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Benjamin Davoren, MBA graduate

Is an MBA worth it?

Our graduates say yes, hands down
Published 9 Feb, 2024  ·  6-minute read

If you’re thinking about what’s next for you professionally, the Master of Business Administration is likely on your radar already. But with the time and financial investment involved, it’s natural to ask: is the MBA worth it?

Short answer: yes.

For a more in-depth answer, we asked some of our MBA alumni to discuss the career goals they were able to achieve with their degree and what made the UQ MBA worth it for them. They told us the program:

  • primed them for leadership positions in their chosen careers
  • gave them the confidence to back themselves in business ventures
  • equipped them with the tools to pivot their careers in new directions
  • offered them opportunities for faster career advancement
  • developed their professional network
  • prepared them to work in culturally diverse organisations
  • increased their earning potential.

There’s more than one path to career success and fulfilment, though. What makes the MBA worth it to one person may be completely different to another.

So, please keep your own career goals in mind as you explore how our graduates have used the UQ MBA to achieve theirs.

Is an MBA worth it? 8 career goals you can achieve with a UQ MBA  

1. Change careers 

A common reason many students enrol in an MBA program is they’re hoping to switch careers. Our graduate data reveals that 80% of UQ MBA students transition careers during their degree or shortly after graduation. One such graduate was Suzanne Wood, who felt like she was at a crossroads in her nursing career.

"I’d reached a point of minimal returns for effort," she says.

Suzanne Wood quote

There are limited pathways in nursing with how far you can go in terms of progression past the mid-management level and truly becoming an influential decision-maker. The MBA gave me new skills and greater self-awareness to design and craft the rest of my life.

Suzanne Wood
Master of Business Administration

Suzanne used what she learned in the MBA, combined with her skills and experience in the health industry, to transition into a successful consultancy career.

Doug Sheridan started the MBA to gain new skills to help him transition out of the defence force.

Doug Sheridan

Transitioning out of defence can impact your sense of identity, professional self-confidence, and mental and physical health. The UQ MBA gives me the opportunity to revitalise myself by developing new skills to launch a career in business by gaining a strong foundation in leadership and management.

Doug Sheridan
Master of Business Administration

2. Gain the strategy and leadership skills to advance a technical career 

No matter what industry you work in, an MBA qualification can help you develop the business strategy and leadership skills you need to take the next step.

Claire Johnston works as the principal health adviser at Mott MacDonald.

"When you reach a management level in healthcare, having business acumen is now just as important as your clinical foundation," she says.

"During the pandemic, healthcare leadership gaps became more evident as we were required to manage budgets and KPI assessments and plan strategically for growth."

Claire Johnston

If ever there was a time for a healthcare professional to do an MBA, it’s now, and the UQ MBA was the right fit for me.

Claire Johnston
Master of Business Administration

As the general manager (capitol solutions) at QIC, Katrina King agrees the MBA gives technical professionals the skills to move up the ladder.

"While my law and commerce degrees gave me fantastic technical skills, I was eager to develop more strategic leadership skills," she says.

Katrina King

My technical knowledge combined with what I learned during the UQ MBA means that now, I can lead a team of experts to get even better outcomes. The MBA gave me the tools to analyse and solve problems as well as the ability to articulate solutions in a compelling way for boards or executive groups.

Katrina King
Master of Business Administration

3. Land a C-suite role 

After experiencing the negative impacts of resource mining on local communities first-hand, Kate Bennett enrolled in the UQ MBA.

"I realised that to make a difference, you have to speak the language of the people making decisions. The UQ MBA gave me the game-changing confidence and skills to communicate with other C-suite executives."

Now, she works as manager (sustainable business strategy) at Aurecon, senior sustainability adviser at Senex Energy Limited, chief impact adviser at EarthTech and is the founding facilitator of Ultimate Contribution.

Michael Griffin reveals he drew on his MBA learnings constantly while overseeing the day-to-day operational functions of Cubiko in his role as chief operating officer.

