From project manager to C-suite, via EMBA

150129 mymba martin mooreMartin Moore’s journey to becoming one of Australia’s most senior energy industry executives shows how passing the rigorous personal ‘test’ of an Executive MBA can provide the gateway to long-term career success.

Martin, who is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Queensland-based electricity company CS Energy, overcame the multiple demands of career, family and study to complete his EMBA in 2003 (QUT) and begin his path to the corner office.

Taking his existing skills from a background in project management and enhancing them with broader management studies was the driving force behind his decision to undertake an EMBA.

“I primarily saw the EMBA as an opportunity to build on existing skills and learn how to apply them in mainstream business positions. It was more about the things that were lacking in my repertoire, what I needed to learn and what I needed to develop into, than the qualification itself,” he said.

While Martin found balancing full time studies and work commitments the toughest part of the MBA the sacrifice was ultimately “worth it.”

“There were a couple of times I considered postponing it,” he said, but “if I couldn’t handle the work load and pressure that come with this study on top of doing my role, then I would have to re-assess my career aspirations; it would be unlikely that I would be able to handle the demands of a more senior executive or CEO role.

“I saw it as a test of my resilience and a test of my staying power and commitment.”

While challenging, Martin was drawn to the QUT EMBA as it offered high quality teaching as well as an exceptional interactive approach to group learning.

“The Brisbane Graduate School (now QUT Graduate School of Business) had a cohort approach which meant you had a small group of relatively high quality people,” he said. “You get to experience the richness of their views and diverse experiences from a range of industries, and I really feel that was the most valuable part,” said Martin.

Developing lasting friendships with a number of former MBA classmates “was great in terms of developing networks,” he continued.

“The higher quality cohort, the richer the experience.”

His management education did not finish with the EMBA and in 2007 he completed Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program, which Martin describes as “an MBA on steroids”.

While he is a strong advocate of management education he does not believe an MBA can be a substitute for career experience.

“I find that many people think that an MBA per se is going to make them more employable,” he said, “but that is simply not the case in Australia.”

“I always say that an MBA is going to make you a lot better if you’re already good, but if you’re average at what you’re doing don’t expect it to significantly uplift your capability, “ said Martin.

Still involved with the QUT EMBA program, Martin now provides both leadership and career advice to current EMBA students through QUT’s Leadership Practicum subject. It sees senior leaders from businesses around Brisbane paired with Executive MBA students acting as their advisor during their second year.

“I can understand what the students have been through, having done the same thing myself,” he said.

He believes the program is a great addition to the curriculum that wasn’t available when he undertook the EMBA.

Martin added that his best advice to anyone considering an MBA is that the MBA should only be just “one piece of the puzzle in a lifelong quest for learning.”

“You should always be looking for something to learn, to give you a better perspective or greater understanding of people, business, and most importantly, yourself. There are many valuable and readily available sources, and I learn constantly from the people around me, because I seek out their unique experience and perspective – that’s what helps me to be a better leader,” he said.

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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 (rgcmm.com.au).

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