Gaining a Master of Business Administration (MBA) qualification is a no-brainer when it comes to learning skills in leadership and management, but it also offers the opportunity for personal growth.
Multiplan General Manager Iann Pitout AIMM said doing an MBA was a journey that was more than simply gaining an acronym.
“The goal is not the acronym, the goal is to learn, absorb and completely embrace the values taught in an MBA in your professional and personal life,” he said.
“The tools you learn to become a better business leader apply to being a better husband and father.
“Just last week, I told to my wife that what I had learnt about managing staff could be applied to our kids – it’s all relative.
“It’s not just business-focused. If you really embrace what you’ve learnt, it transposes into all parts of your life.”
Cedar Woods Finance Analyst Elle Perzamanos said studying for an MBA helped her grow as a person.
“I’ve changed so much in the three years, I’ve really become a different person professionally and personally, and I think it’s just made me a better human,” she said.
“It’s really built my confidence in a lot of areas and I feel validated as well.
“My husband is the operations manager for a smaller family business and he’s even started coming to me with queries or questions on how to approach certain things in his day-to-day role, which has been great.
“Plus, I’ve been able to really throw some of those things into my dad’s business, which I manage.”
Inspired to undertake an MBA degree
Mr Pitout said he was influenced to study for an MBA by his leaders in a previous job at an audiology company, who were undertaking the degree at the time.
“I was talking about it with them and they lent me their books,” he said.
“The advice all of them gave me was to make sure you gain experience, because an MBA is pointless if you don’t have the experience in business, so I made that my goal.
“I turned 40 this year and I capped it off with finishing my MBA.
“I feel like it has filled in the gaps in the experience I’ve gained over the years.”
Ms Perzamanos knew she wanted to do further qualifications but wanted to do something with wider applicability.
“I was working for a property developer and progressed up in their finance team to a financial accountant, but I didn’t have a formal degree of any kind,” she said.
“I like business, so I wanted to do something that was going to incorporate it but not tie me into one thing like doing an accounting degree.
“My boss asked me if I had thought about doing an MBA – he was really supportive and gave me the extra little push to do it.”
Back to the books as a busy professional
Studying can be challenging when also juggling a full-time job and family, but Mr Pitout recommended involving your family in the process.
“It is obviously a challenge doing it with a young family and holding a full-time job,” he said.
“I’ve found if you make your family part of the journey, it supports you – everyone was just as excited when my results came and they understood what it meant.
“It’s different to when you go to school or when you go to university. You get treated as a professional when you are doing an MBA, so if there’s things you’re falling behind on, there’s enough support and understanding.”
On top of working full time and helping her dad run his business, during her third and final year of the course, Ms Perzamanos found out she was pregnant, adding another challenge into the mix.
“I was quite sick for the first 18 weeks and I wasn’t able to attend my AIM WA classes and work on the same day, so I had to have Mondays off to attend my MBA classes,” she said.
“Being my last six months of the MBA, I wanted to make sure I maintained a certain standard and that was a bit challenging when I was feeling unwell.
“But it ended up being so well timed – I finished my MBA in December last year, went on maternity leave and then had my baby at the beginning of February.”
With experience of both online and in-class learning, Mr Pitout recommends attending all classes in person where possible.
“I started off 100 per cent online, completed my graduate certificate and graduate diploma, but finished my MBA doing the on-campus class,” he said.
Mulitplan General Manager, Iann Pitout
“I realised doing it online was probably harder, as it requires a lot more discipline, self-studying and research. I didn’t get as much out of it because you’ve got very limited contact time.
“The MBA is all about making those connections and interacting, and I found that being on campus in my final year enhanced my experience with like-minded people in the class.
“I advise anyone else to go to campus from day one because that’s where you meet people from different environments and perspectives.”
Ms Perzamanos agreed that learning from lecturers and classmates is an important part of the MBA.
“I gained so much from the amazing facilitators and from my peers that made me really open my eyes to a lot of things.”
“I was able to take all of that knowledge back into the business I work for plus, with a practical MBA, your assignments aren’t just case studies, you actually do them based on your organisation, so they were really relevant, " She said.
“I was able to even present a few things to the business and implement what I’d learnt, and I’m hoping when I go back after my maternity leave that I’ll be able to continue to do that.”
Confidence - the main benefit of an MBA degree
Pursuing an MBA will undeniably change your life. It will help enhance your leadership skills and form new connections, but what is one of the biggest benefits of studying an MBA degree?
Mr Pitout said one of the most important things an MBA gave you was confidence.
“You always have that lingering thought of do I know what I’m talking about but the MBA reaffirms and ultimately gives you that confidence,” he said.
“It gave me the confidence to reach further, expand my capacity and self-belief.
“It mostly made me realise that, as a leader, our job is to commit to lifelong, continuous learning.
“An MBA expands your capacity to explore concepts, ideas and theories and to advance yourself and your ability as a leader in business.
“You can then return the favour by inspiring others who work for you, to help transform those who have the potential to be great leaders.”
Where to from here?
Are you interested in studying for an MBA or other related qualifications? To discuss how an MBA, Graduate Diploma, or Graduate Certificate could benefit your career, you can call AIM WA on 08 9383 8000. Or take a look online at AIM WA's MBA program to learn more.