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Why We Moved Back To Australia For The Melbourne Business School MBA

Melbourne’s local economy has seen a year-on-year rise for the past 16 years; MBAs are returning home to tap into the opportunities on offer


Wed Dec 12 2018

Kieran White (pictured below, right) grew up in New Zealand before moving to Australia to work for Royal Dutch Shell after his undergraduate degree. He was there for seven years, before he relocated to County Mayo on the west coast of Ireland to work for the company as a project engineer.

He worked there for three and a half years, before Melbourne Business School and an MBA came calling.


Kieran says that his reasons for moving back to Australia revolved around family and friends—he was tired of missing out on friends’ weddings, not seeing his family, and not to mention his partner, who he met while he was in the process of moving to Ireland.

“In the back of my mind I knew I’d love to do an MBA,” he explains. “When I came back to Melbourne, I was at a natural transition point in my career—an MBA seemed a great option.”

Kieran adds that after leaving Shell, he was after a wider perspective on the career paths available to him. He felt he was more restricted with the experience he had, and so an MBA was his chance to open new avenues.

It was by chance that before Kieran moved back to Australia, Laura Bell, academic registrar at Melbourne Business School, was travelling in Ireland. They met up for coffee and talked through MBS, the opportunities at the school, and Kieran says that it was at that point that his decision was made.

Spending time away from Australia in industry meant that coming into the MBA classroom Kieran brought a heightened skillset. 10 years with Shell, he says, meant he entered with a deeper level of experience than the average MBA.

But, he adds, one of the biggest benefactors for him was being able to utilize the expertise in the room—learning from his MBA classmates was tantamount to a greater understanding of business.

“Where I felt that was useful was being able to understand how to think about what we are learning being applied in industry,” he says.

Kieran is now working for Bain & Company in Melbourne. Without the MBA from Melbourne Business School, he says he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to enter consulting.

“MBS is one of the schools that Bain and other major consulting firms target in Australia, and so based on that it seemed like a great opportunity.

“Melbourne in particular is growing in leaps and bounds as a center for business. With that, the school itself is keyed into the business community.”

Indeed, Melbourne’s Gross Local Product (GLP) sat at AUS$94.96 billion in 2017—it has seen a year-on-year increase for the past 16 years (see chart below).

Luke Myers (pictured below, right) is another MBA graduate from Melbourne Business School who spent time away from Australia before heading back home.

Straight out of university, Luke worked as an analyst for Deloitte Australia. But, he says, he’s someone who grew up travelling and moving around every couple of years.


That urge to explore led him to Chile, where he spent four years before moving back to Australia.

“I had no connection to Chile prior,” he says. “Actually, I had never been to South America before. It wasn’t a planned move, more an opportunity that presented itself and I went with it.

“This is what led me to move away from Australia—not only to progress my career but to experience life.”

Having moved around industry for around seven years, Luke says he was then after some clarity and direction, the necessary skills to “supercharge” his career.

“I felt it was time for me to consolidate my experience and elevate my future potential to open new doors and opportunities by competing an MBA,” he explains.

Melbourne Business School prevailed, he says, after he met with the school while on a trip home visiting family. He obviously had an affinity with the country, having grown up there, but he says that after living abroad for so long he felt disconnected from the professional world there.

“I knew that reconnecting with Australia and my local networks was a key component of undertaking my MBA,” Luke says.

“It also provided a gateway into Asia as well, with opportunities to gain invaluable business experience there—including a placement for a startup in Malaysia and an exchange to HKUST business school in Hong Kong.”

In the same way as Kieran, Luke says that meeting with the school and professors there made his choice easy.

“MBS continues to attract world-class professors and develops cutting-edge curricula,” he says, “all which I can attest to during my MBA, and continued engagement with the school post-graduation.”

So, why does spending time away from your home country and developing international experience count so much when you enter an MBA classroom?

“Travelling, living abroad, and being exposed to new and challenging experiences builds resilience—resilience breeds confidence, self-awareness, and an ability to embrace ambiguous situations,” explains Luke.

“This was not only a critical element of success during my MBA, but also in my professional and personal life ever since.”

Beyond that, the MBA is what you make of it, says Luke. It creates a “foot-in-the-door” conversation, he adds, but the networking and pursuit of post-graduation jobs is up to you. Melbourne Business School is one of the best places to take advantage of that opportunity—the school was ranked among the top 10 in the world for networking by The Economist in 2018.

“I feel like the MBA, especially in Australia, will provide a ‘slow burn’ of opportunities all through my career, as well as great friends and professional networks,” Luke says.

“I know that I would not be where I am, or the person I am today, without my MBA from Melbourne Business School.”