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Shaun Maloney

  • Programme: Developing Strategy for Value Creation
  • Nationality: New Zealand
  • Job Post-programme: CEO ARANZ Geo Ltd

“All my executives want to come to LBS now. One of my senior general managers has joined the Senior Executive Programme to study leadership”

Shaun Maloney’s life motto is get real and get stuck in. He’s the CEO of ARANZ Geo, which turns complex data into geological insights and was named one of New Zealand’s top 10 hot emerging firms in the 2013 annual TIN100 report

With no formal qualifications, he’s spent more than 30 years in the “real business world”. In 2014, he was one of 13 professionals to receive the New Zealand’s Prime Minister's Business Scholarship, which took him around the world – and back again to London Business School (LBS).

Academia through a practical lens

“I’m 55 years of age. Coming to LBS was only the second time I’d ever been to university. The first was for a week at Harvard Business School,” Shaun admits. His flexible scholarship afforded him the rare opportunity to stop and consider what he could learn, and where he could learn it. 

Shaun chose Executive Education programmes at two of the world’s leading business schools. How did LBS compare? 

“I’m a hands-on realist rather than an academic and I really enjoyed the LBS experience.” Before his time at LBS, he found that business theory didn’t always fit: it wasn’t reality. “I’ve rolled up my sleeves all of my professional life, so I don’t respond to academic theory without practical application.” 

As well as the real-world case studies taught on Developing Strategy for Value Creation (DSVC), Shaun valued the opportunity to challenge and be challenged. “I felt far more at home at LBS. The peer group was more suited to me: the participants had a genuine interest in the subject and we all had valuable experiences to contribute.”

Disruptive innovation 

With his scholarship approved, Shaun had his pick of programmes. He could have studied anything, anywhere. He chose DSVC because it was already his area of specialism. He’s been involved in start-up companies in the high-tech space for more than 20 years and built ventures into fast-growth global firms. “My expertise is in disruptive innovators,” he says, “so that’s what I wanted to learn more about.”

Shaun has shared what he’s learnt on the programme with his executive team. At ARANZ Geo, things happen differently now. “On the 24-hour flight back from the UK to New Zealand, I wrote up, rolled out and communicated the new strategies I discovered at the School.”

The programme made Shaun consider how to create competitive advantage in innovative ways. He was able to identify some of the most disruptive changes taking place and then explain how they affect global companies. “At the time of the programme, my company was making several acquisitions – including a company in Africa and Canada. There was a strategy tool centred on competitive advantage so relevant that I applied it straight away.”

“All my executives want to come to LBS now,” he laughs. But he’s not really joking; the programme insights have had a firm-wide knock-on effect. “One of my senior general managers has joined the Senior Executive Programme to study leadership. I'm also signed up to the Executing Strategy for Results programme - but this time, I'm bringing my product manager with me."

“If I see an LBS qualification on someone’s LinkedIn profile, I give it credit now like never before.”