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MBA provides the spark for a new storytelling career

With a freshly-minted MBA, Alexis Howell has expanded her skills into the world of podcasting and blogging.

When Alexis Howell began her Deakin MBA in 2019, she wanted to build on her undergraduate degrees in biomolecular and medical science and explore the possibility of a healthcare career.

But it was a final semester elective on social media content that sparked an unexpected career shift into the “new media” world of podcasting and blogging.

‘I loved making the videos, podcasts and digital marketing materials and realised I’d finally found something that “lit me up” inside’, she says.

Alexis graduated with her MBA degree in early 2022 and has since forged ahead with a podcasting career that covers a diverse range of topics and guests, complemented by blog posts which explore her professional and personal journey and eclectic interests.

Everyone has a story

Alexis believes everyone has a story that’s worth sharing.

‘We can all learn so much from one another – especially if we share our deeper experiences and truth. I love learning but I also see so many voices missing from the conversation. I want to find those voices and record their stories.’

One of podcast projects has been exploring the journeys of her final year high school peers in the series The Last 27 Years.

‘I wondered what had happened since we were all sitting together in one place. I imagined 180 paths leading away from the one spot and how much we could all learn from each other if we shared our experiences and what we’d learnt.’

Endless story ideas

Alexis’s other podcasts include women’s immigration stories and celebrating individuals who specialise in atypical professions or expertise.

‘I wanted to showcase atypical “success”, and less traditionally well-trodden paths to reveal how both diverse – and similar – these experiences can be,’ she explains.

When it comes to topic inspiration, Alexis says she relies on her instinct and a never-ending stream of ideas. 

‘For example, the immigration stories came from knowing people who didn’t grow up in Australia. Their stories are inspiring …I wish everyone knew what they’ve faced and overcome as I believe awareness increases compassion and understanding.’

Alexis says interviewing a diverse range of guests is a privilege as it delivers not only insight  but the opportunity for personal reflection. She also enjoys blogging and describes it as an opportunity to communicate unobtrusively.

‘There are so many issues I am passionate about and when I give voice to them with a blog, I can let go of the “passion” which might otherwise keep me up at night!’

MBA builds a solid foundation for any career 

The motivation for Alexis to undertake an MBA stemmed from many years of self-employment.

‘I’ve worked for myself since I was 22 but I had no formal business education and often wondered what more I needed to know. I wanted to understand all the considerations involved in business decisions,’ she explains.

The MBA provided Alexis with a strong understanding of global economic issues and deepened her insight into business decision-making – knowledge that she now applies regularly in her new career.

‘While my undergraduate studies were based around scientific research, the MBA gave me economic understanding and insight into how corporations make decisions … the world is less confusing with an MBA!’ 

She particularly enjoyed Deakin’s digital technology units and says a solid understanding of technology and marketing is fundamental to business success.

‘The MBA marketing unit exposed me into research into consumer behaviour, engagement, branding, positioning. This is very relevant for me moving into new media where individuals and organisations try to maximise engagement with a targeted audience. We all need to make a living and if you’re working in new media – even if it begins as a hobby – there needs to an income-stream strategy.’

Career flexibility

By expanding her career opportunities (she also delivers maths and science tuition through the Master Tuition Centre) Alexis also has more balance around her other responsibilities.

‘I have two children with special needs and two parents in their final stage of life so there are a lot of responsibilities infringing on my ability to work regular hours. But I’m also at a place in my life where I am ready to take more risks and back myself. I want to do what fascinates and draws me in and I’ve always loved communication and connecting with other people through conversation,’ she says.

The power of new beginnings

Her advice for others considering a new study or career pathway is always positive.

‘We can never replace time and experiences … it also comes down to what we believe about ourselves. Today I can’t think of many things I believe I’m incapable of doing but that wasn’t always the case.’

Through her podcasting and blogging venture, Alexis says she’s also formed a new philosophy about storytelling.

‘Everyone has a story and inspirational life lessons to offer by sharing their experiences. Sometimes they’re not aware of it, sometimes they’re a role model, and sometimes they’re a warning. But everyone has gifts for others that are contained within their own story.’

If you, or anyone you know, has a story to share please contact Alexis at  shinemealight@gmail.com

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