There he was at Dawson Mine, 185km south-west of Gladstone and one of the oldest open-cut coal operations in central Queensland.
It’s the sort of mine that peppers regional Queensland, where 240 tonne trucks haul coal to be railed to the coast and exported.
And it’s there that Adam Chater, working as a superintendent at the mine, wondered how on earth he was going to study an MBA almost 200km from the closest university.
Adam – raising two young kids in Central Queensland – needed a flexible enough course to fit around work demands, family life and location.
“I was looking at MBAs and QUT sparked my interest because of their focus on entrepreneurial pursuits rather than just big business,” he said.
“But I had young kids so I had to work out how to do it in a way where I was not required to go to Brisbane or go to a campus.
“When doing QUT’s online MBA came up as an opportunity, it was perfect because it allowed me to do an MBA while living in Central Queensland.”
Adam, who began his MBA in 2018, said the resources industry was going through a major digital transformation and innovation phase.
He is using his skills and learnings from his MBA to drive innovation in a mint new role as Chief Operating Officer at Highwall Mining Australia.
And he hasn’t even graduated yet, with two-and-half units to go.
“The resources industry is sometimes reliant on others to bring innovation and ideas to them,” he said.
“But if we can get more leaders in the transformation and digital space embedded in businesses, the resources industry will be able to implement internally.
“We will be able to take big ideas in the digital and innovation space and apply them in the industry.
“The digital focus of the QUT MBA is a key asset because that’s the direction businesses are going in and thinking about.
“Businesses are being driven by technology, digital innovation and transformation – but QUT has already done that with the online MBA.
“That’s one of the advantages of the QUT Digital MBA – they were already doing what the COVID-19 scenario has forced many businesses to change about their operation.
“If any business wants to survive and thrive, I think leaders are needed when it comes to technology, digital work and transformation.”
QUT Digital MBA:
QUT’s Digital MBA is a three-year, part-time undertaking, providing a unique online leadership degree preparing students to lead future-focused organisations in an era defined by rapid technological change and digital innovation.
It’s delivered in a flexible online environment, but provides all of the elements of a traditional MBA trough nine thematic units and three practical high-impact projects.
The MBA at QUT gave Adam the opportunity to take his career to the next level.
“I had been progressing through Anglo American all the way up to superintendent level, but I wanted to get into the higher management level.
“I decided the ticket to the next opportunity was an MBA.
“I always questioned whether I had what was needed to do the business strategy side of operations.
“The MBA enabled me to cement in my own mind that I can do business strategy and that higher level management role.
“When the opportunity for a high management role at Highwall Mining Australia came up to run the whole business aspect side of things, the MBA gave me the confidence to put myself forward.”
Adam said the value of an MBA was immense and there were no shortcuts – as he found out himself.
“I did engineering and commerce at university because the plan was to avoid having to do an MBA,” he laughed.
“But you need an MBA to get to that next level of leadership and management.
“And QUT has proven the digital MBA is a great way to support your goals because it fits in with your lifestyle and matches what you are doing.”