2021 QBW Griffith MBA scholarship winners announced

Sean Jacobs, the overall winner of the 2021 QBW Griffith MBA Responsible Leadership Scholarship competition

Theoverallwinner of this year’sQueensland Business Weekly (QBW) Griffith MBA Responsible Leadership Scholarshipis aGriffith University alumnuswith an impressive background ingovernment relations and public policy.

Papua New Guinean born,Sean Jacobs currently works as aPrincipal Advocacy and Major Projects Advisor at Moreton Bay Regional Councilwhere he ishelping todeliverthe Council’sadvocacy agenda and provideexpert advice and project co-ordinationforstrategic interestsincluding the2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games and other major infrastructure projects.

“The Games offer co-benefit opportunities for Asia-Pacific nations, and this is a relatively underexplored approach that I hope to use Griffith MBA skills to inform,” Sean explained.

Inspired by a masterclass which all scholarship applicants attended, he added that Griffith academicsgot him thinking about developing a ‘social license to operate’.

“The 2032 Games offer clear benefits in terms of positive local infrastructure and economic impacts.

“I’minspired to think about how the Games, through careful planningand responsibleleadership, can be a vehicle forbuilding trust in all levels of governmentandrealising broadersocial, economicand cultural legacy benefits.”

Seanholds a BA (International Relations) from Griffith and a PostgraduateCertificate in Policing, Intelligence and Counter Terrorism from Macquarie University, qualifications from the Australian National Security College, the Australian Institute of Management and the University of New England.

Heis a former Brisbane City Council election candidate, ministerial adviser, United Nations worker, international youth volunteer and national water polo champion, also authoring two booksin the last three years.

Alex Bowen-Rotsaert. Image credit: John Hatfield for Space Design Competitions Australia

This year three applicants have been awarded partial scholarships, includingShelley Hartland,Head of impact and engagement at theForward Institute in partnership with University of Oxford, RachellHansen, aProject managerwith theDepartment of Resources Queensland andAlexander Bowen-Rotsaert,Systems Engineer for Boeing Defence Australia.

Rachelladmits she’d already had her eye onGriffith’s MBA well before the scholarship opportunityarose.

Rachell Hansen

“I(was)searching for an MBA scholarship and admiredGriffith for its strong focus on sustainability and close collaboration with the Queensland Government (Queensland Climate Risk Symposium),” she wrote in herscholarshipapplication.

“This aligns well to my career goals to become a Chief Climate Action Officer, or a DG or Minister in this space within the next 10 years.”

Shelleysaidthe Griffith MBAs focus onresponsible leadership wasof particular interest.

“I’m currently working remotely for theForward Institutewith theUniversity of Oxfordon aresearch project onCharacter & Responsible Leadership in Business,” she said.

Shelley Hartland. Image credit: Rahil Ahmad.

“Speaking to CEOs and senior leaders for the UK’s major businesses has reinforced for me how responsible leadership and good character have the ability to significantly transform organisations and ultimately society.”

In hisscholarshipapplication, Alexander shared how a seemingly incredible job offermade him questionwhat he came to realise was a ‘narrow-minded focus on careerprogression’.

“Businesses suffer from the same myopic focus on balance sheetsat the cost of wider stakeholder considerations,” he said.

“In almost accepting a job offer that didn’t truly alignmywithmygoals, Irealised that ‘purpose before profit’…..should drive decisionmaking, both personallyandwithinbusiness.”

MBA Director Associate Professor Stephanie Schleimer congratulated all scholarship winners and said Griffith’s MBA was different to traditional offerings because it was built on core values crucial to business leaders in the 21st century.

Last month,Griffith Business School’s MBA program achieved top ranking in the Corporate Knights 19th annual Better World MBA Ranking, for the second year in a row.

“Achieving the number one ranking in the world two years in a row shows the value of a business education that is focused on sustainability and responsibility,”Associate Professor Schleimer said.

“The program develops critical thinking skills and supports students to identify creative and future-ready strategies to improve the world around us.”

The 2021 scholarship competition offered a total prize package of up to $130,000.