I never had any intention to go to university.
While I have done well in my career so far, I have always been concerned that I was less employable on paper. This concern has grown as I have entered my forties. I began to feel I was in danger of becoming irrelevant without constant reinvention. Therefore I accepted another role at Coles as Business Systems Manager, with the intention to transition into management and build my skills in this area.
A couple of years ago I found I was in limbo – I was neither an IT specialist anymore (as I had gravitated towards management), nor was I a true manager.
My experience could not match the managers around me, whom I both work and compete with. My manager at the time suggested a master's degree. I looked into it further and found the Master of Management at Monash Business School.
The course has enabled me to jump-start my career.
The course focuses on personal development and offers a variety of interesting units such as Organisational Change, Business Strategy, and Leadership. It also offers me the ability to study part-time, which means I can continue full-time employment. Perhaps more importantly, it offered an pathway to university which supported my position – someone with significant experience and a current management position, but who did not have qualifications beyond Year 12. The pathway provided me an opportunity to study and then articulated into the master's programme. Many of the students I have met in my course have entered via a pathway also.
The Master of Management is aimed at providing managers with a deep and broad understanding of their role and how they can transition into leaders.
While I was initially daunted by postgraduate study, the master's, whilst academic, has undeniable practical applications for managers. I love this master's course – I have learned so much that when classes break in the semester I look forward to them starting up again. There has been a seismic shift in how I think about myself and how I perform my work. My decisions, strategy, ability to influence, emotional intelligence, and leadership skills have all developed significantly. My perception has broadened, my relationships are more positive, my business interactions are at a higher level, and there is a perceivable positive feedback loop with my peers. I think more strategically and transformatively. Above all, my confidence has grown exponentially.
The past year has been challenging – but also one of the most satisfying and rewarding years of my career. I never considered that the Master of Management would have such a impact on me.
I am now 18 months into the course, and during a recent and very positive work performance review, both my manager and I remarked on how dramatically I had changed. It is a practical degree, and I am using everything I have learned. I have now been put on a bonus scheme, I have more access to senior management, and for the first time since turning forty, I no longer think the best career years are behind me. I am treating this master's as an investment in my life and economic future. It will pay off, and is already starting to.