Upskill in the downturn.

Written on the 16 October 2009

Investing in education and up-skilling now will lead to future opportunities when the economy recovers.

As additional tertiary qualifications become more essential to corporate success, a federal report released last month shows the largest increase in university applications in eight years.

Megan Walker graduated with a master of business marketing from Queensland University of Technology in 2004. She says the confidence that university instilled in her was a major factor when establishing her own marketing firm in Brisbane.

“The post-graduate program in particular provides the opportunity to work with real clients which really gives you confidence to succeed in the real world,” says Walker.

The Market Savvy director attributes much of her success to finding a mentor at university, but attests to the importance of learning from fellow students.

“It’s a great learning environment, bouncing ideas around and learning off your peers,” she says.

Federal Minister for Education Julia Gillard announced last month that university applications have grown by 5.6 per cent this year — the largest increase since 2002. People of all ages and background are encouraged to consider tertiary education as part of the Rudd Government’s Education Revolution.

A vital part of the $16.2 billion, three-year investment to build the scheme is working to increase the proportion of 25-34 year-old Australians with bachelor level qualifications to eventually reach 40 per cent by 2025.

Investment adviser and principal of RBS Morgans and Griffith Business School graduate Sky Chapman, enrolled in university after spending two years working overseas before deciding to up-skill and enter the corporate world.

Chapman says while ‘you cannot do it without a degree’, merely attending university is not enough to guarantee a successful transition into a career.

“It’s very important for students to prove they can focus and commit to something for a long period of time, but at the end of the day you’ve got to get good grades to set yourself apart,” she says.

“The independence of university studies is important because it provides the necessary atmosphere to be self driven and learn how to manage time and stress.”

Chapman agrees that working with fellow students is highly beneficial and says internship programs and networking are just as important as the courses in creating real opportunities out of university.

“It’s a great chance to have a chat with people in the industry which can certainly help you get a job,” she says.

Chapman believes it isn’t until graduates start practising their skills in the real world that the benefits of tertiary education start to emerge.
“You often get lost in how much you actually do learn at university,” she says.

Walker has seen the benefits of university go further than her career having made life-long friends during the education process.

“The best part is you get to meet and associate with people who are interested in the same areas you are,” she says.

“But above all else, the confidence university produces has changed my attitude from a ‘working bee’ way of thinking into an entrepreneurial mindset.”

QUEENSLAND University of Technology’s (QUT) Faculty of Business was the first business faculty in Australia to earn all three international accreditation symbols of excellence from the world’s leading business school accrediting bodies.

QUT is the only Australian university to hold the triple crown of approval from the Association of MBAs, the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) and the US-based Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

QUT executive dean of business Professor Peter Little, says the triple crown is an acknowledgement of QUT’s world-class quality rating for its business courses, including its flagship MBA program.

Little says gaining and maintaining each accreditation provided a rigorous independent assessment of the faculty’s academic content and delivery, staffing quality and organisational processes, measured against a number of respective international standards.

“It took only 16 years from the time QUT was awarded university status for its Faculty of Business to claim the highest international recognition for excellence,” says Little.

“While the QUT Bachelor of Business, MBA and specialist postgraduate programs are already known for their strong international focus, our graduates are always sure that their QUT business qualification will be even better recognised globally.

“Our full-time MBAs highlighted the content of the course and the fact that the faculty is accredited for their choice. Part-time MBAs tended to focus on the flexibility that allows them to continue working while studying, the links with business and industry, the location of the School of Business being close to work and home; and the fact that they regard the school as one of the best in the country.”

In addition to being accredited with the best MBA program in the country, QUT boasts the ‘best Australian economist under 40’ as judged by the Australian Economic Society earlier this week.

Professor Paul Frijters of QUT’s School of Economics and Finance received the accolade, which is only handed out once every two years, after details about his career had been seen by a wide range of economists throughout the country.

Frijters says the award was based upon a review of his entire career so far as well as his contribution to the progress made by QUT as a renowned research institute over the past few years.

GRIFFITH Business School’s MBA has been awarded a five star rating for the eighth consecutive year by the Graduate Management Association of Australia (GMAA).

The only MBA in Queensland and one of only two in Australia to boast such an achievement, the announcement highlights the quality, rigour and relevance of the program.

A sustainable enterprise specialisation was introduced this year into the MBA, with triple bottom line concepts of corporate social responsibility and financial sustainability key elements within the curriculum.

MBA director Dr Paul O’Brien, says the rating highlights the fact that MBA programs that incorporate responsible management principles are the future.

“Griffith Business School was the first business school in Australia to sign the United Nations principles of responsible management education agreement and is aggressively implementing these principles,” says O’Brien.

“Great leaders have long-term vision that enables them to steer their organisations in the right direction for success – that’s what we instil in our MBA graduates. Incorporating sustainability and social responsibility into business decision making can only have a positive effect on the long term success of any business.”

The Griffith MBA has a people, planet and profit focus that paves the way for a career of distinction.

The new sustainable enterprise specialisation, introduced second semester this year, joins nine other specialties including financial planning, human resource management and international business.

“Concerns over climate change, global warming and widespread environmental degradation indicate how important it is for business leaders to be prepared for this new environment,” says O’Brien.

“This specialisation aims to create the next generation of business leaders by providing a framework for understanding the challenges and opportunities for the future. Students will learn how to manage business while creating a positive change in society.”

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