Queensland Business Monthly and Griffith University MBA Scholarship Winner Announced

Professor David Grant, Pro Vice Chancellor (Business) with Natalie Gregg, editor, Queensland Business Monthly
Professor David Grant, Pro Vice Chancellor (Business) with Natalie Gregg, editor, Queensland Business Monthly.

An architect from Brisbane has pipped five other finalists to take home the inaugural Queensland Business Monthly (QBM) Griffith University MBA Responsible Leadership Scholarship for 2016.

James Pearce, a senior associate from international firm Populous, was awarded the $50,000 scholarship and congratulated by Pro Vice Chancellor Professor David Grant and the Courier Mail’s Queensland Business Monthly Editor Natalie Gregg.

“James embodies the values and themes that make the Griffith MBA one of the highest-ranked programs in Australia,” Professor Grant said.

He said that the Griffith MBA is focused on developing future-focused leaders and instilling in them the skills and attributes needed to meet the significant challenges that they and their businesses will face.

“James has shown himself to be ideally suited in this context,” he said.

“Throughout the competition he very effectively communicated a clear understanding of the MBA’s core values and their significance to business and we were impressed with his vision of how he might implement these in relation to his own leadership and practice.

“I am sure he will be a terrific asset to our program and we look forward to his joining us in the New Year.”

James Pearce, Populous
James Pearce

Mr Pearce admitted that an MBA isn’t necessarily always the next step for architecture graduates, but he was excited to use his studies to help approach his career differently.

In particular, he said his MBA studies would help him network with professionals in different fields, which would give him unique perspectives and inspiration to take back to his own work.

The initial decision to apply for the MBA scholarship came over the breakfast table, when Mr Pearce decided to submit an entry after his fiancée stumbled upon the Queensland Business Monthly’s advert for the $50,000 full MBA scholarship and spurred him on to give it a go.

“Completing an MBA had been in the back of my mind for a while,” he said.

“I was looking for the next evolution in my career. The knowledge I would gain from an MBA seemed to sit perfectly with where I was looking to head.”

Mr Pearce’s work with Populous has involved major projects in Los Angeles, New Zealand and Beijing. Sustainable practice, innovation and an eye to the future are at the heart of what he does each day. He is also part of the company’s Asia Pacific regional leadership team.

He expects the majority of his postgraduate studies to be online, but is also keen to take part in classroom sessions at South Bank when the opportunity presents itself.

The international architect, however, was not the only one of the six scholarship finalists to walk away with a win.

Patricia Liebke, a Learning and Change Manager and e-health business analyst with UnitingCare Health, received the runner-up prize of a half-scholarship worth $25,000.

Ms Liebke is excited to apply her MBA studies to projects related to her profession, which have previously included the design and development of Australia’s first fully-integrated digital hospital in Hervey Bay over the past two years.

“We will be continuing with that change momentum and embedding new practices at St Stephen’s Hospital,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to using the MBA to challenge my thinking and identify opportunities to improve the way we do business.”

Patricia admitted she was both delighted and a little surprised when she got the call to inform her of her success, knowing there was a high-calibre of competition.

Queensland Business Monthly Editor Natalie Gregg said Pearce and Liebke were chosen for their depth of understanding of the concepts of sustainable leadership and their ability to articulate how they will use this learning to advance their careers.

Other finalists included Stacey Coburn, Jai Sudholz, Lisa Flower and Kellie Mayo.

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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).