The enterprise - Chapter 6 of Michael Parker's book about why New Zealand needs a great university

The enterprise - Chapter 6 of Michael Parker's book about why New Zealand needs a great university

By Michael Parker*

[This is Chapter 6 of the book, The Pine Tree Paradox. Links to the previous chapters are at the bottom of this page.]


Building a great university privately will take decades and will require an endowment measured in the billions of dollars.

But it can be done.

Conversely, our public tertiary education system is simply not designed to produce a modern, world-class university. The problem is not competence or desire; it is structural.

“Fat, drunk, and stupid is no way to go through life, son.”
Dean Wormer, National Lampoon’s Animal House, 1978

There are more than 16,000 universities in the world. For over 99% of these institutions, life on campus during the first two weeks in October follows one of two familiar patterns.

For universities in the southern hemisphere, October means that spring has arrived and, with it, preparation for final examinations begins. Campus life becomes increasingly frenetic due to a triumvirate of pressures: sleep deprivation, anxiety over the approaching exams and the simple longing to spend a spring day out in the sun, watching the world go by.

For universities in the northern hemisphere, October means that autumn is setting in, the leaves are on the ground, the days are shorter, the air is cooler and the campus is bundling up and settling into the cozy routine of the first term of the university year.

However, for approximately 40 universities around the world, the first two weeks in October mean something very different.

For those universities, the first two weeks in October mean hopeful glances at news websites and - for a lucky few academics - anxious hours waiting for a phone call from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences48.

Each October, the year’s Nobel Prize winners are announced. The Nobel Prizes for physics, chemistry, medicine and economics normally go to university faculty. For the winners themselves, life will never be the same again. For the universities where the Nobel Laureates are on staff, “winning” a Nobel Prize either catapults the school to a whole new level of prestige or, for the few institutions that compete for these prizes regularly, re-sets the score.

The Nobel Prize was awarded to approximately 800 individuals between 1901 and 2008. Roughly 80% of those winners have been associated with a university or other institution.

About 260 institutions have “won” the Nobel Prize in the sense that the Nobel Laureate is on the school faculty at the time of the Nobel Prize announcement.

Four Australian institutions have been affiliated with a Nobel Laureate in this fashion. New Zealand universities have never had such an affiliation.

Only 87 institutions have won more than one Nobel Prize.

In reviewing that list of 87, the institutions may be divided into one of two camps. In the first camp are many great institutions that won Nobel Prizes earlier in the 20th century but are no longer competing to recruit and retain the calibre of academic that can attract such prizes.

In this category are a host of German and Austrian universities that won prizes on a regular basis before the Second World War together with American companies like GE, AT&T’s Bell Labs and IBM. These U.S. firms won Nobel Prizes regularly in the two decades after World War II but no longer maintain the same prestigious R&D departments capable of capturing such prizes today.

Victoria University in Manchester - the university to which New Zealander Ernest Rutherford was affiliated in 1908 when he won the Nobel Prize in chemistry - also falls into this category. So too do the Sorbonne and Oxford University.

The second camp comprises the predominantly American universities that vie for these awards today. It is this group that is of interest for current purposes.

If the 87 universities that have won two or more Nobel Prizes are split in half based on the date of their most recent prize, 1988 is the “bright-line” year: 44 schools have won multiple Nobel Prizes but none since 1988; 43 schools have won multiple prizes including at least one since 1988. This is a useful division for determining the top echelon of universities worldwide. If a school has not won a Nobel Prize in the last 20 or so years, it arguably can no longer be regarded as currently competing in that top echelon.

This camp of 43 universities that have won multiple prizes including at least one since 1988 now dominates the award.

Over the 20 years from 1989 to 2008, of all the Nobel Prize winners that have been affiliated with a university, 65% were on staff at one of these 43 schools. Said differently, in recent times, almost two-thirds of the Nobel Prizes affiliated with a university go to just one-quarter of one percent of all universities worldwide.

