Flinders University Announces Australia’s First Combined PhD-MBA

Flinders University MBA Director Carla Dias Wadewitz and Professor Harald Janovjak are leading the new PhD-MBA

What do you get when you combine the unrivalled expertise of a PhD with a business mindset and some newly acquired commercial acumen?

Flinders University is offering a combined PhD-MBA in 2023, and its co-lead Carla Dias Wadewitz said that this one-of-a-kind program will produce uniquely qualified employees who are in great demand by employers, including high-tech organisations.

“We know from talking to employers that PhD graduates are brilliant in their research field, but they often lack business-relevant abilities, including presentation, negotiation and leadership skills,” said Carla, who is also the MBA Director at Flinders University.

“It’s (the combined PhD-MBA) giving them skills that are not only useful inside a lab, so they understand human resources, finance and leadership,” she said.

The new PhD-MBA gives innovative researchers an opportunity to gain a doctorate and an accelerated Masters in Business Administration (MBA) qualification in as little as four years.

“Designed to integrate and fit into doctorate studies, the world-class MBA program at Flinders will give students a ‘real edge’ when taking their research expertise into the job market,” said Carla.

“Graduates will finish with an intense knowledge of their scientific field, plus important business, management, technology, Industry 4.0 and 5.0, sustainability, innovation and entrepreneurial skills, so they will be highly sought after for well-paid positions in a wide range of jobs,” she said.

Inspired by successful overseas PhD MBA programs at leading tertiary institutions in the US, France, Israel and Singapore, the Flinders University offering incorporates work integrated learning placements, cross-disciplinary education and an all-round understanding of analytical and creative thinking.

Program co-lead Professor Harald Janovjak said that skills acquired during the MBA will prepare an expert in their research field for ‘real world’ problem-solving, as well as open the door to relevant local and international professional networks.

“The story behind this new PhD-MBA is a story about listening to our next generation of researchers, many of which have expressed the desire to draw skills from different disciplines, to pursue more than one interest, and to be ready for industry, not-for-profit organisations and government,” he said.

“This new program will give our students a unique opportunity to embark on cutting-edge research in their area of expertise while gaining knowhow in management, and importantly take steps into the real business world.”

Flinders University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Robert Saint said that the PhD-MBA offering provides “world-class training that will give our graduates the skills needed to cover the range of research, entrepreneurship, commercialisation and business management activities that graduate researchers increasingly find they need to excel.”

Anthony Skeats, Chief Engineer at Micro-X, a high-tech company based at Tonsley Innovation District in Adelaide, works with Flinders University undergraduate and postgraduate students and endorses the PhD-MBA opportunity. “Flinders University produces brilliant scientists and engineers who are job-ready on graduation. The opportunity to combine students’ scientific knowledge and business acumen will fast-track their careers and be invaluable to their future employers,” said Mr Skeats.

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