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MBA adds wealth to finance career

‘Every unit I have done is relevant and I can assimilate my learning to what I’m experiencing in my role.’

With a successful career in the finance industry, Lee Mowat wanted a qualification that would back up her extensive experience and also ensure her professional skills remained relevant.

After deciding that a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree was the direction she needed to head, Lee then began researching different options and institutional providers.

‘I chose Deakin after speaking to someone at a careers’ fair. Talking to face-to-face was really helpful as I had not studied for a number of years and I’d also not been to university,’ she recalls.

Lee is now into her second year of Deakin’s MBA program and she’s combining her studies with a career in the banking and finance industry that began straight out of secondary school.

First working with the Westpac Bank, Lee has since held a large number of roles across the banking sector including retail and business banking and financial planning.

For the past 20 years these role have been in leadership and management and eight years ago, she moved to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) to work in business wealth management.

‘I was leading a team of financial advisers who work with corporate, SME business and agri-business clients before moving into my current role as Executive Manager for Financial Planning in Victoria and Melbourne metropolitan region,’ she says.

Today, Lee leads a team of nine CBA financial planning managers who collectively oversee 85 financial planners and 30 associates.

‘It’s a fairly large business and a state leadership role,’ she says. ‘There are many challenges – including the transition of the industry to a profession – which I am very excited about and it involves a lot of change, both operationally and within the culture. I see leadership as a privilege and I love being part of an evolving business and more importantly, the development of people.  Watching the success of individuals in my team is very rewarding.’

With the combined responsibilities of a busy career and a family, Lee needed a flexible study option and says this was one of the Deakin MBA program’s great drawcards.

‘I really liked the offer of various study modes and that you could mix and match these throughout the course,’ she explains.

Lee opted to complete the first five units of the program as an on-campus student and says this helped her integrate into study mode.  

‘My next unit will be off-campus and through Deakin’s Cloud Campus, which I’m looking forward to. I’ve also planned some residential studies. I love the fact that you can mix it up and also manage to your own time table,’ she adds.

Even though her studies have been on-campus, Lee says she’s been able to take advantage of Deakin’s 24/7 online accessibility.

‘Being able to watch a lecture and participate in collaborative sessions or review the recordings is great.  I travel for my job, so if I occasionally miss being on campus, I can easily review a lecture or catch-up on a session.’

One of the aspects Lee is enjoying from her studies is the interaction it provides with her student peers and Deakin’s academic staff.

‘This has been evolving since I began my studies and it’s exciting. I’m looking forward to it continuing with the residential units,’ she says.

Most importantly, Lee is appreciating the relevance that the MBA program has to her career.

‘For example, I really enjoyed the Business Process Management unit. Working with the CBA, I could see this as an integral part of our organisation and it was a “light bulb” moment. Every unit I have done is relevant and I can assimilate my learning to what I’m experiencing in my role,’ she says.

Lee is delighted that her professional experience is now being matched by a qualification that will boost her career relevance and longevity.

‘I’m already experiencing the benefits within my day-to-day role and I’m becoming more strategic in planning and management decisions.  This qualification will certainly enhance my ability to continue to progress my career.’

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