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How flexible learning helped this Brookes Medal winner surpass her own expectations

Choosing a flexible path to study allowed Lauren Langley to embark on a Deakin MBA during a busy period in her life. Despite juggling a baby, work and study, Lauren was one of the top performing graduates.

For many new parents, embarking on postgraduate study whilst caring for a small baby and returning to work would feel like an overwhelming proposition.

But for Lauren Langley, flexible learning and stackable short courses through Deakin University’s MBA program allowed her to manage this kind of workload with ease. 

Ms Langley’s dedication has well and truly paid off. She was recently awarded the Brookes Medal, a prize that recognises the university’s top two MBA graduates of each year. 

The honour tops off an impressive period for Ms Langley, who began her post-graduate study when her son was six months old. Working as a unit manager at Barwon Health and with a background in nursing and midwifery, Ms Langley said she was drawn to further studies for a range of reasons.  

“I was working in a management role and wanting to take the next step in my career. But it also felt like the right timing as I was wanting to do something more with my brain,” she said. “I look back now and think, what was I actually thinking?!! But I had that flexibility of studying part-time and online – it was all very doable with a small baby.”

Ms Langley began the MBA by taking on one unit at a time, which then led to another, and so on, completing the qualification in under three years. 

Deakin’s unique stackable courses were a key asset. Co-designed with industry to provide in-demand and practical skills, stackable courses are delivered online via two study modes, either entirely flexibly or through live interactive classes. They can be completed as a stand-alone program or strung together to build a degree. Classes include Being Board Savvy, Innovation and Leadership, and Work and Wellbeing. 

“I really enjoyed the stackable courses,” Ms Langley said. “They were a great way to complete a couple of credit points in a short period of time, but I also found them a great learning opportunity.” 

“It allowed you time to engage with the educator due to their interactive nature and were a really enjoyable learning environment to be a part of.”

“The [Project Management class] has been particularly useful given the new role I’m undertaking at Barwon Health. The skills I have learnt have been invaluable.”

“I never in my life thought I would have ever studied economics, yet again this unit has helped  lay the foundation in helping me better understand the budgetary constraints in my current role.” 

Ms Langley is playing a key role in establishing the State Government-funded Early Parenting Centre facility at Barwon Health, in partnership with Tweedle, and is currently engaged in writing a model of care as well as undergoing a recruitment campaign ahead of the planned opening in mid-2024. 

The mother-of-one said many of the lessons she’s taking away from her studies are not so easy to measure and yet vital to her career growth. 

“One thing that really stood out throughout the whole course was around confidence,” she said. “When I first started my MBA, you meet professionals from all different careers with some hugely impressive career profiles. It can be overwhelming. The MBA has helped grow my professional confidence significantly and provided me with a fantastic group of connections.”

“Networking as well – learning about other professions and meeting people from all different disciplines. It has been a privilege.”