Infrastructure expert Johanna Marsh has been awarded a full scholarship to study an MBA at Griffith, winning the main prize in the Queensland Business Monthly Griffith MBA Responsible Leadership Scholarships competition for 2019.
A Senior Associate with Infrastructure Advisory Group and the youngest Board Member of the Infrastructure Association of Queensland, as well as the board’s only representative from a non-legal or financial profession, the 26 year-old said she was eager to jump in to the Public Policy major and learn how to influence sustainable change at the highest level.
“I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity and feel a terrifying but exciting sense of responsibility to use this platform and the knowledge gained through the program, to truly make a difference as far and wide as I can,” she said.
“I’m excited about learning how to be a responsible leader; how to balance delivering positive community and environmental outcomes, whilst also providing shareholder value.”
Johanna is already a Griffith alumnus, having completed an Accelerated Bachelor of Business degree, during which she was awarded the Dean’s Medal for outstanding academic achievement (highest GPA for Griffith University Bachelor of Business Program for graduating year) and the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Academic Excellence.
“I have always wanted to complete further study because I love learning new things, but for me it was about finding the right time where I had clarity over what I wanted to achieve during/after postgraduate studies.
With roles in corporate affairs and stakeholder engagement for various large infrastructure organisations, Johanna believes she has found her niche.
“I fell into the industry by happenstance and the first few years were incredibly challenging, but I wouldn’t change a thing. The toughest moments I have experienced have also been the most formative, and they have helped elucidate who I am as a person and what I want to achieve in my career.
“I started out in a commercial role (managing contracts on a large construction project, FIFO to Gladstone at age 20). In some industries, if that is where you started then that is where you stay for your entire career. But in this industry, the doors are always there, you just need a strategy to kick them open.
“People underestimate how large this industry really is and the plethora of opportunities that it can provide.
“Infrastructure isn’t just an industry for engineers and tradespeople; we need diversity of thought to remain competitive and that doesn’t happen without people from all different disciplines and age groups.”
Of 81 applications in total, 58 candidates were eligible for the scholarships, which included a full and half scholarship, and four finalist scholarships (25 per cent program cost or three courses), a $140,000 investment in future QBM Griffith MBA Responsible Leaders.
Like Johanna, winner of the half scholarship Mark Ryan said he was ready to jump into the MBA program straight away but recognised the responsibility that came with accepting the scholarship.
Senior Manager Strategy and Engagement at Mater Group, Ryan is also the Chairperson of a sporting not-for-profit, Return Serve, which creates healthier lives and brighter futures through free activities for people experiencing disadvantage.
“The vision of the Griffith MBA and its values align really well with the direction I would like to see business, government and not-for-profit organisations heading in as we respond to the planet’s evolving challenges,” he admitted.
“We’re in a hyper-connected and incredibly complex world and responding to those challenges is not something we’re going to be able to do through simplistic solutions delivered by command and control leaders.
“My sense is the business world is slowly shifting away from the profit at-all-costs mentality, but it’s also up to people of my generation and even younger to bring broader perspectives to leadership circles to influence decision making.
“I think Griffith’s approach of putting ‘Purpose beyond Profit’ and the thinking we will be exposed to can only assist with evolving those business narratives.”
The winners of the finalist scholarships (25 per cent MBA program cost or three MBA courses) were:
- Peter Loxton
- Kate Grudzinskas
- Jacqueline Brewer
- Winnie (Uyen) Nguyen