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United States students rate NZ experience

Monday 7 March 2016

United States students rate NZ experience

Students of a prestigious United States business school have given top marks to Tai Poutini Polytechnic’s “Coast-to-Coast” leadership training experience.

Over summer, Tai Poutini Polytechnic (TPP) hosted its second leadership training venture for students of Wharton Business School, where students experience real live leadership during a traverse of the Southern Alps. After a successful inaugural year, the programme received huge interest from students and those who attended this year have rated the experience as one of the best.

TPP Outdoor Education HOD Dave Ritchie says demand continues to grow for the Wharton programme and, based on its success, the Polytechnic is looking at expanding the leadership training in future to target wider local and international markets.

Wharton MBA candidate Agustina Bellsola had high expectations going in to this year’s Coast-to-Coast venture and says the reality was even better. “I heard from many people who had travelled to New Zealand the year before that this was an amazing experience and an incredible venture. My experience was a 10.

“I was attracted by the challenge of traversing the country from coast to coast. It was physically intense but the activities were world-class. I enjoyed the safe environment created for us to practise leadership and I absolutely loved the route and scenery.”

As well as the challenge and fun of the experience itself, Agustina says there were plenty of longer-term benefits for her wider study. “I learned a lot about how people react to situations of uncertainty and stress. I learned a great deal from our guides and their leadership coaching, but also from the other students.”

Fellow student, Will Hilton, says his experience of New Zealand was “unforgettable”.

“Our guides from TPP were top-notch outdoors experts, yet incredibly humble and down-to-earth such that we immediately felt like trusted friends. I woke up each day thinking the scenery couldn't get any better, and my expectations continued to be surpassed as we tramped eastward across the island.”

Will says he chose the Coast-to-Coast venture because he wanted to challenge himself. “This variety of activities pushed our teams to innovate, communicate and perform throughout the entire venture.

“As a business school student, the NZ venture added an experiential dimension to my theoretical, classroom-based leadership studies. Working to create a high-performing team capable of making the Coast-to-Coast crossing facilitated several leadership lessons that I will be able to apply in a professional business setting.”

Feedback from other students:
“Because the stakes are so high, we feel that leading our venture teams was one of the most realistic, meaningful leadership roles we have taken on at Wharton.” Hannah Holdstein; Wharton Venture Participant 2016

“Thanks to Moana Ki Te Moana New Zealand Venture, I learned the true value of a supportive team. The Venture excelled far beyond my expectations in all areas.” Emma Spagnuolo; Wharton Venture Participant 2015


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