My MBA Journey Part 1: Personal Growth

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Mitchell Ross MURRA Graduation

Hi All,

I have struggled to keep up with the blog over the past 12-18 months, business has been busy, and I have also taken on some extra load in the form of an MBA!

Yes, you probably think I’m insane right! Sometimes I wonder! 😉

You might also be thinking, why? It’s a good question, so I’ll do my best to answer it with complete honesty.

rulesMy university journey only started last year, before that I had never even entertained the idea of studying any academic course. I hated school, it was all about hanging out with mates to me, and I neglected any real school work even though I knew I was smart enough to do well if I applied myself. I think deep down it was my way of rebelling against my parents who forced “encouraged” me to take the hardest subjects possible! I hate rules 🙂

So as you can tell I never saw myself at Uni and never wanted to study again in my life, not that I ever studied much anyway.

But things change…

The past few years I have grown so much and learnt so much about many things, primarily business. Early last year I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to complete the MURRA Program, which is an Indigenous Business Masterclass taught at Melbourne Business School.

It was life changing and opened my eyes to the world of business education, and I wanted more! The program was great, and I can’t speak highly enough about it, if you ever get the chance to do it, don’t hesitate!

MURRA 2016 Graduation

MURRA 2016 (Gen5) Graduation

It just wasn’t enough for me, it opened up a rabbit hole, and I just had to go deeper and learn more. It wasn’t anything to do with the quality of the program, it was awesome and like a mini condensed high-level MBA in itself. Something inside me just changed, and I knew I had to take it further.

I wanted to expand my knowledge even further after MURRA, and it was a strange feeling. Business was doing well, we were getting contracts, and I didn’t need to study. But I thought to myself, why would you not do whatever you can to improve things. I mean, what business owner doesn’t want to increase revenue and profits!

I came to the conclusion that investing the time to complete the MBA was an investment not only in myself but the future growth and success of my business. Yes, I could probably succeed without doing further study, but my knowledge and skill-set would limit that success.

Fast forward just over 12 months to today, and I could not be happier with my decision to pursue the MBA.

One thing that made my decision to study easier was being able to study with someone you know. A great friend of mine and fellow Indigenous business owner Kristal Kinsela is also completing her MBA. We are currently both studying at AGSM, which is part of the UNSW Business School in Sydney. While we will be studying different electives and specialisations, we completed some short courses together late last year to qualify for the MBA and are also studying some of the same core subjects, making it easier to keep each other on track and motivate one and other.

Mitchell Ross & Kristal Kinsela

Me & Kristal receiving our Certificate of Executive Management & Development

As I type this, we are working together on a group assignment with two other classmates for our Economics subject, which is my second subject of the MBAX (Technology) program. Economics has been fascinating to learn; it has changed how I look at everything in the business and financial world. Even though it has been a tough few months of study, it feels like in the blink of an eye I can see things I could not see before as if I have had a program uploaded into my mind like the Matrix!

matrix upload

I am super excited that I will be two subjects down in a couple of weeks and very much look forward to learning much more moving forward, and also being able to apply this new knowledge to my business on the fly.

Thinking back now to my younger self, I am glad how things turned out. Don’t get me wrong; I am all for our youth studying hard in high school and going on to university early and being successful. But I also know there is no one size fits all approach, and for some people like myself, we don’t conform to that plan and need to find our own way. I had no clue what I wanted to do after high school, so going to university would have been a complete waste then, plus my year 12 grades were crap, haha.

My career and business life have led me here, and while I may not have had a head start of going to uni at an early age, the content I am learning makes so much more sense to me now and is so much more relevant given my current business experience. I feel there is enormous value in studying something to enhance existing skills in an area you love versus studying something and hoping you will enjoy a career in that industry five years down the track.

So I hope that explains the why and maybe inspires others to take the same path and look at further studies, there are plenty of business schools and courses out there.

There are also scholarships available, which I was lucky enough to receive. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity and want to give a shout out to Origin Insurance and David Liddiard for offering a Scholarship to Indigenous people looking to advance their careers!

A shout out to Michelle Evans for creating MURRA and giving Indigenous entrepreneurs like me a chance to increase our knowledge and expand our minds! MURRA kick started this journey for me, so I will always be thankful to you and the team at Melbourne Business School!

A final shout out to Rebecca Harcourt from UNSW! Bec your timing was impeccable, sending that email right after MURRA finished luring me into the MBA program. If I hadn’t received your email when I did, I may have lost interest in doing further study, so thank you also for believing in me, providing the opportunity and your ongoing support throughout the journey so far.

This article wasn’t meant to feel like a sales pitch, even though some of it may come across that way. It is just my thoughts on my journey and how I have grown as a person over the past few years.

I will try to keep the blog updated as I continue on by MBA journey, hopefully, I can inspire others to follow my lead and the Scholarship supporters can see that their contribution is paying off and my journey enables many more Indigenous people to receive the same or similar scholarships in the future.

Hit me up with any questions you might have in the comments below, and I am happy to answer.

Thanks for reading.

Mitchell