And, even within those 43 universities that may be thought of as being actively involved in this competition today, there are the established institutions and there are institutions scrapping to get into the global top echelon. Just ten schools account for 60% of the 291 prizes won by individuals affiliated with these 43 universities. The universities that have “won” the most prizes are: Harvard (31), Stanford (18), Columbia (17), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (“MIT”) (17) and California Institute of Technology (“Cal Tech”) (17).

I was studying at New York University’s Stern Business School in 2003 when Stern’s Robert Engle won the Nobel Prize for Economics. This was NYU’s second Nobel Prize. Severo Ochoa from the University’s College of Medicine had won the Prize for Medicine in 1959.

Engle’s award in 2003 was a moment of triumph and vindication for the whole university. Try as you might, you simply cannot diminish the power or prestige of a Nobel Prize. As members of the NYU community, we felt that the rest of the academic world - and our uptown rivals at Columbia, who, at the time, had three Nobel Prize winners in economics - could (to use the local vernacular) suck it. NYU was in the race.

Now, every October, NYU alums, students, faculty and administrators watch and wait. Maybe this will be economist Tom Sargent’s year. With the emergence of NYU’s Noriel Roubini as one of the few academics to have correctly predicted the Global Financial Crisis, NYU’s community now has even more cause for hope that another Nobel Prize may be in its future.

And so it goes with every top university in the world, and everyone who attends or attended one of those universities. They are all locked in this game.

If I am making this sound like professional sport, it is.

Only the stakes are far higher. University endowments at the large American schools are measured in the tens of billions of dollars. Alumni have invested years of their lives and large sums of money in their personal education and they want their alma mater to succeed. If the only quantitative measure of success available is Nobel Prizes or third-party ranking systems, then so be it. Institutional and personal reputation is on the line.

This long-term alignment of interests between the university and its alumni means that requests for donations and contributions to endowments fall onto sympathetic ears.

Long after graduation day, and years after university loans have been paid off, graduates have an ongoing interest in the continuing and increasing success of their universities.

There is a virtuous circle at work: a large endowment means more and better facilities and higher salaries for academics. Better facilities and higher salaries mean more illustrious faculty, who are more likely to win prizes or, at least, earn the university a higher ranking. Prizes and higher rankings satisfy the alumni’s need for demonstrated improvement and therefore lead to more donations. More donations mean a larger endowment.

If we want to build a world-class university in New Zealand, this is the game that we have to play.

First, the Bad News …

There is good news in all this for a New Zealand university. And there is bad news. First, the bad news: the quality of our universities is poor.

The Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings - prepared annually by the English newspaper, the Times of London - ranks the world’s top 200 universities49.

The rankings are compiled based on six criteria: academic peer review, employer reviews, faculty-to-student ratio, citations per faculty, international faculty and international students. In 2008, the top five universities were, in order: Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, Oxford and Cal Tech. Australia had six universities in the top 50. Auckland and Otago were the two highest-ranking New Zealand universities at 65th and 124th respectively.

Academic Rankings of World Universities is prepared annually by Shanghai Jiao Tong University50. The rankings are prepared based on citations, articles published and awards. In 2008, the top five institutions were, in order: Harvard, Stanford, University of California Berkeley (“Berkeley”), Cambridge and MIT. Australia had five universities in the top 200. Auckland and Otago were the two highest-ranking New Zealand universities, both ranked between 201 and 300.

The Webometrics Ranking of World Universities51 ranks the world’s top universities. This is an initiative of the Cybermetrics Lab, a research arm of Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cienticas, the largest public research body in Spain. The ranking system measures web activity and visibility of universities. This metric is used as a proxy for impact and prestige. In 2008, the top five universities were, in order: MIT, Stanford, Harvard, Berkeley and Cornell. Australia had one university in the top 50. Auckland and Victoria were the only New Zealand universities ranked in the top 500, at 236th and 465th respectively.

In 2006, Newsweek magazine in the U.S. prepared a ranking of the Top 100 Global Universities52. The methodology used considered the number of highly-cited researchers in various academic fields, the number of articles published or listed in academic journals or indices, the percentage of international faculty, the percentage of international students, citations per faculty member, the ratio of faculty to students and library holdings. The top five universities were, in order: Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Cal Tech and Berkeley. There were seven Australian universities in the top 100. No New Zealand universities featured in the ranking.

