Why MBA: Edith Cowan University

Top graduate of Edith Cowan University’s MBA program in Perth, Australia maps her route from MBA to a historic energy project

So, you graduated last year top of your class. Where has your MBA taken you since?
I graduated last year and I am still working for the global energy company, Chevron, in Perth, Western Australia. Upon graduation I transitioned to a role on the Wheatstone Project, one of the largest resources projects in Australian history.

The team I work with is negotiating with the Western Australian government to agree a State Development Agreement and secure land tenure for the project - that is, the land where we will build the LNG plant, port, roads, pipelines and other infrastructure to support the project.

The role gives me broad project exposure because my team interfaces between our many internal multi-disciplinary teams in Perth and Houston, and external parties in negotiations, so you need to know the project inside and out in order to get that right.

When did you decide to study for an MBA and what drew you to Edith Cowan? Have your long term ambitions changed at all?
I was drawn to ECU because of the flexibility - I worked full time while I was studying so it was important for me to be able to attend classes at night. The intensive summer and winter school units on weekends were handy as well.

I did a couple of online units, and the campus was not too far from my home and from the city, where I work, so that also helped. I paced myself and did a maximum of two units per semester to ensure I wasn't too overloaded.

I had been tossing around the idea of post graduate study for a few years - the MBA was a good generalist path where I could get exposure to a number of subjects, so that suited me well.

What stands out of the biggest highlight of your time at Edith Cowan?
There were a number of highlights to my time at ECU. Probably the ultimate moment was walking across the graduation stage, when the speaker announced I was the top student–which was a big surprise to me. That made every late night, lost weekend and umpteenth draft of an assignment worth it!

Do you think studying in Australia is as good a choice as, say, the US?
Studying in Australia means that a student will have access to a quality education while having the opportunity to work with fellow students from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

I think this is a key advantage in the global economy and goes hand in hand with an MBA - the ability to be flexible and work productively with anyone, no matter the cultural differences. I am a firm believer that valuing diversity in a team bringing about better results, and I think diversity in the student body does a similar thing for your education and skill set.

One of the ideas I have come across while studying the MBA which has made me think differently about what I might do in the future is the concept that sustainable commerce - micro-loans and small business - can pull individuals and in turn communities out of poverty.

I'm a big fan of kiva.org and similar organisations that combat poverty through programs that are driven in large degree by locals and produce sustainable grass-roots businesses. I am really excited to see students from the same countries getting an MBA education so that they have the skills to go home and build up the local economy to support these businesses in getting off the ground.

And finally: do you have any wise words for anyone thinking of studying towards an MBA?
I don't know about wise words... But my advice to anyone wanting to do an MBA is simply to enroll and do one unit to get the ball rolling. You may also consider enrolling along the path of Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma to MBA, rather than doing a straight MBA.

Even though it takes the same amount of time to reach an MBA, if something unforeseen happens and you need to stop studying for a while, you can at least have a Grad Cert or Grad Dip on your resume.

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