15th October 2021

When cyber security and third party risk specialist Joseph Kelly decided to add an MBA to his credentials, he knew finding the time to upskill on campus was going to be a difficult task.

So enrolling in QUT’s Digital MBA was an obvious choice for the QUT law and creative industries graduate.

Not only does the three-year, part-time leadership degree specifically focus on the digital challenges of modern business, it’s also offered entirely online with the support of a personal engagement coach.

For Mr Kelly, the icing on the cake is the opportunity to undertake a two-week Immersion Program with MIT in Boston (either virtually or in-person, depending on the timing) to develop skills and capability in entrepreneurship and digital transformation.

“The digital focus was a big drawcard, but also the chance to go to MIT as part of the program was too good an opportunity to pass up,” said Mr Kelly, who is the Asia-Pacific Third Party Risk Manager at Ernst and Young.

“I chose to do the Digital MBA because it was a perfect fit for me – I work in a space being powered by technology-enabled transformation and have grown up as a digital native.

“An MBA is an investment in myself for the next three years that’s going to set me up for the next 20. This is also a big leap personally, because you should always be learning, should always pick up new skills and have a curious mindset … This was the next step for me to push myself.”

QUT Business School’s MBA program includes three degree options – a Master of Business Administration (MBA), Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) and Digital Master of Business Administration (DMBA). The university will host an MBA Information Evening on October 28 (5.30pm to 7pm) at Gardens Point on study options for 2022.

Tim Burton.

QUT Business School’s MBA program manager, Tim Burton, said the Digital MBA recognised that business leaders were time poor.

“The Digital MBA doesn’t follow traditional university semesters,” he said.

“Instead, it comprises 12 units that are taught consecutively in shorter, 10-week study blocks. 

“Our aim is to be flexible enough to work around your schedule and location, while providing the best of both worlds – online study as well as face-to-face networking opportunities.”

Digital MBA candidates also have the option of kicking off each 10-week block with an in-person intensive weekend at QUT’s Gardens Point campus in the Brisbane CBD.

Mr Kelly said attending those weekends and meeting his peers was an important part of his MBA journey.

“An MBA is not a sprint but a marathon, so spreading it out over three years with a hybrid delivery model seemed to make the most sense to me … It’s proven to be great and helped me achieve excellent results,” he said.

Mr Kelly already has a double degree from QUT in law and creative industries, which he has utilised as his career progressed through being a migration lawyer, policy advisor and small business advocate, and then moving into consulting, cyber security and risk management.

Joseph Kelly.

“Creative Industries was quite grounded in design thinking and project management,” he said.

“Law was very much about critical thinking and ways to tackle problems, and using theoretical background and precedent to understand and form an opinion.

“I think now the MBA is that wrapper that goes around it all. It’s refining what I’ve already been putting into practice over the last five years. I’ve been using these law and creative industries frameworks for a while but now I’m getting a deeper understanding in a business context.”

Mr Kelly said he was particularly enjoying analysing the in-depth case studies of modern business problems that were part of the course, and picking over them to see where his own leadership skills could have improved outcomes.

He said he had researched other MBA options but chose QUT because of its real-world focus, his positive undergraduate experience and the benefits of the new Digital MBA.

His advice to other prospective MBA candidates was to do their own research, talk to past students, and see which course format suited them.

“Ask yourself: In the next 10 years, is it likely that some form or function of my professional or personal life will go digital? Will you be leading a remote team, will you be interacting heavily with digital tooling, will whatever product, service or profession that you work in have a new developer at a digital level, or do you want to understand data better?  If it’s yes, then a Digital MBA would benefit you because it’s framed in that context.”

To find out more about MBA study options for 2022, come along to QUT’s MBA Information Evening on October 28 (5.30pm to 7pm) at Gardens Point.

QUT Media contacts:
- Mechelle McMahon, media@qut.edu.au
- Rod Chester, media@qut.edu.au or 0407 585 901

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