Of course, rankings of this nature are subjective and contain a variety of biases. For example, the conclusion by the Times survey that four of the top ten universities in the world are in England certainly suggests an element of home cooking. And universities can manipulate statistics to some extent.

Further, we could disregard the whole business of university rankings completely if, despite the poor performance of our universities in these rankings, New Zealand was outgrowing the rest of the OECD and New Zealand firms were dominating specific sectors of the global economy that required highly trained and expert employees.

However, that is not the case. In fact, the opposite is true: our economy merely reflects what these third-party studies are concluding about our universities.

Four different and respected organisations from four different parts of the world have used four different methodologies to rank the world’s universities. The highest ranking that any of our universities achieved in any of the polls is 65th. In fact, a clear-eyed review of the results would conclude that the 65th placing is an outlier - to the upside.

We have a big problem.

New Zealand does not need a university near the top of these lists simply for the sake of national pride. If all we required our university graduates to do was audit our financial statements, draft our wills and deliver our babies, 65th would be fine. However, we need a world-class university as a growth engine for the economy, at the heart of New Zealand’s Innovation Cycle. And 65th is not nearly good enough for that task.

We know that there is a geographical correlation between centres of innovation and high economic growth.

We know that there is a geographical correlation between world-class universities and centres of innovation.

Names that continue to appear at the top of the global university rankings are Stanford, Berkeley and Cal Tech. It is not pure coincidence that these schools are located in the same region as Google, Apple, Yahoo! and E-Bay.

We know that our universities do not match up and are incapable of driving the kind of innovations required for New Zealand to outgrow the rest of the OECD. So what do we do?

“I wouldn’t start from here.”

An obvious response would be: but we already have eight universities. Why don’t we just make one of them - or, better still, all of them -world-class?

This proposal would certainly solve the problem, if it could be implemented.

Improving, for example, the University of Auckland so that it is comfortably in the top 40 in all of the surveys listed above requires a significant investment - billions of dollars over time. But, in isolation, raising the money is not the disqualifying factor.

The reason that we cannot boost our existing universities into the top 40 is that the poor performance of our universities is not due to incompetence or lack of interest or lack of effort from our students or administrators or faculty. The problem is structural.

Our provincial university system was set up in the 19th century to address the needs of a colony 12,000 miles from home with an agricultural economy that required doctors, solicitors, engineers and bookkeepers. The world has changed. But as any Otago graduate from the last 30 years or more can attest after watching news coverage of the annual George Street Orientation Toga Party: our universities have changed little; only the dress code seems different.

Changing our universities is not simple. And the problem is more than the large amount of money required. Four structural problems will arise almost immediately once an existing public university starts attracting money on the scale required to break into the global top echelon of schools.

First, if the government increases its funding for the University of Auckland by hundreds of millions of dollars each year, then what about Victoria, Otago, Canterbury, Waikato, Massey, Lincoln and AUT? Don’t they deserve proper funding too? Who decides which university gets “saved” and which is left to address its 19th century legacy alone?

The mayor of Dunedin and its local members of parliament would not quietly accept the relegation of the local university to the second tier.

Aside from civic pride, too many jobs are reliant on the university and the students it attracts. And the same is true for the mayors and members of parliament from Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton and Palmerston North.

There is a natural and overwhelming coalition against elevating one of our public universities above the others.

A national government cannot resolve that kind of entrenched, regional bickering quickly, easily or cheaply. The most likely response is a splitting of the baby and a division of any funds made available into seven separate piles.

In other words, the most likely solution is no solution at all.

Second, even if the parochial issue is resolved, this concentration of funding into one public institution will raise public concerns.

There will always be more immediate and superior claims on the public purse. Projects with long-term paybacks always look discretionary in a budget negotiation.

Call it the Judy Bailey problem.

