UQ MBA Transitions Geologist’s Full Potential For New Role in Business And Leadership

Robyn Shaw (middle) receiving the UQ MBA Women’s Leadership Prize.

The flight from Brisbane to the small mining town of Moranbah is approximately two hours long.

Robyn Shaw would pass the time by flicking through pages of magazines including The Economist, Time Magazine and the Harvard Business Review.

After the plane touches down, Robyn would begin another FIFO stint as a Project Manager for BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) at Goonyella Riverside Mine managing the delivery of civil, water and environmental engineering projects at the site.

But the magazine articles she reads about leadership, strategy, business, and finance resonate with her and the experienced project manager was inspired to take her career in a new direction.

“I was spending so much time reading business publications. That’s where the thought of doing an MBA crystallised,” Robyn said.

“I’d always been interested in business but then I realised there was a way for me to study and accelerate a career transition.

“I realised I was passionate about pursuing a business career and that’s where the UQ MBA came in.”

Robyn said the UQ Master of Business Administration (MBA) equipped her with important business skills to add to her experience in geology, engineering and consultancy.

“The generalist and comprehensive approach of the MBA allowed me to dip my toe in the water across 12 different subjects.

“I was able to gain a broad education about how business works and discover what aspects of business really appealed to me.”

Robyn said the support from UQ Business School and the flexible nature of the MBA program allowed her to fit study around her work commitments.

“I always travelled a lot for work and my workload could go from zero to 100 in the space of a week,” she said.

“The ability to move subjects around or pick subjects that were relevant to the work projects I had at the time meant I could really fit study into my work schedule easily.

Towards the end of her MBA, Robyn seized an opportunity at multinational oil and gas company BP as an advisor for retail asset optimisation projects.

It was the start of a new career with the business edge she had dreamed of.

“I was able to leverage my MBA to get that opportunity even before I had graduated,” she said.

“My learnings in finance and economics allowed me to transition from project management into a role with more commercial responsibility.”

Earlier this year, Robyn took up a role as a Program Lead at BP where she works with stakeholders across the company’s retail business. Her responsibility is to ensure that projects are being completed in a way that aligns with the international performance objectives of BP.

“The increased knowledge of economics and accounting I have now is invaluable,” she said.

“I wouldn’t have the confidence to be able to do my current job if I hadn’t completed the UQ MBA.

“I encourage anyone considering studying an MBA to just go for it.

“Don’t be overwhelmed by the commitment because the support provided, and the flexibility of the UQ MBA delivery makes it a positive addition to your life.

“What you get out of the MBA will enrich your life so go for it and see where it leads you.”

Visit the UQ MBA website for more information and to apply.

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.