Say you’ve got something to solve. A pesky bug in your strategy. A big hairy product problem. Company direction on the edge of a vortex. Who you gonna call?
Best you call Six – the brains-trust of the University of Auckland MBA class of 2010. There are four core members, but they always assemble a super-unit of six - the skill-set dependent on the task at hand.
Six are the new fixers of New Zealand business. They admit what they do is difficult to label. Call them consultants and they quietly chuckle. The gist is that they provide high-level solutions for any company that needs help, mostly on the down-low.
But unlike the crew of Ghostbusters, who also met at uni, these professionals have very serious other-jobs and don’t seek any glory (or delve into parapsychology).
They are all graduates of the University of Auckland’s MBA programme - Retail Institute of New Zealand CEO Desleigh Jameson, Revolution Fibres general manager Albert McGhee, Alloy Yachts project manager Warren Angland and Tomorrow professional services director Philip Venables. They formed Six with a “use it or lose it” attitude, energized by their study and keen to continue applying the “MBA toolbox.”
McGhee says they only used a percentage of their MBA-learned skills in their jobs, and “it’s like anything, you have to keep practicing it.”
They’ve worked in boardrooms and on the floor from big business to start-up, all in situations where confidentiality is vital.
No-one needs to know Six has been there or who they are. Although if you’re in business, it’s likely you already do – or at least, know someone-who-knows-someone. Six takes on one client at a time, and works personally with them.
They might begin with a question session one-on-one with a chairperson or CEO, and unravel the challenge from there.
The diversity within Six is something that appeals to clients, according to Angland
“We have genuine senior executive level experiences to call on,” he says.
“I think Six can assess businesses in New Zealand to strategically place themselves better, demonstrate an open mind to other industries, bring a more general perspective to challenges – and we have the capability to see it through.”
Jameson, who is the self-confessed pragmatist of the group, says they’re all very committed and driven individuals, and professionally, they have significant networks to draw from.
When asked why they chose to form Six, the four are consistent that it’s because they enjoy the work, and really want to build on the MBA experience.
“It’s not altruistic, we’re doing this for ourselves, but also to have fun,” Jameson says.
She doesn’t mean serious business problems are a bit of a hoot, but they genuinely enjoy strategy, and problem solving. They want to make a difference.
“It’s often the symptom that the company wants to remedy - our work is about finding the root cause of the symptom.”
And according to Venables, they’re “adding to New Zealand-Inc.”
Developing a global mind-set and lateral, creative thinking are part of the focus for the University of Auckland MBA, outcomes which have been well and truly realised with the goals of Six.
For now, the tight-four are happy with their careers, and would like to just let Six develop “organically”, as it has so far. Contact them via the kumara vine.
The University of Auckland Master of Business Administration (MBA) has intakes in January, and welcomes applications from business leaders. Find out more at www.gse.auckland.ac.nz
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