How My UWA MBA Took Me To Europe, Canada And The USA

Matt Horgan was blown away by the international opportunities on offer at the Perth-based school

Matt Horgan took up every international opportunity on offer during his part-time MBA at the University of Western Australia.

Over the course of three years, Matt enrolled on a summer course at Harvard in Boston, USA, visited Europe for the first time studying at German university WHU Otto Beisheim, and even represented UWA in Toronto at the mining-focused Schulich International Case Competition, taking home first prize.

A process engineer at metal manufacturing giant Alcoa, Matt sees the mining and metals industry becoming more globalized, and he's using his international experiences to keep pace.

Having worked alongside his studies, he credits his MBA with providing him with a deep understanding of sustainability business practices and corporate social responsibility; crucial to an industry wracked by environmental concerns.

Consequently, it’s forward-thinkers like Matt that will bring the resources trade into the 21st century.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at UWA?

While researching my MBA, I remember attending several UWA information sessions and being absolutely blown away by the calibre and diversity of the students there.

Likewise, the lecturers at UWA are world-class and are thought-leaders in their respective fields. Both factors have subsequently contributed to a very engaging learning environment at UWA throughout my MBA degree.

UWA’s business school in Crawley is also pretty spectacular, which helped seal the deal for me!

How was your summer experience at Harvard?

During my seven weeks at Harvard, I took two graduate-level units in private equity and international business strategies, which were a great extension to my studies from my MBA course at UWA.

Although it was a pretty intensive seven weeks, I had a great learning experience overall, and it was brilliant to be able to experience something like that through my MBA. I also met some terrific people from around the world who I still regularly keep in touch with.

You also completed some of your studies at WHU in Germany. How did studying there benefit you?

Having never visited Europe before, the chance to study in Germany through UWA and immerse myself in the local culture, while simultaneously learning about aspects of European business, was one I had to take.

Within the two week program, we were able to complement learning about monetary policy and luxury brand management with field trips to places like the European Central Bank, which resulted in a well-rounded learning experience.

You participated in a case competition in Canada while at UWA, what was that experience like?

The Schulich Case Competition is predicated on sustainability within the mining industry. In the first round, we submitted essays exploring the key factors behind sustainable mining. The second round was a case-based presentation, which this year explored the prioritization of possible sustainability-related investments for a new mine. The final round this year was at the PDAC conference in Toronto, in which we presented to a panel of thirty judges as well as attendees from the conference.

Having made it through the first round, we were very lucky to have Resource Capital Funds sponsor us to attend the second round in Toronto. The trip itself was pretty hectic, but we did manage to check out Toronto, which is a beautiful city, and had a great experience overall.

I also feel very lucky to have been able to captain three outstandingly high-performing and collaborative members in Tim Andrews, Jessica Harman and Jessica Volich. Their hard work made the task of being captain a much easier one!

What is the value of an MBA, and of the international experience it brings, to working in the resources industry?

The landscape of the resources industry has changed considerably over the last twenty or thirty years, with sustainability playing as great a role as shareholder returns and employee engagement. In this regard, MBAs are essential, as they think in a wider context and know how to balance competing priorities within a business.

As exploration technology continues to develop, globalization of the resources industry will only continue to increase. To this end, an appreciation of the global marketplace is becoming imperative within the industry, so it's great that UWA supports this. International experiences highlight cultural differences, and how they inform different business practices.

How else have you gained from your MBA experience?

Fundamental knowledge across a variety of business-related subjects will no-doubt benefit me in my future career. I have also drastically improved my soft skills, such as leadership and teamwork.

I’ve been able to benefit significantly from the wealth of knowledge and experience in the classroom, both from my professors and my classmates.

Plus, UWA has a strong alumni network which represents a great source of collective experiences and knowledge spanning many countries and generations.

 

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