TVNZ newsreader Judy Bailey became the subject of great controversy in 2005 when her $800,000 salary was revealed53. TVNZ - a State-Owned Enterprise - came under pressure because of the salary and terminated Bailey’s contract at the end of 2005. This entirely predictable, recent incident reflects the fact that government organisations get into great trouble when they pay their employees lucrative salaries. Bailey was a well-known, popular woman with an obvious talent for reading the news. Further, the New Zealand taxpayer - her employer - could monitor her job performance at six o’clock every night. Plus she was a New Zealander.

Trying to justify why a certain foreign professor merits a $500,000+ salary when that money could be used instead on roads or hospitals or pre-school education would be an intractable problem. And, if we are building a world-class university, there will be many $500,000+ salaries for foreign professors.

In terms of directing the marginal dollar of public spending, the foreigner with the $500,000+ salary, the accent and the field of expertise that no one can understand will always lose out to the child on the waiting list at a public hospital for a life-saving operation. And, what is more, that is probably the correct priority for our public funds.

But it does mean that we would never get - if we rely solely on the government - the world-class university we need.

Of course, an answer to that problem may be to raise the money privately. But this raises the third problem: as a public university starts to develop its own revenue streams outside of tuition fees and government funding, pressure to reduce government funding and tuition fees will intensify.

Donations like the $7.5 million from Owen Glenn to the University of Auckland Business School54 in 2005 are a great example of how successful New Zealanders can contribute meaningfully to the nation’s economic development. The donation by Mr. Glenn was the largest single contribution in the $75 million fund raised by the business school. The funding was used to construct a new building for the business school - the Owen G. Glenn Building.

The University of Auckland has 38,000 students and an annual income of $740 million. Endowments and research funding total around $75 million, and the university is building a new fund for a further $100 million55. By way of contrast, a world-class university will require an annual level of contributions to its endowment in the range of $200 million … every year … for decades. Once the university endowment starts to reach into the hundreds of millions of dollars or even billions, calls for a redirection of public funds would be almost inevitable.

You can hear the headline now: “I cannot afford to go to the University of Auckland and yet they have an endowment of $X billion and the government gives them $Y million every year. What is the point of the government giving them all this money when they have $X billion stashed away? ” You can “ear-mark” or “ring-fence” projects all you want. At some level, private fundraising is self-defeating for a public university.

Fourth, even if you cure that issue - perhaps the University of Auckland stops taking government funding all together - our universities have a variety of goals and objectives and a huge number of stakeholders within the communities that they serve. Again, that is appropriate as a public university is an important part of its community.

However, if a public university starts raising a large amount of money, those stakeholders will each become more vocal with their priorities. And the claim that if the university is no longer publicly funded, it no longer has public obligations does not stack up: the obligations were incurred during the 125 years it was publicly funded. There is a clear and almost unavoidable conflict between the interests of the public stakeholders of a public institution and its private donors.

A new, private institution focused solely on becoming a world-class research university - by raising funds, attracting promising faculty and PhD candidates, building facilities, winning prizes and improving its ranking - does not have those same public obligations and allegiances.

And finally: I have no desire to throw stones at the New Zealand university system. I spent five happy years in that system and the first three years of my tertiary education (pre-1992) cost me almost nothing. I just do not believe the university system is structurally capable of achieving what the country needs a university to achieve.

Therefore, there are two options: either overhaul the structure of a tertiary education system that is not built for the fight, or build an institution that is. Given the intractable problems associated with the first option, the latter strategy is the only real alternative.

And now, the good news …

Achieving the goal of a world-class university requires generating a large stream of money over a long period of time. The government is limited in the financial assistance it can provide. And we are starting from nothing.

But there is some good news in all this. Currently, our universities are poor when viewed on a global scale. This means that there is a low bar for the new institution in reaching its first goal: to become the best university in New Zealand. Further, even once that is achieved, there is still plenty of room for improvement. And then there is the power of the second derivative.

The virtuous circle described above where, once a school is in the race for higher rankings and awards, alumni will take an interest and get out their wallets does not require Nobel Prizes or top 5 rankings from international, third-party studies. It only requires improvement.

