MBA, Digital MBA, or Executive MBA? Here’s How These Students Chose The Right MBA For Them

    Steph Tandy, Ekaterina Richardson and Paul Matthews studied different MBA programs through QUT.

    The MBA is often seen as a qualification with the power to transform where a career is headed. But with a range of different programs available to choose from, deciding which version of the MBA is an important step.

    QUT has Queensland’s largest range of MBA programs: The Executive MBA, MBA, and Digital MBA programs.

    MBA News spoke to three QUT MBA students about their experience with their chosen program and how they have applied the learnings to their career.

    MBA Graduate: Steph Tandy

    The MBA is QUT’s flagship program and has been running for 30 years. It is designed with flexible learning in mind, where students can study at their own pace.

    It provides opportunities for students to apply what they are learning in the program in their workplace.

    Steph has a background in the creative arts but discovered a flair for business when she found herself managing a team of 30 staff at the Starlight Children’s Foundation.

    Steph Tandy studied the flagship MBA program at QUT.

    She said she chose the MBA experience for two key reasons.

    “Firstly, I wanted to rebrand myself and my career,” she said.

    “I’m now a completely different person. My way of thinking, my way of approaching different problems, and even my way of holding myself has changed.

    “Secondly, building a network was really important to me. I wanted to go on campus, have discussions face-to-face with my peers, and be a physical part of the community.

    “The QUT MBA was really great from day one with building important connections.”

    The MBA has allowed Steph to seize a new opportunity at a technology consulting firm, achieving her ambition to rebrand her career.

     Digital MBA Student: Ekaterina Richardson

    The Digital MBA at QUT features webinars and structured online learning. It’s QUT’s newest program in the MBA suite and has been running for three years.

    The program operates on a cohort-driven model where students start and finish with the same group.

    For current Digital MBA student, Ekaterina Richardson, the digital nature of the program aligns perfectly with her life and career.

    Ekaterina founded Digital Lab, a leading digital marketing firm on the Gold Coast.

    “I am a business owner with a family and daughter, so I benefitted a lot from the online nature of the Digital MBA and how accessible it was,” she said.

    Ekaterina Richardson studied the Digital MBA at QUT.

    “I needed to make sure I could study at times when it suited me.

    “The Digital MBA is also really relevant to what I do in my career every day in the digital space.

    “The current environment is causing a lot of organisations to go through digital change and so the Digital MBA is absolutely valuable.”

    Ekaterina said the program has helped her transition from a corporate role as a consultant with Deloitte Digital to managing her own successful business venture.

    Executive MBA Graduate: Paul Matthews 

    QUT’s Executive MBA program has been running for more than 20 years and is designed to take experienced managers to new levels as highly skilled leaders.

    It offers students opportunities for international study tours and an MIT immersion program.

    For Paul Matthews, the cohort-driven model of the Executive MBA program appealed to him as he pursued new opportunities after a career in the Australian Defence Force.

    “One of the big things that stood out for me is how you kept the same cohort the whole way through the Executive MBA,” he said.

    Paul Matthews studied the Executive MBA at QUT.

    “You build really strong relationships with your peers through face-to-face networking throughout the two years of the program.

    “We all use the cohort a lot in a professional sense after completing the Executive MBA. We are always calling each other and asking for people’s perspectives on things, and it’s been quite amazing to develop that network.”

    Paul is now Manager for Strategy and Transactions at multinational professional services firm, EY.

    “I now do a lot of commercial strategy, advising and transaction diligence, and I draw on a lot of knowledge and experience from the Executive MBA.”

    Similarities and Differences: QUT’s Three MBA Programs Side By Side

    While QUT’s three programs have their differences, there are also some common features.

    All programs are taught by leading academics who are experts in their field. They include access to events and career workshops.

    For a donation to QUT’s learning fund, alumni from all programs can also take any MBA unit after graduation, keeping their knowledge relevant.

    Viewing on mobile? Scroll across to view the entire table.

      MBA Digital MBA Executive MBA
    Duration 2-4 years 3 years Structured 2-year journey
    Ranking #1 in Queensland
    #3 in AustraliaAccording to 2019 AFR BOSS MBA ranking
    #1 in Queensland
    #2 in AustraliaAccording to 2019 AFR BOSS MBA ranking
    Key Program Aspects Study at your own pace with a 7-week half semester structure.

    Can apply what you learn in the classroom into your workplace.

    Webinars & structured online learning with an optional intensive weekend every 10 weeks.

    Cohort driven model: start and finish with same cohort.

    Can apply what you learn in the classroom into your workplace.

    Intensive weekend delivery – Friday, Saturday, and Sunday – 1 weekend per month.

    Cohort driven model: start and finish with same cohort.

    International study tour and MIT immersion program available.

    Can apply what you learn in the classroom into your workplace.

    Learning pathways and learning approach Top pathways:
    · Leadership and strategy.
    · Discipline pathway.
    Allows you to undertake 36 credit points outside of MBA units and/or 36 credit points from a specific area of interest in a discipline. Discipline areas could include Accounting, Human Resource Management, Marketing, Finance or Healthcare.Program can be tailored to your requirements.

    A number of international immersions can be completed online, or overseas once borders are open.

    Phenomenological approach:
    Take a phenomenon (a contemporary problem happening in the real world) and take a number of different disciplinary lenses to unpack that phenomenon.Grounded, immersive and real-world focus.International immersions can also be completed in the Digital MBA.
    Two pathways:

    Complex project leadership.
    About situating projects within portfolios and larger enterprise.
    Enabling organisational capability through the alignment of implementation and strategy.

    International leadership.
    Focused on developing an entrepreneurial leadership, looking at digital disruption and looking at how you can design disrupted business models.
    These two pathways enable students to develop skills in two different areas.

    Learning and support Subjects include systems thinking, problem framing and advanced strategy.

    Three leadership subjects to unpack your leadership capability.

    360-degree feedback on your leadership capability from your team with one coaching session.

    Mentor program.

    Same subject areas as MBA.

    360-degree feedback with one coaching session.

    Mentor program.

    360-degree feedback with four coaching sessions.

    Executive advisor panel.

    CEO mentor program.

    Delivery 6 teaching periods per year.

    Monday to Thursday, 6pm-9pm.

    10 weeks of teaching per unit.

    Monday to Thursday, 6-8pm.

    Intensive weekends.
    Next intake March 2022 April 2022 January 2022
    Total cost $64,800 $48,816 $76,608

    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.