Is An International Study Tour The Perfect Way to Finish An Executive MBA?

QUT MBA students at the 2023 MIT Immersion

An Executive MBA can be one of the richest learning experiences of anyone’s life and the gateway to a new world of career opportunities.

Capping your Executive MBA journey with an international study tour may be the only thing that can elevate the experience to the next level by creating lifetime memories, friendships and networks.

The QUT Business School has led the way in creating highly immersive, personally challenging and fun study tours that allow students to accelerate their learning journey.

The study tours are one of the reasons QUT has been ranked no. 1 in Queensland and no. 3 in Australia for postgraduate studies in AFR’s BOSS Best Business School 2023 rankings.

The QUT Executive MBA is designed specifically for executives with at least ten years of industry experience who desire to hone their leadership skills with an elite cohort.

With annual intakes each January for the Brisbane program and June for the Canberra program, it focuses strongly on creating an intensive learning experience (three days over one weekend once a month in Brisbane or bi-monthly in Canberra) within a cohort of like-minded executives.

QUT Executive MBA students can choose between two distinct pathways: International Leadership (IL) or Complex Program Leadership and Strategic Procurement (CPL). Depending on which pathway students take, they participate in either the MIT Immersion Program or the Complex Program Leadership (CPL) Study Tour.

MIT Immersion Program

The MIT Immersion Program takes place in September each year and allows select QUT MBA and Executive MBA students to build their digital leadership and entrepreneurial capabilities by learning from global experts at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

The aim of the MIT Immersion Program is to develop awareness and best practice capability in innovation, entrepreneurship and digital transformation as a result of engaging and connecting with the disciplinary expertise of the world-class MIT faculty, leading MIT institutes, and participating in high-quality learning experiences and activities which provide exposure to the MIT innovation eco-system.

QUT Executive MBA student Tim Armitstead (right) and his winning new venture pitch team.

Tim Armitstead, a chemical engineer and Senior Manager at Orica, was one of the students on the 2023 MIT Immersion Program and said the intensity of the learning experience was matched only by the location.

“MIT is such an incredible place; it is easy to see why it has a reputation as a global centre for entrepreneurship,” he said. “It is a phenomenal space centred around innovation and learning with some of the best minds and thought leaders you will ever meet.”

During the two-week program, Tim and his team of three fellow QUT students were tasked with developing and pitching a new venture. The new venture – an AI-driven big data exercise designed to reduce bycatch and improve commercial fishing efficiency – was awarded best pitch by the esteemed panel of judges.

“Winning was great, but what resonated with me the most was the shared enthusiasm for collaboration at all levels and the genuine gratitude expressed towards the wonderful people around us,” he said.

“It was a truly inspiring and life-changing experience.”

Complex Project Alignment and Implementation Study Tour

QUT MBA students at the 2023 Complex Project Alignment and Implementation Study Tour in Europe

Viviana Pena Mosquera is a project manager with a background in industrial engineering who oversees complex software implementation projects. Her Executive MBA journey started in 2021 when she started working with colleagues who were already studying their MBAs at QUT.

“I wasn’t interested at all in doing an MBA, but out of curiosity, I did a bit more investigating and quickly found they had a specialisation in complex project management and units on systems thinking and complexity that really fascinated me,” she said.

It wasn’t long before she found herself enrolled in the Executive MBA and preparing for the Complex Program Leadership and Strategic Procurement Study Tour to Europe in the last two weeks of September this year.

This year, the tour took in England and Switzerland and featured visits to four world-class organisations spanning various industries, including:

  • Siemens Gamesa at the off-shore Hull Blade Factory in Hull, England. This global leader in the renewable energy industry presented the challenges of working towards a sustainable energy future, highlighting various technical and operational Net Zero initiatives.
  • World Health Organisation (WHO) and GAVI in Geneva, Switzerland. The COVAX team, a part of the World Health Organization, a United Nations agency that managed the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, presented the challenges of stakeholder engagement during a crisis.
  • The Swiss National Museum in Zurich, Switzerland. Home of the largest cultural and historical collection in Switzerland presented the strategic challenges that museums are encountering in the context of the current digital transformation.
  • Swiss Federal Rail at the Gotthard Base Tunnel in Bellinzona, Switzerland. The world’s longest and deepest tunnel presented the operational and technical complexities associated with a 100-year best-of-class asset, which a recent catastrophic derailment has exacerbated.

Viviana’s enduring memory of the tour will be the opportunity to learn from people at the forefront of the World Health Organization’s response to COVID-19.

“It was an opportunity to learn from people you just wouldn’t be able to meet in any other environment than a study tour,” she said. “The insights and experience they were able to offer after managing a large and difficult project under intense pressures will stay with me forever.”

Applications for QUT’s Executive MBA Brisbane program are open until 17 December. Find out more and apply now.

Ben Ready
Ben Ready founded MBA News in 2014 and is the Managing Editor. He is a former business and finance journalist with Australian Associated Press (AAP) and Dow Jones Newswires in London. Ben completed his MBA in 2012 and was awarded the QUT GMAA Entrepreneurship Prize. He is also the founder and Managing Director of RGC Media & Mktng (