How Support Beyond The Classroom Helped These MBA Students Seize Big Career Gains

With opportunities continually arising in the current job market, candidates who invest in their professional and personal development are taking giant leaps towards transforming their careers.

In order to help students seize the emerging opportunities in the market, QUT is increasingly providing learning and personal development outside the classroom.

QUT MBA Program Manager Tim Burton said now was an ideal time for people to consider what they want to do in the next stage of their career – and how they are going to get there.

“There is a significant opportunity for professionals to take advantage of the current hiring environment by upskilling and being ready to move into the next opportunity,” Burton said.

“If someone is considering pivoting to a different industry or looking to advance further in their current industry, now is a great time to do an MBA and prioritise what you would like to do in the next stage of your life.”

Mr Burton said it was important for an MBA program to go beyond textbooks and classroom discussions to help students achieve career success.

QUT Executive MBA Program Manager Tim Burton

“QUT delivers individual coaching across our digital, executive and flagship MBA programs that identify where a student currently is in their career and what motivations are driving them,” Burton said.

“Then we unpack those findings through a formal process where students get an insight into what their future opportunities are, and what skills they need to achieve them.

“The mentorship establishes strategic goals in career and personal development and paves the way for success.”

Executive coaching is also central to the QUT MBA curriculum and is focussed on developing key leadership capabilities.

But the QUT MBA program goes further than just coaching. The program supports student success beyond the classroom by providing opportunities to develop professional skills with career events, short-term exchange options and study with leading partner institutions.

Students can also undertake a two-week immersion program at MIT in Boston, developing skills and capabilities in entrepreneurship and digital transformation.

Meanwhile, QUT MBA networking opportunities also places students in front of industry-leading companies including Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and the Bank of Queensland.

For Chris Henderson who recently graduated with an MBA from QUT, the program’s support beyond the classroom played a crucial role in his career transition from a sales role to Operations Manager.

“I was in the audio-visual industry and looking for avenues to advance my career. The problem I had was that it’s not as big in comparison to industries such as IT,” Chris said.

“The MBA helped me open doors to opportunities outside of the audio-visual industry by networking with the right people.

“The coaching made me understand what roles I could pursue in the future and the MBA provided key skills to go after them.”

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Chris said coaching on resume development, networking and pitching was invaluable.

“Advancing your career isn’t just about jumping on Seek and finding what suits you. That approach often doesn’t work, and it didn’t for me,” Chris said.

“The MBA taught me how to use my network to reach out to companies I would really like to work with, and that’s exactly how I landed my current role toward the end of my MBA.”

Chris is now Operations Manager at Electronic Living, an award-winning company providing automation, control and audio-visual solutions for the home, commercial and marine environments.

“My previous role was more sales-orientated, but now I work across the entire business in areas like Operations, Accounts and Project Management,” he said.

“If I didn’t have an MBA, I wouldn’t be in this position.”

Fellow QUT MBA graduate Kerrie Baldwin is a physiotherapist by trade and turned to the Business program to supercharge her career in 2020.

“I knew I wanted to do something big picture, but didn’t know what exactly,” she said.

“The QUT career mentor sessions helped me put the pieces of my career puzzle together and identify what areas of business I really loved.

“The process helped me decide consulting was my next journey and the MBA helped me take the steps needed to get there.”

Kerrie is now a management consultant with BDO Australia where she has combined her experience as a physiotherapist with newfound expertise gained through the MBA.

“I’m not the same person who started doing the QUT MBA,” she said.

“I thought the program would give me new skills and knowledge around Business, Strategy, Accounting and Marketing.

“I didn’t expect to also learn so much about myself and change in such a positive way.”

One of QUT’s Executive Advisers is Julian Dolby, who has more than 25 years’ leadership experience delivering improvement programs in Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Malaysia, PNG, UK, US, Canada, Chile and the Czech Republic. He is currently the Group Managing Principal, Advisory at design, engineering and advisory company Aurecon.

“The students I coach come to me either with a problem they are working on in the MBA program or with an issue they are facing at work,” Julian said.

“My approach to coaching is all about the significance of practical application.

“The student and I will discuss genuine real life case studies drawing on my experience in business and applying it to the problems they are facing.”

Julian said providing individual career guidance was rewarding for both student and coach.

“Sometimes a student may miss out on a role they applied for and we’ll work on how they can better position themselves for the next opportunity,” Julian said.

“It’s what I really like about being an Executive Advisor – mentoring students, giving back and helping them succeed.”

To find out more about the QUT MBA, register for the next MBA information evening.

Doug Estwick
Doug is an author for MBA News and Fixed Income News Australia. Doug has been a media and communications professional for more than 10 years, including working as an editor for News Corp's Quest Newspaper group.