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Above and beyond

"The quality of the lecturers in the MBA program were equally impressive with each one committing serious time and effort".

Air Commodore James Hood’s most recent accolade, the 2015 Brookes Scholar award, recognises his outstanding academic achievement as one of the two top graduates in Deakin’s Master of Business Administration (MBA) program.

James, who is also a Medal of the Order of Australia recipient and highly-accomplished senior defence officer with the Australian Air Force, completed the MBA in partnership with the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies (CDSS).

‘In 2014, I was fortunate to be able to attend the CDSS where students are expected to complete a postgraduate qualification through its academic partner, Deakin University. I was one of five students selected for inclusion in the MBA,’ he says.

The CDSS is the senior educational institution of the Australian Defence College which offers a year-long postgraduate education program.

With its strong practitioner focus, it provides senior military and civilian officials with the knowledge and skills to operate at the highest levels of leadership, command, policy formulation and management.

As an executive aviation safety engineer with the Australian Defence Force (ADF), James has recently been appointed Director General Defence Aviation Safety Authority.

‘I prescribe aviation technical standards and regulations, provide specialist engineering advice and education, establish the certification basis for all state aircraft, provide organisational/personal approvals and permissions across Defence and Industry, assure compliance, and recommend issuance of Military Type Certificates for new aircraft,’  he explains.

James says he was particularly keen to enrol in the MBA program as he’d previously completed a Master of Commercial Law at Deakin where he was taught by the university’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Jane den Hollander.

‘I found her lectures captivating and I was inspired to undertake further studies in the business administration field. The quality of the lecturers in the MBA program were equally impressive with each one committing serious time and effort  – above and beyond that expected – to maximise the learning opportunity for students.’

He says the 45 students he studied with in the CDSS represented some of Australia’s finest ADF personnel along with peer-level military officers from the Asia-Pacific region, Europe, North America and the Middle East. 

‘Although Deakin is a relatively young university, it has forged a strong partnership with ADF, providing senior military officers with the education to succeed at strategic levels, while offering CDSS students a superior learning experience.’

Impressed with Deakin’s off-campus study mode, he says he thoroughly enjoyed the MBA program’s residential subjects.

‘The opportunity to “live-in” and work with peer-level executives and directors in an immersive learning environment was outstanding and it provided an invaluable opportunity to form enduring friendships,’ he says.

Also included in the Faculty of Business and Law’s 2015 Dean’s Merit List, James says he was ‘especially humbled’ to be selected as a 2015 Brookes Scholar.

‘My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the Brooke’s Oration by Mr Bernard Salt. The following dinner with Mr Roger Brookes’ family and his close friends was delightful and the short speech by Vice Chancellor Jane den Hollander was inspirational.’

In his current role, James will oversee a three-year delivery of a new suite of Defence Aviation Safety Regulations (DASR) across Australia.

‘The DASR are based on a convention for military airworthiness that is emerging from Europe, and we are hopeful to extend the Australian DASR across neighbouring countries in the Asia Pacific to create a truly global convention for military airworthiness amongst coalition and regional Defence partners,’ he explains.

He adds that the complexity of such a project can only be attempted when senior military and civilian officials have the combined knowledge, awareness and skills to operate at the highest levels of leadership, command and policy formulation in Australia.

‘Deakin University, in partnership with the Centre for Defence and Strategic Studies, provides such education for senior officers to succeed at strategic levels in a complex and modern security environment.’ 

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