Australia Is Attracting More International MBAs After Careers In Entrepreneurship

We spoke to three Sydney-based international MBA students to find out why

International students are snubbing traditional MBA destinations in the US and Europe for full-time MBA programs in Australia. Why? To differentiate themselves and stand out in a competitive MBA jobs market.

At Sydney’s top-ranked Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM), 17 nationalities are represented in the current MBA class. The school boasts a 10,000-strong alumni network spread out across 68 countries worldwide.

85% of AGSM MBA students land jobs within three months of graduation. And many international MBAs see Sydney’s startup scene as the perfect place to take the leap into entrepreneurship and start their own business.

BusinessBecause spoke to three international AGSM MBAs – from Asia, Europe, and the US – to find out more.

Shikha Kanojia, MBA ‘18

Shikha spent five years working at Deloitte in Dubai before moving to Australia for her MBA. After graduation, she aims to take the MBA triple jump – changing role, industry, and location – into a management consulting career in Sydney. She’s especially excited for the AGSM MBA’s entrepreneurship and innovation course. In the long-term, she hopes to start her own business.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at AGSM?

When I started to look for places where I’d like to pursue an MBA, I really resonated with Sydney. The big-city cosmopolitan vibe, strong economic fundamentals and an enviable lifestyle, all aligned well with my professional and personal goals.

AGSM was the only school I applied to in Sydney. Its collaborative community, integrated approach to learning, and partnerships with other elite global business schools made it a great fit for me. The program also has a strong focus on self-awareness and leadership development from the very start which helps make the experience transformative.

What stands out from your MBA experience so far?

We’re a bunch of 68 students in the cohort from over 20 different countries and with levels of work experience ranging from three to 10 years across a variety of industries and functions. It’s extremely rewarding to be sharing the MBA experience with such a diverse cohort. AGSM is a tight-knit community and the small class size means that you really get to know and learn from each other.

I also recently connected with alumni as part of AGSM’s 40th year grassroots fundraising initiative, and you really get a sense of how committed everyone is to engaging with and giving back to the community!

What are your plans for the future?

I intend to take an ambitious leap by changing role, industry and location – all at once! The AGSM MBA places you in good standing to achieve this. The diverse faculty, students and the larger community help shape your skills and perspective and make you more agile in the workplace. And the school’s careers team guides you through shaping your story, finding the right networks and navigating through the recruitment process.

Slobodan Gluvić, MBA ‘17

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Prior to his MBA, Slobodan worked in finance for an Australian firm in his native Serbia. He joined AGSM’s full-time MBA program on a full scholarship. He graduated in April. Now, he’s looking to establish a career within Australia, and is considering starting his own business.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at AGSM?

My previous work experience was related to the Australian market. So, Australia stood out. The first school I applied to was AGSM and I was privileged to receive a Global Reach scholarship which made my studying in Australia possible.

Australian business schools are working towards challenging the status quo and getting to the top tiers of the MBA rankings. On top of this, Australia has decided to become more competitive worldwide in innovation. Business schools are appropriating funds to bring quality people over so, like I did, you can even get full funding for your MBA.

What stands out from your MBA experience so far?

Being from a small country and with non-existent exposure to corporations, I was oblivious of all the great ideas corporations around the world are rushing to develop and integrate in their systems. Now, I have learned how global businesses function.

I have met many excellent people and learned that, although I come from a background that is not as competitive as others, I can still add value to the classroom. The sense of friendly competition is pushing me to perform even better and the friendships I've made will last a lifetime.

What are your plans for the future?

In the long run, I want to start working on a startup idea which I believe has a lot of potential. Australia is currently one of the best places in the world for starting something new. The MBA has taught me how to be business-savvy and have a thought-out process in everything I do. I’ll always rely on the skills I’ve picked up during my MBA for my future endeavors.

Zach Pettinger, MBA ‘17

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After almost a decade working in finance for big corporates like KPMG, Zach relocated from the US to pursue an MBA in Australia. With a group of MBA colleagues, he co-founded his own gaming startup. He’s now considering whether to transition into entrepreneurship full-time.

Why did you decide to pursue an MBA at AGSM? 

I was actually in the process of applying to schools in the US when I took a vacation to Australia. I absolutely loved the country, especially Sydney, so I googled Australian MBA programs and naturally AGSM came up at the top. 

After a bit of research, I realized that the AGSM program offered so much more than just the perfect location. It would give me the chance to work with incredibly smart and diverse international students at a top-tier university, which would help set me apart from other US MBA grads with similar backgrounds.

What stands out from your MBA experience so far?

The program has completely transformed me personally and professionally. AGSM’s high percentage of international students has given me a chance to work with people from many different cultures, vital learning for the global workplace. 

Personally, I am more confident leading the discussion and gaining buy-in from the group than I was in the past. I am more willing to take risks to pursue my true passions. I know that I am walking away from the AGSM with amazing friends and an invaluable professional network

What are your plans for the future?

The key for me is finding a role that I’m passionate about. I want to work for a company that is changing the world and has a vision that I believe in. 

The MBA has empowered me to try something different and has given me the business background to help me succeed, whether that is digging deeper into an accounting role or branching out into another area or industry that I find exciting.

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