Entrepreneurs and CEOs taking up residence posts at universities is common overseas, particularly at business schools.
However, it’s still a relatively new concept in New Zealand tertiary education.
The new role will also see him mentoring students, guest lecturing and acting as a strategic consultant to the business school’s executive team.
This is a much broader focus than just retail, in which he has worked in for the past 13 years in various roles at The Warehouse Group.
Powell says he’s sure he will be called upon to advise the retail programme, but says he has a range of experience to bring to the table, including logistics, supply chain management and strategy.
“I can also help the university make connections because it’s always a challenge to get access to data for research because of commercial sensitivities and to people because they are all incredibly busy,” he says.
He says he hopes to bridge the gap between the academic and business worlds so that important information can flow both ways.
The role will be part-time, with the rest of Powell’s time spent working in the faith-based non-profit sector and on personal development.
Not one to take things slow, Powell also plans to complete his third master’s degree next year.
Massey Business School pro-vice chancellor, Professor Ted Zorn, says the university built a relationship with Powell during his time as Warehouse Group CEO.
Powell’s legacy at The Warehouse Group includes making retail a more attractive career prospect through its career retailer wage, retail learning pathway and helping establish the business management degree at Massey University.
“Mark’s support for our new bachelor of retail and business management was instrumental in its successful establishment and the Warehouse Group, under his leadership, has provided funding for research into key issues faced by organisations and workers,” Zorn says.
“We are extremely fortunate to have someone of his calibre joining our team, someone who understands Massey’s goal of being an entrepreneurial university that is closely-connected to the business community.”
Powell said while he’ll miss the people at The Warehouse Group, he won’t miss the daily intensity of a corporate job.
“I’m looking forward to having some time to relax and take things at a sensible pace,” he says.
“I’ll be busy but there will definitely be more time for family and personal growth, including further education.”