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Going the distance – how extreme sport can complement your degree

"Sometimes my best thinking happens while running."

Can you imagine running 100 km? That’s more than double the distance of a traditional 42.195 km marathon – a great achievement in its own right.

One would imagine that training for ultramarathons requires a full-time commitment, leaving little spare time for other things.

We spoke to Deakin MBA students Alex Ramsey and Adrian Lazar who have managed to combine work, life and studying with ultramarathon running. They even suggest that although it’s hard work, all aspects of their busy lifestyle complement each other.

Alex explains that he got into ultramarathons because he likes to play outdoors.

‘I’ve done a whole range of endurance sports from long-distance triathlons and multi-day adventure racing to multi-day, stage mountain bike races – and of course ultramarathons are the thing I’m into at the moment. 

‘Honestly, I’m just a big kid who likes to play in the bush, the competitive side of things is less important and being fit is just a by-product of having fun outside,’ he says.

For Adrian running is about finding quiet time. He explains that it allows him to alternately connect or disconnect from other aspects of his life.

‘Sometimes I will get home from a couple hours of running and not be able to recall a single thought that passed through my mind. Yet sometimes my best thinking happens while running; the decision to travel for a year took place while reflecting on my next steps during a run.’

When elaborating how they fit a busy training schedule with study requirements, both Alex and Adrian agree that Deakin’s flexible MBA makes it possible.

‘I make the MBA fit around other things in my life. Being able to do one subject at a time really helps with this,’ says Alex.

‘I’ve been involved in strategy as an adviser to governments, as an entrepreneur, and as a CFO of a large investment advisory firm.  I thought an MBA would help with conceptual frameworks to assist with both strategy design and execution and I am pleased to have found a program that fits around my other commitments including sport.’

He explains that Deakin’s trimester structure allowed him to complete one subject at a time and still finish the degree in a reasonable timeframe. ‘Residentials are also another drawcard that have helped me complete the degree faster,’ he says.  

Adrian explains that as a Deakin Cloud student, he used flexible learning options to plan long training sessions in the middle of the day and he studied before or after his training.

‘I always wanted to study at a university with a strong MBA reputation that would also allow me to manage my own time – Deakin was able to offer that,’ he says.

Apart from flexibility Alex also highlights Deakin’s wide subject choice. ‘Deakin’s MBA, relative to say AGSM or MGSM, has a traditional post grad coursework framework (12 units) with electives – this meant I could combine management and behavioural subjects with technical and finance subjects,’ he says.

The Deakin MBA is one of Australia’s most highly regarded MBA programs, with the online MBA recently voted #1 in Australia by prestigious university rankings organisation QS. Renowned for its flexibility, this 5-star, and quality accredited program is designed for busy professionals who want to develop their careers, while working and balancing family and lifestyle commitments. Study online or face-to-face or both with working professionals and industry experts.

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