Last year’s Queensland Business Monthly (QBM) Griffith MBA Responsible Leadership Scholarship winner Cara Turnley* and runner up Tanya Lipus** attended a packed MBA Masterclass event at South Bank on Tuesday September 17, eager to share their experience with applicants hoping to secure a similar opportunity. More than 80 applications were received this year.

Cara had a big start to 2019, leaving PricewaterhouseCoopers after seven years to take up a new role with Super Retail Group while embarking on her MBA scholarship at the same time.

“I’m currently working on my second subject and I can’t believe it’s been 12 months since the workshop and the Masterclass for the competition,” the 31 year-old admitted.

Cara Turnley and Professor David Grant

Cara’s first MBA subject centred around sustainability and systems thinking with Professor Nick Barter, who also attended the evening Masterclass.

“It completely changes how I view things and even at work, how I approach things, I’m always thinking about the sustainability components whereas before it might not have been as obvious. It’s been really eye opening,” she said.

“My focus is on process improvement and so also trying to find efficiencies and there’s always a cost saving but there’s (also) a lot of good outcomes from reduced waste and reduced packaging as well.”

She said an MBA was always part of her future but winning the $50,000 scholarship fast-tracked her ambitions, admitting the process of applying cemented her choice to study at Griffith.

I think it was definitely in my plan for the next five years, but it was a good push when I was shortlisted,” she recalled.

“It made me want to study here even if I wasn’t successful getting a scholarship, just finding out about its very modern approach, Asia-Pacific focus and the sustainability side of things. It just seemed really up to date and current.”

Professor Nick Barter

Professor Nick Barter made a compelling argument for acting sustainably at the masterclass, telling applicants Griffith’s MBA challenges conventional business thinking.

“One of the key ideas to remember is that in 1960 there were 3 billion people on the planet,” he said.

“Think about the rules we had when there were three billion on the planet, and the rules we have when there are seven billion people on the planet (2012) and the rules we might have when there are 10 billion people on the planet (2050).

“Suddenly you’ll realise that yes we might need to change things up a bit, how we think about things we do.”

The scholarship partnership between QBM and Griffith is now in its fourth year.

“I think QBM and the Business School share a similar vision and values in respect of the need to produce socially responsible, globally aware leaders,” said Pro Vice Chancellor (Business) Professor David Grant.

“What’s special about the MBA and has undoubtedly contributed to its consistent ranking among the top MBAs in the country over the last few years, is that its built on a set of core values and approaches that are crucial to doing business in the 21st century.

“These are values that set our MBA and its graduates apart from others, and it gives graduates a distinct career advantage, a distinct edge in the labour market.”

Louise Brannelly, Editor QBM

The Courier Mail’s Business Editor and Editor of QBM Louise Brannelly admitted she was so impressed with the MBA Masterclass last year she considered signing up herself.

“The world needs people with the skills and perspectives that this course provides,” she said.

“We are currently working on a feature about the circular economy.

“It was once a niche concept and is gaining mainstream traction and unlocking enormous business opportunities. Griffith is right at the forefront of that movement.”

Following the masterclass, scholarship applicants will write a 600-word reflective essay based on the theories and concepts presented during the session, explaining how these theories/concepts relate to their professional experience, and may inform future leadership and business practices.

Six successful applicants will be chosen to move on to Stage Three of the competition with a one-minute video pitch.

Details of the scholarships on offer can be found online.


*Cara Turnley won a full scholarship, valued at $50,000.

**Tanya Lipus was awarded a $25,000 half-scholarship.