Young MD Jack Roberts Taking On MBA Despite Not Completing School

Managing Director of Site Safety Solutions Jack Roberts is mid way through his MBA despite leaving school early.

At this time of year, receiving your end-of-year high-school results can seem like the only thing that matters in the world.

However, whether you’re filled with delight, utterly disappointed, or, in reality, not too bothered either way, it’s vital to remember that your future success is far from determined.

“It’s important for both students and parents to know that not achieving the ATAR results you might have hoped for doesn’t determine your future success,” says Jo Thomas, COO of the Australian Institute of Business.

“Many of the most successful leaders came to education late, focussing instead on building practical skills and building a career before trying their hand at tertiary education to take them to the next level.”

“With solid managerial experience, there are several pathways that can lead directly to a postgraduate qualification and the added benefit of starting late is that you’re more likely to study something that will shape your career, and you can instantly apply the things you learn to your real working life.”

From zero qualifications to Managing Director

One such student is Jack Roberts, who quit high school after year 11 and is now studying an MBA through AIB, after completing his Graduate Certificate in Management.

“High school just didn’t interest me,” says Sunshine Coast-based Jack, 32, who’s Managing Director of Site Safety Solutions.

“I always thought that I was academically inept. I left school with no qualifications. I just wanted to get out and work – at that point in my life I didn’t thrive in an academic environment.”

Jack spent four years working for Mitchell Water before, at the age of 23, deciding to launch his own business, Site Safety Solutions.

Almost ten years later, he’s midway through his MBA.

“I love business management and helping people within their businesses, and at this stage of my life, I have discovered a love of learning that certainly wasn’t there at high school.

“Studying now is not always the easiest with a full-time job, two kids and a business, but it’s something that will assist me for the rest of my professional life.”

First degree at 35 for AIB Dean

While Jack is studying the AIB MBA, Professor Ingrid Day is responsible for creating and delivering it.

And Professor Day, who holds a PHD, completed her first undergraduate degree at the age of 35.

“I achieved my first tertiary qualification in my mid-thirties, while caring for two pre-schoolers and working. In fact, to be honest, I had made two previous attempts, both as a late teen and in my early twenties, when I certainly wasn’t prepared for the discipline that is required to be a successful student.

“Study changed my life in so many ways, and the most important was the broader perspectives and ways of viewing the world that it opened up for me.

The importance of real-life experience

It’s that lived experience, in addition to educational qualifications, that is vital in developing the professionals who are going to drive businesses forward over the coming years.

Thomas says, “At AIB we believe previous qualifications only make up part of the picture. We place a real emphasis on experience, and helping people into higher education, regardless of their educational track record.

“As such, it’s always a good time of year to remind high-school students and those closest to them that, the future isn’t decided on the outcome of the ATAR results.”

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 (