Jason Widjaja credits his post-MBA job to the program at Melbourne Business School (MBS). The senior consultant at Litmus group, a leading management consulting firm, decided to study in Australia to align his qualifications with the career path he wanted to follow.
He was drawn to MBS in-part by the school’s location and he says that the experience in Melbourne city was fantastic. He took advantage of the MBA program’s elective options and the alumni network – which he says played a key role in him landing his current job.
Jason says others should consider the MBS MBA because the school’s leadership is encouragingly strategic and commercially astute – and he looks forward to seeing the school continue to excel.
Why did you decide to begin an MBA?
I decided to begin an MBA about two years after I started full-time work, in mid-2008. In my first role I was a management trainee. I had the opportunity to rotate around different business areas, and that provided me the insight that my qualifications and career path were not fully aligned.
What separated Melbourne Business School from other business schools?
There are many draws to Melbourne Business School – the first of which is the city of Melbourne itself. MBS is in a great location, on the fringe of Melbourne city, and Melbourne is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities.
While there may be some disagreement on the margins, due to different measures and weights used by different publications, I’ve experientially found the Melbourne-experience to be fantastic. Coming from Singapore, the broader Australian work culture was also a draw. The local working culture was a welcome contrast from the way I experienced management back home.
MBS also matches other schools on other dimensions. Classes were of a decent size – with a diverse international student base – and there are caps in place to ensure a good mix in every cohort. And the quality of the faculty is on-par with the top schools in the world.
What are the main takeaways you got from the school's program?
Academically, the MBS MBA is structured so that approximately half the course content is electives. And I took the opportunity to customise my course toward getting a grip on strategy and quantitative skills, with a view to eventually manage a quants team. The alumni network is also very valuable.
Why would you recommend MBS to prospective MBA students?
MBS has a good value proposition and is on a growth trajectory. Having been in the school, I understand that part of the drivers of its ranking, being comparatively lower, is that it is smaller in terms of faculty numbers and thus falls behind on absolute research output.
However, unless you are planning on doing research, that hardly affects the student experience. The leadership of MBS is also encouragingly strategic and commercially astute, and I look forward to seeing the school excel in the near future.
You now work at management consultancy firm Litmus group, what interested you about the function?
I don’t consider management consulting a “function”, particularly in the firm that I work in. I chose to work in a boutique management consulting firm due to the breadth of learning and the small-firm culture.
Unlike some of my peers, I was in no hurry to specialise and I wanted to gain as broad and varied an understanding of business as I could. That goal has been largely met, as my work has involved a good mix across the dimensions of consulting services – strategy and advisory, cost reduction, operations, investments, analytics and change – and ‘functions’; customer, capital projects, asset management, HR and IT.
How has an MBA contributed to you landing a job at the firm?
The MBA is not a guaranteed ticket to any particular job. However, I found that besides the technical skills, the MBA equips you with an understanding of how large firms think and work, which was in-line with the kind of work that I do.
The school network and career services also played a key role – I probably met upwards of 15 alumni one-to-one throughout my job search, as I was seeking to understand the local management consulting landscape and how I could fit into it.