Value teamwork, graduates told

University of Otago graduands Mellora Ford (left) and Rochelle Hawkins enjoy the moment, as the university graduation parade moves along George St, Dunedin, on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Craig Baxter.
University of Otago graduands Mellora Ford (left) and Rochelle Hawkins enjoy the moment, as the university graduation parade moves along George St, Dunedin, on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Teamwork plays a vital role in businesses that contribute strongly both to Dunedin and the wider New Zealand economy, Dunedin innovator and businessman Michael Macknight says.

Mr Macknight, who has two University of Otago qualifications, including an MSc in computer science, was commenting in an address to about 230 graduates, mainly in commerce subjects, at Otago University's latest graduation ceremony, on Saturday afternoon.

Some Otago University graduates were doing ''amazing things'' and were adding value to the Otago brand, Mr Macknight said at the Dunedin Town Hall ceremony.

He is the chief executive of ADInstruments Ltd, an award-winning Dunedin-based company which specialises in data acquisition systems for the life sciences.

Mr Macknight emphasised the importance of teamwork and said ''almost anything worth doing requires you to work with other people''.

''In fact, the most enjoyable times at work can be the time spent with your colleagues, all working on a problem.

''If you don't know how to work in a team, learn.

''You won't move forwards unless you can,'' he said.

He also urged graduates to ''respect the people above you and below you''.

Some Otago graduates were doing ''amazing things'' , and he urged the latest graduates to ''take advantage'' of their Otago University training and ''add your own value''.

New Zealand was a ''tiny country which hits far above its weight'', he said.

Graduates were starting out with a ''huge advantage'' because they had a degree from Otago University, which was known throughout the world. Mr Macknight also warned that ''things don't always go well'' both at work and in people's personal lives.

''How people overcome obstacles can say more about them than anything else.

''The great people solve problems, work around obstacles and actually finish things.''

Change was continuous and he urged graduates not to be frightened of it. From constant change, new opportunities arose, and there were ''so many ways to add value''.

''And, on the internet, the global market has never been more accessible.

''Companies can provide services to people anywhere in the world, and lots of companies, even here in Dunedin, are,'' he said.

-john.gibb@odt.co.nz

Teamwork

Odd. The only teamwork that the Otago business school was teaching when I went there was how to try and corral students who only wanted a passing grade and were happy to sign their name to any 'group' project.  

Interesting how an Otago degree is a "huge advantage". Local employers don't seem to value it at all.