Q&A with Owen McCaffrey, Postgraduate Business Lecturer – School of Business

March 15, 2022

Owen McCaffrey, EIT Postgraduate Business Lecturer – School of Business

EIT International Centre reached out to EIT Auckland lecturer Owen McCaffrey to find out more about his role at EIT. In this interview, Owen talks about his experience facilitating postgraduate courses in Innovation, Leadership and Strategic Financial Management.

Tell us about yourself, your background and current role at EIT?
My name is Owen McCaffrey and I am a postgraduate lecturer in business at EIT’s Auckland Campus. My background is in accounting and finance. I graduated with a Business Management Degree, majoring in finance and spent four years in accounting and finance roles in Auckland and Hamilton. I also have a Master’s degree in applied linguistics and ten years’ experience teaching English as a Second Language in New Zealand and in South Korea.

Give a brief overview of courses you teach?
This year I am facilitating courses in Innovation, Leadership and Strategic Financial Management.

How does your specialist experience and the courses you teach support the knowledge and skills gained by students across the curriculum?
I have a broad understanding of business and financial principles and issues. I closely follow macroeconomic events, sharemarket and company news and am able to break down what is happening for my students. Understanding what is happening in the real world of business and companies and why this is happening is one of the great insights I can share with my students.

In a world that is ever-evolving, what skills do you think aspiring business leaders need in order to excel professionally?
I think the fundamental processes of companies in terms of strategy, management, finance and innovation are key building blocks to understand what companies and organisations are doing and why they are doing it. Understanding them enables our graduates to confidently make those important decisions as an employee or leader in a business.

How important are financial management skills from a career perspective for our postgraduate students?
Financial management skills are a basic building block. Finance is one of the core underlying drivers of business operations and involves constantly calibrating and growing and refining operations. Without sound financial management a company will find itself unable to undertake it’s chosen strategy or projects that it would like to such as sustainability, innovation or growth.

How does EIT align their online Postgraduate offerings to incorporate the needs of industry?
Our courses are case-based and students select live real companies to study. Course content is regularly updated to reflect the current economic and business environment. Our workshop discussions seek to answer key questions facing companies in New Zealand and the world today that do not yet have answers. We recommend answers and strategies for some of the largest companies in the world and then get to see if they have followed our ideas.

How does EIT ensure that postgraduate students enjoy a high-quality online learning experience and become an integral part of the EIT community?
We have a wide range of student support for online learners. Our international student support teams in Auckland and Hawke’s Bay provide regular contact and updates to students as well as additional opportunities to meet the staff and other participants. For example, our SpeechMasters sessions encourage students to gain confidence in public speaking. We also have online coffee and chat with facilitators which students can join outside of class.

Any other thoughts?
I think EIT Postgraduate programmes have been agile and adapted to the new online learning environment very well during COVID-19. Our students get the benefit of the hard work all the management and staff at EIT have put in to provide a seamless and up-to-date postgraduate learning experience. Our students are also a great strength of our programmes and our learners get to interact with classmates from many countries and backgrounds who have rich experience and ideas that they can share together.