Businesses can unlock enormous potential by accelerating digital innovation and transformation. However, the right people need to be in the right roles, with the right skills, to lead them into the future.
The QUT Digital MBA is the QUT Business School’s newest MBA program and was introduced to focus on developing leadership and business skills for the digital age.
MBA News spoke to three QUT Digital MBA students from vastly different industries – health, resources, and luxury FMCG – about how the program is helping to chart paths forward for their organisations through innovation and technology.
QUT’s MBA Director and Associate Professor, John Bensley, also outlines what makes the Digital MBA stand out from the rest.
Michelle Baxter – Assistant Commissioner, Queensland Ambulance Service
Michelle Baxter has a long history in the Queensland Ambulance Service. However, it was safeguarding the future of the organisation that was the reason behind her decision to study a QUT Digital MBA.
“Innovation is a major objective the Queensland Ambulance Service is trying to achieve,” she said.
“Innovation can occur in any area; from what equipment we use, to best practice medicine, to what digital platforms we can implement.
“The digital world is the future of business, but it’s also the future of public services.
“The Digital MBA is equipping me with the knowledge to be a leader in the Queensland Ambulance Service as we work toward the digital future.”
Harrison Burton – Project Superintendent for Mobile Autonomy at Fortescue Metals Group
Harrison began his QUT Digital MBA when he was leading a team charged with the installation, commissioning, and ongoing maintenance of autonomous technology products at Fortescue.
“The knowledge I gained studying the Digital MBA helped me pivot roles,” Harrison said.
“It gave me a leg up to move into a project superintendent role and I am now part of the development and mobilisation team that deploys the technology we build in-house.”
Harrison said the digital focus of the Digital MBA gave him a crucial edge.
“A lot of my role is heavily focussed on reviewing financials, determining long-term strategies, and offsetting costs,” he said.
“The first couple of business units in the Digital MBA were absolutely amazing and set me up to achieve success in my new role.
“Then the digital nature of the program gave me the ability to ‘talk the talk’.
“I am often dealing with IT people, operational and technology people, and data scientists.
“I now have a holistic understanding of how everyone fits into this new digital landscape and that has really helped me to effectively communicate with all stakeholders.”
Lauren Chisholm – State Manager for Queensland at Moët Hennessy
Lauren had a background in public relations and event management in France and London before she landed a dream commercial role with Moët Hennessy.
“I decided to do the QUT Digital MBA because I knew progression in any industry at the moment surrounds the digital space,” she said.
“It made sense to me to immerse myself in digital applications.”
The Digital MBA consists of three High Impact Projects that are self-directed and work-integrated units.
“My High Impact Project focussed on the wine industry and automating the wine production process,” she said.
“It was really interesting because wine production has always been so traditional and hands-on.
“Now we are looking toward innovation and technology like never before.
“Technology can be adopted to have watering systems functioning entirely through a computer and drones can fly over and check the ripeness of grapes.
“There are so many opportunities in the digital landscape that I never thought of integrating prior to doing the Digital MBA.”
Associate Professor John Bensley – QUT MBA Director
Assoc Professor Bensley said the unique delivery of the QUT Digital MBA is what separated it from traditional MBA and executive MBA programs.
The Digital MBA comprises 12 units that are taught consecutively in 10-week study blocks. The program operates on a cohort-driven model where students study with and learn from the same group.
Each unit begins with an optional two-day weekend intensive workshop, hosted at the QUT Business School’s Brisbane campus.
“The Digital MBA caters for people who need flexibility or find themselves dispersed across the country for work,” he said.
“The workshops then give students the opportunity to meet with their cohort on campus.
“The Digital MBA combines the best of both worlds, with online study and face-to-face networking opportunities.”
Assoc Professor Bensley said the Digital MBA also featured a unique ‘phenomenological approach’.
Under a phenomenological approach, current business phenomena or events are utilised as the focal point for learning rather than any one specific discipline content area.
“What we do is we take a real and contemporary business issue and students apply discipline specific learning to those situations,” he said.
“They integrate all of their learning, leadership and decision-making skills using real-world scenarios.”
QUT’s Digital MBA also provides an opportunity to undertake a two-week Immersion Program at MIT Sloan School of Management in Boston.
Visit the QUT Business School website for more information about the program and upcoming Digital MBA experiences.