Thu 11 Apr 2019

Kieran's focus is clear

Kieran McKendry says his challenge to complete a Master of Business Administration has taught him a lot about himself.

In more ways than one, it has to be said.

WITT’s Fitness Programme tutor embarked on a gruelling schedule at the start of 2018 – working at WITT, doing some training for clients, spending alternate weekends with his now three year old son, taking on full time study, and driving to Auckland for classes on top of it.

He is enrolled in the two-year long Massey University Executive MBA (EMBA).

Year one was consumed by 33 assessment, reading nine text books, tapping out about 40,000 words for his tutors and driving 10,000 kilometres.

He was frequently looking very red-eyed after returning at midnight to Taranaki from Auckland and heading off to WITT the following morning.

It transpired Kieran had astigmatism – a common condition where the cornea is slightly curved rather than round.  Its symptom include discomfort with reading, eye strain and headaches and it can cause difficulties with depth perception.

“I ended up having burst blood vessels in my left eye because it was doing all the work when I was reading – and I was getting tension headaches as well,” he recalled.

It was also why the premier grade basketballer had found it difficult to deal with “flat” balls coming to him in cricket.

The problem was solved by a pair of prescription glasses.

It’s not the only thing Kieran has had to overcome. He last studied a decade ago and gained a Bachelor of Sports Exercise, majoring in prescription training. His latest challenge came with a demand to write in an unfamiliar academic form – and for that, he found an able supporter in WITT’s Kaiārahi Ken Taiapa.

“Ken has helped me as a mentor, he was my manager at WITT at one time and has experience in what I’m doing and is really good at offering advice.

“I had to learn to write – to be honest, my first effort was horrible!”

But where Kieran had concerns about his lack of business and writing experience, he found as one of the youngest in his cohort that he was not alone.

“”The group I am in includes company chief executives, and some had no qualification, and had their own worries about how they would go in a university environment – something that didn’t worry me.”

Kieran said he elected to further his education in the business world because it would open doors for him in his area of expertise.

“It covers accounting, marketing, economics and finance – you learn about yourself, how to recover from stress, why you do what you do – it puts a different lens and perspective on your life.”

A compulsory part of the second year of the course is overseas. Kieran and his classmates will go to India for two weeks next month to look a large scale corporates and national companies and review their operations.

Having embarked on the second of two years’ study Kieran has already go his time management sorted – though he says there have been times when he asked himself what he was doing.

But one four day rest to recover from burn-out was enough to get him fired up and ready for his next paper.

His targets this year will be to complete a further five papers – and present his thesis by March 2020.