UWA Business School’s social club creates MBA friendships that last.
Founded three years ago, the student-run organization has stripped down social barriers and brought students, alumni and faculty together.
At club-run events — such as nights out at local bars, high teas, cycling trips and the prestigious MBA ball — students and professors escape from the stresses of business school life and chat like old friends.
BusinessBecause caught up with the club’s three founders, Adrian Bland (AB), Tarmianne Marshall (TM) and Tomy Hwang (TH).
Why did you decide to found the student social club?
AB: For me it was about meeting as many people in the MBA as I could. Networking always seemed so artificial, so I wanted to be involved in something that connected students in a relaxed and friendly environment.
TH: Our core purpose has always been about making friendships that last. We understand how important it is to network in your professional life, but sometimes people also need a friend who understands the issues and can be confided in when the going gets tough.
TM: Friends outside university often don’t understand the stress of papers being due, group assignment dynamics, and the looming threat of exams. The club provides a social outlet whereby everyone is experiencing the same stresses and challenges. Instead of making networks, you can walk away having made some genuine friendships.
What is the most memorable social club event you organized?
AB: Our breakthrough event at Steve’s Hotel in 2015 is a particular favorite of mine. I had worked at Steve’s for many years, and my involvement in the social club came largely on the back of taking students down to the hotel bar after exams. We topped 100 attendees that night.
TH: Our first inaugural kick-off event at Belasyse bar sticks in my mind. It was stinking hot. 80 students were jam-packed into this sauna of a room!
TM: The inaugural ball was by far our largest and most ambitious event. We filled the Astral Ballroom at Crown Perth, and it was a fabulous night. We realized that finally, our vision had come to life.
What makes Perth an attractive location for MBAs?
AB: UWA is a great school with a great program and social life. Throw in our relaxed life style, clean air, great beaches and weather and beautiful people, and Perth is the only destination for a prospective MBA student.
TM: Perth has it all. Every day on my commute in to work I see the beautiful clear skies, the stunning Swan river, and the huge trees and native flowers in Kings Park.
The city has flourished in the resources and mining boom and many companies are now setting up state offices here.
How do you sum up your MBA experience at UWA?
AB: Extremely rewarding. We really are like a big family.
TM: It’s been a true pleasure. Adrian, Tomy and I have formed a strong friendship, which is enduring beyond our studies.
It’s also been a truly humbling experience watching our dream grow and handing the reigns over to another group of highly motivated, friendly students — Maggie Woloszyn, Matt Horgan and Dave Smith — who are ready to take the club new heights!
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