People just want to see progress and - better still - an accelerating rate of progress.

We don’t need to have built Stanford on the Waitemata by 2015, or 2025. We just need to start building, and the institution needs to get better over time.

It is simply unrealistic to expect that a New Zealand university is going to win a Nobel Prize in the next 20 years. However, to be a world-class university, we have to aim for that goal over time. The issues of the government’s role in this process and fundraising are tackled in Chapters 7 and 8. For the moment, let’s assume that we can raise the money. The question then becomes: what do we do with it?

From the Ground Up

Building a world-class university from the ground up will be an excruciatingly slow process.

Staring at the list of the top universities in the world - Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT, Cal Tech, Cambridge, Berkeley - the history and accomplishments of these institutions can become intimidating. Where do we start?

Fortunately, there is a modern example of a university undergoing the kind of radical long-term transition that we require and reaching the upper echelon of universities globally. That university is (full disclosure) where I went to business school: New York University.

And, if we are searching for a roadmap for a university to rise up from nothing in the space of thirty years, there is no better example. New York University is a private university in Greenwich Village in Manhattan that was established in 1871. However, by 1973, the university was on the brink of bankruptcy and was forced to sell its satellite campus in the Bronx. Four years later, the university was again selling assets just to keep the doors open.

By the mid 1980s, the university served three basic functions: it was a “safety” school for high school students whose top university choice (or, more often, top five university choices) would not accept them; it was a commuter school for undergraduates around the New York region (73% of undergraduates were from the New York area in the mid 1980s) and it was a night school for entry-level finance professionals in New York who lacked Ivy League qualifications—many of the students were what Bear Stearns’ chairman Alan “Ace” Greenberg used to refer to as PSDs: poor, smart and determined to get rich.

Then, in 1984, the university launched a 15-year, US$1 billion endowment drive.

“We were mediocre,” commented L. Jay Oliva, a professor of Russian history who became president of NYU. in 1991. Oliva was quoted by the New York Times in 1995 as observing: “You can do well in this world if you’re absolutely the best or if you’re the best bargain, but not if you’re somewhere in the middle. We were in a position where we had to grow or die.”56

This first endowment campaign was successful but, rather than simply banking the money and living off the interest, NYU spent over half the money (approximately US$600 million) buying, building or refurbishing 22 buildings around the school’s Washington Square Park campus in Manhattan.

The endowment was also used to fund chairs in departments throughout the university that were then filled with high-powered faculty brought to the university through a decade-long recruitment drive.

And then the process continued. In 2001, the university announced a new endowment drive to raise US$2.5 billion. The campaign ended in 2008 with the initiative having raised US$3.1 billion. At the end of 2008, the total value of the university’s endowment was slightly less than US$2.5 billion, meaning NYU had the 27th largest endowment of any U.S. university57.

Today, NYU’s law school is ranked among the top half dozen in the United States. The business school consistently polls in the top dozen internationally. The university is ranked 30th in the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, 39th in the 2006 Newsweek magazine ranking of the Top 100 Global Universities, 40th in the Times QS/THE ranking and 31st in the Shanghai Jiang Tong 2008 ranking.

NYU is among the 40 or so universities that contend for Nobel Prizes each year.

This is all from a position of near-bankruptcy in the mid-1970s and self-described mediocrity in the mid-1980s. And the process continues today.

The fundraising and the recruitment of faculty is led by President John Sexton. Sexton was originally Dean of the university’s law school. As reported in the New York Times in 200358:

“During his reign at the law school, Sexton engineered the most stunning climb to the top in the recent history of American legal education. The school, which had barely broken into the ranks of the Top 20, came in the view of many observers to merit utterance in the same breath as Harvard, Yale and Stanford. It did this mainly through Sexton’s relentless faculty recruitment...”