Michael Griffin

A UQ MBA helps you to be able to speak the C-suite language with other executives. You gain a general awareness of every facet of a business, from human resources and finance to marketing and information technology, and a newfound ability to communicate strategies with everyone else at the C-suite and board level.

Michael Griffin
Master of Business Administration

4. Launch a consulting career 

Many MBA graduates use their qualifications to start a new career as a consultant. This was the case for Chris Hewitt.

"The UQ MBA helped me pivot from law to an exciting new career as a business management and innovation consultant, where I use what I learned during the MBA every day," he says.

Pratiti Nath already had a lot of research experience and had launched her own startup when she enrolled in the UQ MBA, but she found the program expanded her knowledge and created new career possibilities.

"I began working as a consultant while studying my MBA and soon joined one of the big global consulting companies in Australia. It was rewarding being able to grow in a new industry and apply the skills I was learning in the UQ MBA. Six months later, I moved overseas and was hired as a senior associate in the same organisation."

5. Start your own business

Jan Bodnaruk had been working as a civil engineer in the construction industry for 15 years before enrolling in the UQ MBA. With the goal of starting his own business, he was looking to gain practical business and leadership skills.

Jan Bodnaruk

The UQ MBA has had a massive impact on my career. It gave me the skills and confidence to start my own business. A few weeks after I finished the program, I launched BB Civil.

Jan Bodnaruk
Master of Business Administration

Read more of Jan’s story​​​​​​

Jessie Sadler is the founder and designer at an inclusive and adaptive fashion brand, Christina Stephens.

"The UQ MBA gives you contacts and confidence," she says.

"It gives you a great framework and the means to help your ideas come to fruition. Even if you don’t know the answer to a problem yourself, you learn how to find the right people and get the right answers."

6. Fast track your impact and increase your opportunities 

Tim Kuusik enrolled in the MBA because he wanted to transition out of consulting. He achieved this goal while still studying.

"I knew my UQ MBA was going to open doors – I didn’t realise it would happen so soon," he says.

"I would never have even been shortlisted for the role of Arq Group director if I wasn’t studying my MBA, but I got the job."

"Even though I hadn’t yet graduated, I had already developed the skills and the confidence to step up to a general management position. That was a pivotal moment for me."

7. Increase your skills and confidence in your current role

An MBA qualification can also give you the skills to perform better in your current position. This was true for Kate Green.

"Completing the UQ MBA gave me added confidence in decisions I make in my current job because it increased my tool kit and expanded my dreams of what I might do next," she says.

"While studying the UQ MBA, I was able to apply what I learned in each course almost every week to my real-life situation at work with confidence."

8. Get a board position

For many ambitious professionals, an MBA is worth it because it’s a stepping stone to their first board position. The program helps them develop the new skills and networks to find opportunities to ‘give back’.

For example, Dr Tina Janamian says she gained the leadership and strategy skills she needed to navigate a boardroom and lead organisations through her UQ MBA training.

"I had knowledge in primary healthcare, but I needed more business acumen in terms of strategy, governance, finance and leadership," she says.

"It’s satisfying to be able to work effectively with health services, care providers, peak body organisations and key stakeholders to use research and evidence to inform policy and practice – ultimately helping to improve healthcare and patient experience and outcomes. 

Having a fundamental understanding of governance and strategy – key skills you gain in an MBA – is really important to be able to achieve that."

How the UQ MBA helps you achieve your career goals 

As part of your studies, you’ll:

  • learn future-focused skills from passionate, engaging lecturers who are leaders in their fields
  • work on real industry projects to develop in-demand business skills and make new connections
  • gain lifelong access to one-on-one support and guidance from our dedicated MBA Careers and Professional Development Team, plus access to exclusive career events, programs and resources
  • connect with a diverse range of experienced peers who have an average of 13 years of professional experience and 6 years of management experience
  • join a cohort of over 4,000 UQ MBA alumni who share your ambition and want you to succeed
  • expand your professional networks overseas by studying a semester abroad with one of our international partners (like Harvard Business School).

Ready to advance your career?

Apply now to study the UQ MBA

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