Gaining new professional edge with MBA

Studying an MBA has allowed Lyndel Smith to progress her career during maternity leave.
Studying an MBA has allowed Lyndel Smith to progress her career during maternity leave.

Human resources professional Lyndel Smith forged a HR career first in Sydney and later in Brisbane, rising to a senior level. When she considered how best to take the next step forward with her career, one theme remained prominent.

“I knew an MBA worked well when it came to recruitment and I felt it could give me an edge at interview stage,” she says.

Her considerations coincided with the birth of her son Jackson and after discussing with husband Ken, she decided the time was right.

“It’s a decision I have not regretted for a moment,” she says.

“Time out on maternity can sometimes create a perception that you’re out of touch with what is going on around your career. But if I was advancing my education during maternity leave, that presented a completely different perception.

“I realised that it was the ideal time for me to do something. I could achieve more than one goal at the same time. I could demonstrate that I hadn’t left my career where it was three years ago when I went on maternity leave by returning to the industry with a newly-developed authority.”


She enrolled to study an MBA at Griffith University, starting her studies in August 2013. Credits from her previous studies in HR meant she was able to study three subjects per semester, building her schedule around classes at the Nathan campus.

She was encouraged too by the possibility of completing the program in 18 months, and has balanced online learning with face-to-face classroom discussions to gain full advantage. Griffith MBA in flexible mode fits her lifestyle.

“I have been really structured in my approach, taking it at the pace I wanted and keeping up with the workload. The flexibility has enabled me to look after Jackson.

“Going back to study after more than 15 years in the workplace has been refreshing. Yes, you’re always learning new things at work but sometimes you’re kind of in a rut. Coming back to university refreshed my excitement about looking for my ideal job.”

The experience and knowledge gained working in HR are now also paying off in the classroom. “I can see a huge advantage from my experience when I’m writing assignments. I feel I have a greater understanding of how it all works, how it all fits in. It’s ironic because I remember struggling with the motivation to even stay at university when I was younger.”

Now she is in a classroom setting where a progressive set of core values sets the Griffith MBA apart with its focus on responsible leadership, sustainability sustainable business practice and a global orientation.

One of the subjects where her renewed enthusiasm brought its rewards is finance, a course where Lyndel exceeded her own expectations and underlined her determination to move her career to the next level.

“I want to be in a business and say I’m an expert in business. I want to sit at a boardroom table and debate the financials as robustly as anyone one else.”

She also plans to put her MBA studies to practical effect in the area of HR through an elective study subject where she will research the measurement of workforce human capital.

“It’s an area HR doesn’t do well, but an area I’m interested in. I want to look at building competitive advantage through the people that work in a business, but also how a business can measure this.”