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Kate Francis-Mulder, MBA graduate

Thrive in an unpredictable job market with an MBA

Published 8 Feb, 2024  ·  5-minute read

With trends like quiet quitting and the great resignation influencing people to reconsider their careers in recent years, continued uncertainty in the job market has left many asking: what should my next step be?

Associate Professor Nicole Hartley, the MBA Director at UQ, says more workers from a variety of sectors are re-evaluating their career options and looking at ways they can enhance their professional development.

Nicole Hartley

We’re certainly witnessing a ‘reshuffle’ with organisations desperate to hold onto their current talent as employees consider new opportunities. Through the current anomalies in our workforce, resultant from the pandemic, we’re seeing tighter labour markets across sectors, which have spawned both challenges and opportunities.

Nicole Hartley
UQ MBA Director and Associate Professor

In a tight job market with companies competing to find and retain quality talent, many professionals are looking at Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs to increase their options. From mining to healthcare, the UQ MBA attracts people across industries looking to enhance their business acumen, leadership skills and professional network.

We asked some of our MBA students and graduates to reflect on how an MBA can help you navigate a tumultuous job market by successfully enhancing your professional mobility. Here’s what they had to say.

4 ways to thrive in an unpredictable job market with an MBA

1. Build diverse, valuable connections

Attracting students from a wide range of backgrounds, the UQ MBA’s network is a notable drawcard for those looking to diversify their career opportunities.

Having only recently relocated back to Brisbane before starting her MBA, Kate Francis-Mulder saw the program as a chance to meet new people in the industry and expand her network.

"One of the best things about the MBA has been the quality of students," she says.

"I’ve studied with former professional athletes, surgeons, engineers, public servants and defence professionals. Everyone in the program is doing exciting and interesting things."

Similarly, Alexandra Fyfe saw the MBA as an opportunity to advance her career while forming quality connections in a new professional sphere.

"The connections I made during my studies with fellow MBA candidates have been second to none," she says.

"I am grateful I’ve been able to widen my network with leaders from a range of disciplines and industries."

Beyond the classroom, Alexandra also cites the industry exposure afforded by the MBA as a key feature of the program.

Alexandra Fyfe

I’ve been able to network with various industry leaders at employer mixers, conferences, guest lectures and other events. These opportunities have led to a significant growth in my professional connections and have helped advance my career.

Alexandra Fyfe
Master of Business Administration

2. Apply new expertise on the go

Starting an MBA can provide immediate value for those planning to work and study simultaneously. The UQ MBA is adaptable to suit full-time professionals who are interested in applying newly gained skills into their workplace.

For Soumya Nair, the UQ program gave her the flexibility to invest in her education while working. Along the way, she was able to take her newfound knowledge directly back to her job.

"The flexible structure of the UQ MBA assists with balancing my study, work and family," Soumya says.

Soumya Nair

I’ve been able to take weeknight classes, which has helped me implement newly learnt concepts directly at work and make significant professional contributions while expanding my knowledge.

Soumya Nair
Master of Business Administration

While studying, Soumya’s enhanced business acumen allowed her to transition into a new position in her workplace and drive multiple digital transformation initiatives.

Kate agrees that you can start reaping the benefits of your MBA learnings well before you graduate.

"The great thing about studying and working is that you don’t need to wait until the end of the program to start applying new skills and knowledge," she says.

"I’ve been able to apply frameworks and concepts to my work, while also gaining the confidence to make new career moves while studying."

Andrew Smith found the MBA effectively demonstrated how the content taught in the classroom could be practically applied within the industry. As a result, he started his own consulting company while studying and began to integrate his new business venture into his learning.

Andrew Smith

Throughout the UQ MBA, I’ve actively engaged with the course lecturers to frame assessment in the context of my organisation. This has included operations frameworks, industry and competitor analysis, innovation strategies and marketing approaches.

Andrew Smith
Master of Business Administration

3. Gain tailored advice from career experts

When making a big decision, it can help to have qualified support behind you. Whether you’re considering a new role or deciding what industry you’d like to work in, the UQ MBA Careers and Professional Development Team can provide customised advice to support you in working towards your goals – even if you’re not quite sure what they look like yet.

For Kate, the team’s specialised support helped her define her career pathway forward.

"When I started the MBA, I knew I wanted to take my career in a new direction, but I wasn’t exactly sure what that looked like or how to get there," she says.

Kate Francis-Mulder

The MBA Careers and Professional Development Team has been a wonderful resource in helping me understand what is important to me in my career and how I can use this to navigate a new career trajectory.

Kate Francis-Mulder
Master of Business Administration

Isabella Shoard found that having a career adviser in the program was akin to having your own consultant.

"The level of personalised support in the UQ MBA has been incredibly valuable," she says.

Isabella Shoard

The career support team have been steadfast advocates for my professional journey. They’ve guided me to consider how my career choices have led me to where I am and can shape where I want to go.

Isabella Shoard
Master of Business Administration

Andrew agrees that this support team was a critical part of his MBA journey.

"The MBA Careers and Professional Development Team are supportive, pro-active, and genuinely care," he says.

"The team helps develop your skills by building resumés, cover letters, interview techniques, and facilitating industry introductions."

4. Diversify skills to confidently change careers

When considering a career change, developing a range of expertise can empower you to take a leap of faith and explore opportunities in a new professional landscape.

The MBA gave Kevin Balshaw the confidence to take on complex problems outside of the industry he had worked in for 2 decades.

"I’d wanted to try a new career path for several years but felt nervous about making that jump," he says.

Kevin Balshaw

My MBA has equipped me with the tools, knowledge and support to take calculated risks. Since graduating from the UQ MBA, I have switched careers into management consulting and have been able to leverage the skills I gained during the program.

Kevin Balshaw
Master of Business Administration

Isabella found that the knowledge and skills she gained from the MBA strengthened her ability to confidently contribute new ideas.

"The diversity I can bring to discussions now has been incredibly valuable and helped build my confidence in the workplace," she says.

"The UQ MBA has shaped how I think about the world and how I interact with others in a more meaningful way."

Since enrolling in the MBA, Isabella has explored new managerial positions and accelerated her career across sectors.

"I have no doubt I wouldn’t be on the career trajectory I currently am without the backing and business acumen of the UQ MBA."

By equipping you with cutting-edge knowledge and confident leadership practices, a UQ MBA will help you thrive in an uncertain job market and empower you to achieve your goals – no matter what they are now or how they evolve in the future.

Learn more about the UQ MBA and apply now

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