These Western Australian’s Turned Their MBAs Into A Family Affair

It’s not uncommon for siblings to be studying at the same university. But the whole family? And studying the same course?

A family of four from regional WA are doing just that – and continuing to build their family business along the way.

Zachary Wood was the first to decide to apply for the Master of Business Administration (MBA) at Edith Cowan University (ECU). After he highlighted the career benefits and how it could help grow their business, he was soon followed by his sister Emilya, dad Sean and mum Cathy.

“ECU offers flexible delivery of classes for people with busy lives, different work schedules, different time zones in opposite sides of Australia,” Ms Cathy Wood said.

“With Zac running his own software business from Canberra, Emilya working as an accountant in Perth and Sean and I running the family roadhouse in Brookton, the option to study part-time and online made ECU a great fit.”

There are multiple options to study an MBA at ECU: on campus in Perth or online, full-time or part-time, during summer school, and in one-week intensive units or block mode.

“The choice to study online allows regional families like ours to continue to live, work and contribute to the town we love.”

The Wood family are combining their individual expertise and new business knowledge to develop the family business – and enjoying increased facetime together.

“Even though we aren’t all studying the same subjects, we are constantly talking about how we can apply what we are learning to our industry,” Ms Wood said.

A range of 16 MBA specialisations are offered at ECU so you can adapt your study to suit your chosen career path.

Cathy and Sean are using the MBA to set up strong foundations for their new business venture, HASS Foods.

“HASS Foods is our own unique range of food products not yet available on the world market, that provide fun and easy ways for people to get their five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit every day.

“These include dry bread mixes that you just add water to and bake.”

Their son Zac is using the MBA to expand his business skills and influence in the tech industry and Emilya aims to transition to a career in agricultural management, while both assisting with the family business.

No matter your age or background, an MBA can take you where you want to go.

“It’s about more than an education in business. It’s about growing yourself as a person so you can have a greater impact on the world around you,” Ms Wood said.

“The MBA provides a platform for younger generations to build a solid foundation of business skills to use in the real world, while more experienced professionals are able to augment their existing skillset to broaden their horizons, improve business and grow their careers.”

Ms Wood said she felt everyone at ECU wants to see them succeed.

“The university staff are genuinely interested in helping you get the most out of the MBA, by connecting you with industry contacts, providing one-on-one assistance with course work, and helping you apply your learnings to your unique business or chosen field.

“We have been blown away by how much effort the School puts into extra-curricular activities and resources to improve our educational experience and professional lives.”

ECU’s dedicated approach to student support was recognised the latest Good Universities Guide results (2022) as the top WA university for Student Support, Learning Resources and Overall Experience in postgraduate Business and Management.

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 (