Stuart Leaver, University of Western Australia Welcome and why an MBA?

Welcome. Like any other blog, I intent to provide some insight into my current MBA activities at The University of Western Australia (UWA) and will also provide some commentary on topics of interest. So if you are a past, current or prospective MBA student hopefully this blog will give you the perspective from a student who is working full time, but always giving priority to a young family.

The MBA track at UWA is either done through full or part-time studies, I have chosen the latter as working full-time takes precedence. The January to December academic year is segmented into 3 trimesters of study. What this means for me is weekday evening lectures and on occasion some weekend classes.

After 4 years and eight out of the 12 units under my belt, I can see the end in sight. After graduation who knows, apart from a well-deserved vacation for the family, a break from studies will be very welcome.

UWA is nestled on the banks of the picturesque Swan River overlooking a panoramic Perth city skyline. With spring now upon us it never ceases to amaze me how stunning the campus is and how fortunate I am to be studying in such a unique environment. UWA attracts an internationally diverse group of students and academics, this brings the opportunity to learn about other cultures and backgrounds and how business operates in global regions.

So why did I (with no former academic background), choose to put myself through this? I have often asked myself this question, particularly leaving work on Friday evening to attend lectures…

I have an information technology background. Due to various reasons, IT is often portrayed as non-business part of an organisation. So how do I assist organisations change this perception?

Well you are not going to get the business leaders wanting to learning more about IT so, the only option is for IT folk to move out of the basement and learn more about business. Enter the MBA. This will enable us to operate as the “general practitioner” within the organisation. As our exposure to other business disciplines increases, we begin to perform the role of facilitator and coordinator of organisational opportunities and issues.

As my MBA has progressed, the purpose for completing it has evolved into something that was not apparently clear on the outset. At the core of any good academic progamme, you should learn to question, interrogate and explore areas of interest. What I have discovered is that it not only teaches you these techniques, it also instills an element of confidence in the subject matter in question. Anyone can pick up a book on finance, marketing or strategy and obtain the same content we learn during an MBA; the real value for me is the interaction and debate we share during class or group assignments.

What I have found during my studies is that I have been exposed to areas of business I have not sought in the past. This has either confirmed my disinterest or conversely awakened an unexplored interest.