How A QUT Executive MBA Gave This HR Executive An Instant Career Lift

QUT Executive MBA student Emma Wright will finish her studies at the end of 2023.

When Emma Wright started her Executive MBA at QUT Business School in early 2022, she hoped it would give her the skills to take on a more senior role and, perhaps, one day, become a Chief Executive Officer.

Little did she know how quickly success would come.

After more than a decade working in Human Resources for Queensland government-owned corporations Seqwater and WorkCover Queensland, Emma knew she would have to expand her skillset to take her career to the next level.

“I had spent many years as a specialist in the human resources silo but was aware that I needed to expand my commercial skillset if I wanted to one day become a senior manager or CEO,” she said.

“It was a gradual realisation that there is a much broader range of skills and knowledge required if you want to move out of your specialist field and make a bigger impact.”

“My goal has always been to lead a purpose-led organisation.”

Emma had always valued the role of education and had already completed tertiary and post-graduate qualifications in Business, Human Resources and Organisational Development when she decided to take on an Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) at QUT.

The QUT Executive MBA is designed specifically for executives with at least ten years of industry experience who have a desire to hone their leadership skills with an elite cohort. With one annual intake in January each year in Brisbane and Canberra, it focuses strongly on creating an intensive learning experience (three days over one weekend once a month in Brisbane or bi-monthly in Canberra) within a cohort of like-minded executives.

The Executive MBA program at QUT offers students the choice of two distinct pathways – Complex Project Leadership and Strategic Procurement or International Leadership.

“It was the right time personally and professionally for me to take on the commitment, and the EMBA seemed like a much deeper, collaborative experience. QUT ticked all the boxes for what I wanted from the program, and it has absolutely exceeded my expectations.”

She had barely started her studies when she was given the opportunity to be promoted to the role of Chief People Officer at WorkCover Queensland, with responsibility for leading the group across culture and change, employee experience, well-being and safety, and learning and development.

“It was an exciting opportunity, yet I was conscious it would challenge my abilities as a leader,” she said. “It was just the sort of role I was hoping the EMBA would prepare me for, but it came around a little quicker than I had anticipated.”

“I was able to integrate and apply my learnings in the classroom to the real world every day, and the EMBA has been valuable in filling in some of the gaps in my enterprise leadership skillset.”

Emma is nearing the end of her Executive MBA journey and departs in September for two weeks in Boston in the United States as part of the MIT Immersion program.

The program allows QUT Executive MBA students to build their digital leadership and entrepreneurial capabilities. For two weeks, students attended lectures presented by MIT Sloan School of Management academics designed to increase their skills in entrepreneurship, digital transformation and innovation.

“I am looking forward to the Immersion and think it will be a great way to cap off the whole EMBA experience,” she said. “I have already built incredible relationships with a diverse group, and the Immersion will cement those relationships.”

She said the cohort’s diversity, where she was the only human resources professional, was one of the best aspects of the EMBA experience as it provided a genuine mix of experience and knowledge.

“Everyone was from different backgrounds and brought different perspectives to discussions, creating a deep learning experience that is hard to replicate anywhere else.”

Applications for QUT’s Executive MBA are open until December. Find out more about their Brisbane and Canberra programs.


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 (