Lawyer-Turned-Startup Leader Awarded Future Leaders MBA Scholarship

Yasmin Monfared overcame significant challenges from a young age to launch a successful career in law and will now draw on an MBA scholarship as she pursues a startup leadership venture.

Yasmin has been selected as the recipient of the 2021 Future Leaders MBA scholarship, which funds the study of a part-time Master of Business Administration at the University of Sydney Business School.

Yasmin Monfared
Yasmin Monfared.

As the daughter of parents who immigrated to Australia from Tehran, Yasmin grew up within a close-knit family that worked hard to forge a life in a new country. This was disrupted when her father passed away from cancer when Yasmin was only 12 years old. However, his message to her – that knowledge is power, and that education is everything – drove Yasmin to work hard to achieve her goals.

“Yasmin’s work ethic is admirable and her achievements are very impressive for someone still in their early career,” said Professor Guy Ford, MBA program director.

“We congratulate Yasmin on being awarded the Future Leaders scholarship and await seeing the valuable contribution she will make to the program.”

Yasmin is a young professional with experience across the legal, management consulting and startup sectors. She hopes to use the MBA credentials that she will gain through the scholarship to expand her contribution to her current role at education startup Forage, and join the board of a non-profit organisation that provides care and support to survivors of child sexual abuse.

Upon completing her Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts majoring in International Studies, Yasmin worked for four years as a solicitor at the law firm Clayton Utz.

“I gradually built a reputation of being a hardworking and high-achieving lawyer, and gained experience working on global litigation for some of the world’s largest companies,” she said.

In 2018, Yasmin pivoted careers to management consulting after questioning whether a career in law would satisfy her career goals. She was immediately drawn to the world of consulting and within her first year was selected to participate in the consultancy’s leadership program, which accelerated the top 100 most talented women across the national firm into leadership positions.

Throughout the course of her career, Yasmin had the opportunity to work closely with survivors of child sexual abuse. While learning of their experiences was incredibly challenging, it was “the most rewarding experience of my career to date”. It left Yasmin with a lasting interest to continue to find ways to support survivors of child sexual abuse.

“In early 2020, I realised I was ready for a new challenge – one that would allow me to give back and make a difference.”

Enter Forage, an Australian born, now US-based, EdTech start-up. Forage works closely with organisations like JPMorgan Chase & Co, Boston Consulting Group and General Electric to create free virtual work experience programs that provide individuals with the opportunity to gain critical workplace skills while exploring different career paths. Forage seeks to disrupt traditional career exploration and recruiting practices and level the opportunity playing field so that anyone, anywhere can find their career fit.

Remembering her father’s message from a young age about the importance of education and wishing to break into the social impact space, Yasmin accepted a role as Customer Success Lead – APAC at Forage in 2020 – and is now their Director of Experience Design.

“Completing the University of Sydney’s MBA program will give me the fundamental skills I need to build an exciting career and help make Forage a success,” she said.

Yasmin began tudies of her part-time MBA in Semester 1, 2021. The Future Leaders MBA Scholarship is awarded on a yearly basis to an exceptional applicant who successfully completes a statement of motivation, an assessment masterclass with accompanying reflective essay, and a final interview.

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.