The greatest challenge for every MBA student is taking theoretical knowledge developed and refined over time by learned academics and applying it to the business challenges of today. Understanding great theories is one thing, knowing when and how to apply it in the boardroom is another thing entirely.
Whether it is to fulfil purpose or to drive profit, the majority of MBA graduates are seeking the knowledge developed through academic rigour to improve themselves and their value to their organisation or their community.
The right teachers who understand the practical application of knowledge in the real world through their own experience can be the difference between a student gathering a useless academic transcript or a student gathering knowledge to drive change.
Southern Cross University (SCU) has built its highly regarded online MBA around course coordinators and supervisors who can bridge the divide between academia’s pursuit of truth and wisdom and the real-world’s demand for practical solutions.
SCU Course Coordinator Dr Patrick Gillett not only brings extensive academic experience, having gained a Master of Science (University of Massachusetts) and a PhD (SCU), but also a diverse work background, including as a top-level squash coach.
“I was a mature age student when I started my undergraduate degree so had worked a variety of jobs and plenty of life experience before even entering academic life,” he said.
This blend of academic training and life experiences has proven to be an effective combination, particularly in his role as Unit Assessor for Organisational Behaviour unit of the SCU online MBA.
“As a unit of study OB is most effective when the learning content can be applied to practical ‘real-life‘ scenarios. The best learning outcomes occur when students do this in the context of their own careers. When that’s not possible however, I have a broad range of personal experiences to draw on.”
He is one of many course supervisors at SCU with experience beyond the confines of academia.
Project Management Principles core unit lecturer David Noble had nearly 25 years in the private sector before completing his Masters and joining the SCU faculty. He is also the course coordinator for SCU’s Master of Project Management.
Managing Information Systems unit director Dr Jun Xu utilised his own MBA as part of a project to improve electronic systems for the sharing of personal health information while Finance for Managers supervisor Dr Jennifer Harrison worked as an accountant in the advertising industry before completing her PhD.
“It is important that we have lecturers that can bridge the divide between the purely academic and practical implementation of that knowledge,” Dr Gillett said. “That is what our students want.”
THE SCU MBA is the first in Australia to be available 100% online, giving them a long history of experience to draw on in tailoring delivery to meet students’ expectations.
“Technology has disrupted so many industries, and learning is no different,” Dr Gillett said. “We have now moved on from just delivering online content to doing it in a more exciting and engaging way.”
The SCU online MBA has been designed and structured for mid-career executives seeking a career boost, but with the understanding that spending massive amounts of time sitting in lectures is not always practical.
The course includes a total of 16 units with 12 core units and four electives. Students can also choose to specialise in Accounting, Health Services Management, Information and Knowledge Management or Managing and Leading people.
Courses are completed over six weeks with six units a year meaning students can complete the course part-time in two years.