was a very big experience; one of the coolest things I’ve ever done,” says Paul. “We analysed and debated a series of business case studies using the Socratic learning method. It was a very rich learning environment with a high level of collaboration with the others participating and the professors leading it.”

Some of the latter were “the superstars of academia” who previously held high profile corporate and military leadership roles. Their passion and enthusiasm, not to mention the great personal insights they had to share was incredible; they have the ears of the world’s corporates and political leaders. There were some super smart people, says Paul. “There was certainly no dozing off in the back row!”

In fact, Paul estimates he did between 30 and 40 hours case study preparation before he left New Zealand, and the week-long programme was jam-packed. Paul was one of 40 managing partners or leading principals from firms world-wide within the Moore Stephens International network, who were selected to attend the customised programme. This was the second year MSIL has engaged Harvard to run the course.

Joining Paul was Dan Druzianic from the NZ group’s Hawke’s Bay firm. “We were sharing insights with other Moore Stephens leaders, some of whom had over 900 staff and multi-million dollar turnovers. It really was an exceptional learning opportunity.”

Paul can enthuse for hours about the whole experience and looks forward to sharing his observations, but in particular, says he now has expanded his views on problem solving and the depth of analysis needed to develop truly innovative solutions.

“Traditionally we might approach a problem from two or three different angles, but I now understand the benefit of looking more deeply from multiple angles. This has most definitely reminded me about the importance of clarity of thinking, how crucial it is to business success.”

He also thinks the knowledge he gained about aligning a business’s core values and strategy, developing talent and creating a business knowledge base, will be helpful for his clients.

“One of the key take outs for me is that the pace of change is so fast nowadays it is critical that a business remains relevant to its customers, and that staying relevant doesn’t happen by chance, it has to be proactively worked on.”

Paul believes he and Dan were very lucky to have had the opportunity to experience Harvard. “It’s one of the real benefits of being in our international network. It really has been a very very cool experience.”

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