The consistent story that Sexton and NYU seek to convey is of the university as the underdog, fighting with larger, better-funded Ivy League universities, using New York City as its competitive advantage and “classroom”59 and adhering to the idea of the enterprise:

“In the Enterprise, we want people who view their role in a university as a sacred trust,’’ Sexton says. ‘’We want people who impose on themselves, daily, the requirement to answer affirmatively to the question, ‘Am I living a useful life?’”60

Positively Quay St?

Decisions on how to build a New Zealand university into a world-class institution ultimately rests with the university’s first president and its board of trustees. However, based on NYU’s success, there are five clear principles.

1. Communicate the vision of the Enterprise

At first, the university will be offering primarily a vision to its prospective administrators, faculty and students. The quality of the university that follows will be determined by how effectively that vision is conveyed.

I am stealing directly from John Sexton in referring to the institution and its vision as an “enterprise”.

But that enterprise should be clearly understood and embraced by those in the university community: We are undertaking a remarkable experiment in how to transition a developed nation from an agriculture-based to an innovation-based economy. We are changing a country for the better on any number of economic and social metrics - and we are doing it in one of the most beautiful places on earth. At the same time, we are building a world-class university that competes with the very best in the world, and we are building it from the ground up.

Every student, professor and administrator should - at some level - be engaged in and excited about the scope and audacity of the plan. If they are not, they are probably at the wrong university.

2. Recruit carefully

It is trite to say that the quality of the people determines the quality of the institution. But it is also true. Recruiting the best administrators, professors and PhDs from around the world, and offering graduate fellowships to promising PhD candidates and scholarships to capable students, is an important - if not insightful - principle.

Of course, the best administrator or professor or PhD is not simply the most qualified but also the individual who is most engaged in the enterprise described in this book and the person who is truly excited to be in New Zealand.

3. Market New Zealand the right way

Every morning at Auckland International Airport, flights from Santiago, San Francisco, Sydney, Seoul, Shanghai and Singapore arrive bringing tourists to New Zealand. Each year more than 2.4 million people make the punishing flight to see New Zealand61.

For many of these people, the trip to New Zealand is a culmination of a lifetime of hard work. For retirees, international travel has become the marker of a successful career and a well-lived retirement. Former captains of industry, doctors, lawyers, engineers, researchers and managers from all over the world come to New Zealand for three weeks or a month. They sail the Bay of Islands, thrill at the geysers in Rotorua, hit the links at Kauri Cliffs, toast the Sauvignon Blancs in Marlborough, marvel at Lake Tekapo, jetboat the Shotover, climb above Lake Wakatipu to view the Remarkables, hike the Milford Track and - after a few weeks and a few thousand dollars - they climb back on the plane and fly home, thrilled that they have made this once-in-a-lifetime journey.

But, as I stare at the retired engineers, researchers, administrators and entrepreneurs wearily pushing their baggage carts out of the customs hall at Auckland International Airport, I can’t help thinking: where have you been for the last 40 years? If you like wine tasting and trout fishing and sailing and skiing and hiking that much, why didn’t you move here 40 years ago?

For many of those stepping off the plane, the answer will be remarkably straightforward: no one asked.

The enterprise gives us the opportunity to go and find great undergraduates, PhDs, professors and administrators from all over the world and offer them the chance to experience New Zealand the right way: not as a three-week holiday once they have retired but as a ten-year or lifetime adventure. We can offer people a lifestyle that the rest of the world dreams of - in exchange for a professional career in New Zealand.

4. Move slowly

The fact that the enterprise will take decades to reach its goals means that we do not have to do everything at once. There are many aspects of the university where we can move slowly.

The process of opening each department and school is a matter for the university president, board of trustees and school deans to ultimately determine.

The order in which new departments are opened might well be inversely proportional to the number of expensive laboratories and research facilities that each faculty requires. Post-graduate schools - business, law, journalism - may open first. Following the establishment of those schools, attention might turn to humanities and liberal arts, medical and dental schools, an engineering school, and finally the science departments.

The process may well follow a similar pattern at each school where, after securing funding for construction of facilities, including research facilities and laboratories, a school dean - an administrator capable of independent fundraising and recruitment - is hired.

