Brianna Ragel is a graduate of the MBA program at the Australian Graduate School of Management in Sydney.
A former vice-president of the AGSM marketing club, she has used her MBA to transition into a marketing management role at Fronde, a leading Australian IT services group.
She spent eight years as a magazine editor in both London and Sydney but left to transition into another career as the media industry faced challenges during the financial crisis.
Back in Australia and four months into her role as a marketing manager, she says the biggest challenges she faces are dealing with strategy, and the ongoing digital transformation of her sector in increasingly competitive market conditions.
Why did you decide to begin an MBA program?
I was a successful magazine editor and manager working in Sydney and London, but after the GFC [global financial crisis] was anxious about my future in media.
Back then, I essentially saw the MBA as way to transition into another industry and fool-proof my career. I also felt a strong desire to learn again and be challenged after eight years as a magazine editor.
What made AGSM stand out from other business schools?
AGSM was number one in all rankings, it was the most well know and reputable business school brand in Australia, and ensured a certain calibre of students with its stringent application process including the GMAT.
What's it like to work in Sydney?
Having worked in London, coming back to Australia to work was an adjustment. It's not as fast paced, but when you find the right role and company, the work can be just as dynamic and rewarding. We are fortunate to live and work in a city that has great diversity, [a] cafe and bar culture, [and] perfect weather and beaches.
It means that most people here really strive to have a good work-life balance – to be able to take advantage of the natural beauty and activities on offer.
What value do you place in your MBA now after graduating?
The MBA is the best thing I could have done for my career at that time. It gave me the confidence, knowledge and network to expand my career options and essentially feel as if I can move into any industry.
Having had nine years of prior professional experience, I was able to apply the breadth of case studies, frameworks and learnings for a deeper understanding of 'business', that continues to differentiate me as a candidate, employee, and manager to this day.
Are there any skills you gained on the MBA that you use day-to-day at Fronde?
The ability to understand financials, as well as analyse data, is perhaps something that sets me apart from the typical marketing manager.
What challenges have you faced as a marketing manager?
It hasn't been easy progressing my career in marketing, as I am not strictly a marketing manager. I’ve worked in media and as [a] senior product management consultant for clients across various industries. One of the challenges was helping prospective employers and recruiters see that I could fit in a pure marketing role.
Within marketing, the challenge today is still very much about education, change management, strategy, and agility to deal with [the] digital transformation and hyper-competitive market conditions. You now have to be an expert in not only traditional forms of marketing, but also a leader to implement content marketing, social, SEM [search engine marketing], web – and the associated systems, software and metrics.
It's a challenge but also a great opportunity for marketing managers to directly influence and impact business performance.
What are your current career goals?
Fronde Australia is growing, and only today has been awarded 14th place in CRN's Fast 50 [Australian IT industry awards]. Having only joined three months ago, my goal is to ensure that I inspire my team, develop our systems and processes, and roll out the right strategies and tactics at the right times to achieve our revenue targets.
I am fortunate to sit on a leadership team that is dynamic, entrepreneurial, and individually successful. I’m encouraged by the long term prospects.