Architect James Pearce has been named the inaugural recipient of the QBM Griffith MBA Responsible Leadership Scholarship for 2016.
A senior associate with international industry leader Populous, James has been project coordinator on the International Convention Centre Sydney which will open in December.
Pro Vice Chancellor (Business), Professor David Grant, and the editor of the Courier Mail’s Queensland Business Monthly, Natalie Gregg, have led the congratulations for James and runner-up Patricia Liebke.
James decided to submit an entry for the $50,000 full MBA scholarship after his fiancée Morgan Goss spotted an advert in the Queensland Business Monthly at breakfast one morning and encouraged him to have a go.
“An MBA isn’t necessarily always the next step for architecture graduates but seeing the possibility to learn from other fields and bring that to my work was really exciting,” he said.
His work with Populous has involved major projects in Los Angeles, New Zealand and Beijing. Sustainable practice, innovation and an eye to the future are at the heart of what he does each day. He is also part of the company’s Asia Pacific regional leadership team.
“Completing an MBA had been in the back of my mind for a while. I was looking for the next evolution in my career. The knowledge I would gain from an MBA seemed to sit perfectly with where I was looking to head.”
Terrific asset to MBA
Professor David Grant congratulated James Pearce and each of the other five finalists.
“The Griffith MBA is focused on developing future-focused leaders and instilling in them the skills and attributes needed to meet the significant challenges that they and their businesses will face,” he said.
“James has shown himself to be ideally suited in this context. Throughout the competition he very effectively communicated a clear understanding of the MBA’s core values and their significance to business and we were impressed with his vision of how he might implement these in relation to his own leadership and practice.
“James embodies the values and themes that make the Griffith MBA one of the highest-ranked programs in Australia. I am sure he will be a terrific asset to our program and we look forward to his joining us in the New Year.”
The competition process proved a rewarding experience for James, not least the MBA masterclass where four Griffith Business School academics delivered a series of lectures on sustainable practice, international business, and leadership and emotions at South Bank.
James, at that time, was in Kansas City at an industry conference to deliver a presentation on design process and understanding the challenges a global company has to negotiate when working across different countries and cultures.
He logged on to the masterclass at 3.30am.
“It was the masterclass where the core values and flavour of the Griffith MBA really sank in for me. The topics they discussed were enlightening, and I found myself thinking this is exactly what I need to be doing next.”
James expects the majority of his postgraduate studies to be online, but is also keen to take part in classroom sessions at South Bank when the opportunity presents itself.
“We work across cities in different countries so I need to stay quite nimble and be flexible in terms of timing. Studying online will give me the benefit of being able to do that.
“I love what I do and I love where I work. I have every ambition of applying what I learn in the MBA to Populous and the work that I do. I want to use it as a learning tool to develop my current skills.”
Using MBA to challenge thinking
Patricia Liebke, a Learning and Change Manager and e-health business analyst with UnitingCare Health, received a half-scholarship worth $25,000.
After working on the design and development of Australia’s first fully-integrated digital hospital in Hervey Bay over the past two years, Patricia is excited about the prospect of applying her MBA studies to related projects.
“We will be continuing with that change momentum and embedding new practices at St Stephen’s Hospital,” she said.
“We are using new technologies to not only improve efficiencies in the workplace but also to continue to improve patient safety.
“I’m looking forward to using the MBA to challenge my thinking and identify opportunities to improve the way we do business.”
Patricia was both delighted and a little surprised when she got the call to inform her of her success.
“I knew there was such a high-calibre of candidate applying for it, and it’s such a highly-valued degree.”
Understanding sustainable leadership
Editor of the Courier Mail’s Queensland Business Monthly (QBM), Natalie Gregg, congratulated all six finalists, also including Stacey Coburn, Jai Sudholz, Lisa Flower, Kellie Mayo, on their progress through a highly competitive process.
“It was a natural fit for QBM to partner with Griffith for the MBA Responsible Leadership Scholarship as a significant number of our readers and the people who feature in the magazine are senior corporates who have benefited from their MBA studies,” she said.
“Those who have undertaken an MBA accelerate their career by broadening their business knowledge and also through the valuable networks they gain connecting with like-minded students who bring a wealth of experience from a range of industries.
“This is particularly true of the two scholarship winners, James and Patricia, who were chosen for their depth of understanding of the concepts of sustainable leadership and their ability to articulate how they will use this learning to advance their careers.”