That dean is placed in charge of recruiting either an individual “marquee” professor or group of professors to establish the identity of the school. Those professors then staff the post-graduate departments, mentoring graduate students and conducting their own research. Generous scholarships and fellowships are offered for talented PhDs. As a final step, the undergraduate department is opened.

Each of these steps builds upon the previous activity. Accordingly, there is no specific timeline that any of these initiatives have to follow. The only requirement is to ensure that - at each step - the quality of the facilities being built and of the people being brought in align with the goal of building a world-class department in that field.

5. The urban environment

There is a fifth aspect to the New York University story that we need to replicate. Beyond the architecture, the recruitment, the concept of the university as an enterprise and the long-term vision is the physical environment in which the university is located.

The purpose of the university is to anchor an Innovation Cycle in New Zealand. That cycle will require a physical centre in central Auckland. It is here that the innovators, entrepreneurs, investors, advisers and creatives will interact and where the ideas of the university become investable business plans.

With a research university to the north, this area around Britomart Plaza, Quay Street, Fort Street, Shortland Street and Anzac Ave will be the natural place where students, graduates and faculty will live, start businesses, open restaurants and bars, establish art galleries and carry out any number of creative and entrepreneurial opportunities.

It is in this area that this new community will engage with the rest of Auckland. It is here that the successful businesses are likely to get their start. In this district, the innovators-turned-entrepreneurs, investors, advisors and creatives will discover short blocks, a densely clustered population, an established professional and business sector, a transportation hub attracting a tremendous number of people and buildings that vary greatly in age and in quality- and therefore also vary greatly in rental cost.

In short, the individuals who will drive the Innovation Cycle will find all that is required to create a vibrant city life for themselves in the blocks around Britomart.

This area is the physical location of the Innovation Cycle and, as such, care must be taken to allow it to grow organically. Large scale plans to tear down buildings, broaden streets or do anything else to disrupt the organic and slow revival of this part of town should be resisted.

But more than anything else, a world-class university requires money. And that is the subject of Part III.


48. Universities do not actually win the prize. However, the university to which the winner is affiliated at the time of the prize announcement— rather than the university from which the recipient graduated—is generally recognized as the key beneficiary because of the prestige and attention that university receives.


50. International Observatory on Academic Rankings and Excellence,


52. Newsweek International, 13 August 2006

53. NZ Herald, 1 January 1 "TVNZ salary saga ripped me apart, says Bailey"

54. University of Auckland Business School website, viewed 29 November 2009

55. Metro magazine, February 2009, p43

56. New York Times, Buying Excellence: How N.Y.U. Rebuilt Itself—A special report.; A Decade and $1 Billion Put N.Y.U. With the Elite, 20 March 2005

57. 2008 NACUBO endowment study

58. "Ivy Envy", by Mark Levine, New York Times, 8 June 2003

59. "Seeking $1 Million a Day, N.Y.U. Mines Personal Data for a Fund-Raising Edge", 25 December 2006

60. "Ivy Envy", by Mark Levine, New York Times, 8 June 2003

61. Tourism Industry Association New Zealand, 28 May 2008 press release "TRENZ 2009 goes to ‘City of Sails’"


This is the seventh part of a serialisation of the book, The Pine Tree Paradox. It will be published online here in eleven parts.
The Introduction is here »
Chapter 1 is here »
Chapter 2 is here »
Chapter 3 is here »
Chapter 4 is here »
Chapter 5 is here »
Chapter 6 is here »
Chapter 7 is here »

If you would like to buy a copy of the full book, you can do so by credit card here » (Visa or Mastercard only.)


Michael Parker is an equity analyst living in Hong Kong. Originally from Wellington, he has spent the last decade in San Francisco, New York and - on good days - Waiheke. He has a law degree and bachelor of commerce from the University of Otago and an MBA from NYU. You can contact him here »

Used with permission. © Michael Parker. This book was originally published in 2010.


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us dumb kiwis will not allow 1 university to be ranked higher than another.
we don't want qaulity we want qauntity so that we can turn out drones.
all of them equal.
nobody can step outside the square