Recently I was accepted into a board position of a prominent not-for-profit organisation in Brisbane. The organisation provides services to cancer patients throughout the state of Queensland and it has been an incredible opportunity to apply many of the skills developed during my MBA.
At my first board meeting I felt pressure to perform like a seasoned business leader and provide input into conversations regarding the operations of the charity. My fellow board members are incredible people and are very generous with their time. I am fortunate to have their support for my learning and growth that, along with key skills that I have learnt in the MBA, is allowing me to be a more productive board member.
The ability to analyse data using standard business tools has been a very valuable skill. The organisation has good data management and record keeping however I felt there was a need to delve further into the data and understand areas of growth for the organisation. I feel that over time, the organisation will be able to make strategic decisions with supported data that will ensure the success of the charity into the future.
Another area of the MBA that has assisted me in this new challenge is the ability to analyse proposals and determine if they fit within the core strategic direction of the organisation. Like all companies, proposals from third parties are part of doing business and assist in allowing us to keep our finger on the pulse in our industry. Careful consideration is needed to determine if third party proposals support the organisation in meeting its strategic goal or if it poses the risk of drifting us off course. Through subjects such as operations design, studying an MBA has given me the skills to effectively evaluate proposals for the charity in detail and contribute to board conversations.
An important part of being on a board is also to keep the interests of the charity in the community’s minds by networking at functions. Whilst there is no subject for networking, the university does host many networking events that assist in breaking down apprehensions regarding public speaking. These events along with a deliberate strategy by the university to ensure diversity exists in classes, has added to my networking skills as well as grown my network of friends and contacts.
Overall, my generous and hardworking fellow board members have greatly assisted me to be an effective board member. The central foundation provided by the MBA has allowed me to build on these skills with experience and for that I am very thankful. As I have written about many times, the MBA is great at providing a starting point for future experiences to be built upon and in this example it couldn’t be more right.