With an undergraduate degree in commerce, and a career in management, Craig O’Leary was looking for a postgraduate qualification that would take his business skills to the next level.
Choosing Deakin’s internationally-accredited Master of Business Administration (MBA), Craig says his return to study was motivated by the desire to not only expand his knowledge but also fend off career complacency.
‘Business professionals can often become comfortable and complacent. I didn’t want this to happen to me as it limits my disposition for learning and new skill acquisition. Studying an MBA forces you to get out of your comfort zone, deal with the latest issues, apply the newest management techniques and constantly challenge yourself,’ he explains.
Accessing most of the MBA’s units and assessments online, Craig was able to successfully manage his studies around work and personal commitments and says the program delivers robust, real-world, business management skills.
‘It provides a solid overview of the business world, a deep understanding and a certain adaptability to the dynamics of the current environment. I believe the MBA also provides significant networking opportunities … you are able to engage with colleagues, teaching staff and business people from other industries.’
Craig says he chose to study his MBA at Deakin because of the five-star feedback he’d received about the program and its flexible delivery.
‘The reviews of the Deakin MBA were fantastic - particularly the online version. I had a number of offers from other universities but I chose Deakin due to the availability of its state-of-the-art online platform. It didn’t disappoint one bit,’ he says.
One unit that he chose to undertake on campus, rather than online, was the residential Strategy Capstone unit that he rates as an outstanding highlight.
‘This was an unbelievable experience. The week was set up brilliantly, as were the project teams. The guest speakers were second-to-none and it really provided me with an opportunity to relate the content to real-life, working businesses,’ he says.
Linked to the MBA’s core units, the Strategy Capstone unit encourages students to think strategically about an organisation, its industry and competitive position. As individuals - and team members – it teaches them to identify, develop and implement organisational strategy.
‘This unit is a must for anyone doing an MBA,’ adds Craig.
Craig currently works as the Business Development Manager, Building Markets, with BlueScope Australia and New Zealand – a strategic position that he says builds mutually-beneficial working relationships.
‘I am tasked with leveraging, understanding and influencing multiple stakeholder value drivers. I incorporate economic drivers by developing a deep knowledge of customer's business, current macro- and microeconomic trends, sector and industry trends and potential new business opportunities - together with establishing differentiated value and articulating this in return-on-investment and financial terms,’ he explains.
Providing challenge and diversity, the role allows Craig to engage with clients across all levels of the BlueScope organisation.
‘I am also involved in a number of product projects and this is a passion of mine - understanding the customer needs,’ he adds.
With his MBA now completed, Craig is looking forward to implementing his skills in the workplace and says the program has taught him to think more broadly about the business, rather than as a set function.
‘Not only does this program challenge you mentally but it also exposes you to other areas of the business, gradually increasing your knowledge base and skill set. The gained knowledge and skills are also transferable across other functions and industries, meaning greater career possibilities.’