The future depends on what you do today 

Gandhi once said, ‘The future depends on what you do today’, and young professional Isabella Shoard is a living, breathing example of this.

Like a lot of young women, Isabella thought she might want to be a teacher when she grew up. “I’ve always had a passion for learning and have sought ways to continuously educate myself”, she said. The young professional initially studied a communications degree, and last year embarked on a Master of Business Administration (MBA) through The University of Queensland (UQ)’s Business School.

Isabella is now four courses out from graduating, and you can hear the excitement in her voice when she recounts just how valuable the experience has been for her. We asked what she’s gained most from the program, and Isabella was quick to respond, saying the boost in confidence has been immeasurable.At some stage, we’ve all felt that sensation of walking into a meeting or a boardroom and doubting ourselves. It’s natural at times to glance around and surmise that everyone else is smarter and has more to offer. Isabella says that studying UQ’s MBA program has given her an enormous confidence boost and strengthened her ability to confidently contribute new ideas at work. “I’ve found that the diversity I can bring to discussions has been incredibly valuable and has helped build my confidence in the workplace. The UQ MBA has shaped how I think about the world and how I interact with others in a more meaningful way,” she said.

She’s also loved the flexibility that the program has given her. Isabella is working full-time, so has chosen to undertake the program part-time and has found the UQ Business School to be incredibly accommodating when it comes to each student’s individual needs. “I chose the UQ MBA so I could grow my professional network but also because it's flexible and hybrid, meaning I can study online or learn face to face.

One of the main concerns people wanting to study an MBA have is that they won’t be able to manage the workload. “One of the first courses in the program is around your learning style and how to find a balance. It was a great starting point and launchpad. Time blocking has been integral for me in managing my time effectively, and I’ve found it useful to think of my studies as a continuation of the workday. But unlike work, my studies are something I can control myself. I’ve also found that, as a cohort, we keep each other accountable. When I feel overwhelmed, I can reach out to my fellow students for support.”

Isabella added that she has been able to dial up her studies when she can and pare them back when needed. “In the time I’ve been studying the MBA, I have moved house and got married, and the MBA team have been nothing but supportive,” she said.

Isabella says she’s been boosted by the female mentors and calibre of the lecturers. “Having fellow female leaders in the program to learn from who have achieved tremendous career success has been particularly helpful. Nicole Hartley, the Director of the UQ MBA program, has been so encouraging, and to be able to learn from her and my peers is inspiring. UQ also have a Careers and Professional Development team, which has been a phenomenal help. I feel as if I’ve had a personalised career coach guiding me through the whole process”.

During her time studying the UQ MBA, Isabella changed roles three times. She started at a Fintech organisation, then worked in government before moving back into the Fintech space in a managerial role. She says that without the backing of the program, she wouldn’t have had the confidence to lead a team. “I never set out to pursue those changes, but I found that when I started studying, doors opened, and opportunities appeared when I didn’t expect them. Expanding my network and learning about my own skill set has been instrumental in having these opportunities eventuate.”

Now, Isabella works in the product team at LMG, Australasia’s largest mortgage aggregator, as a Product and Service Operations Manager. She describes her role as being the bridge between the strategic direction of the business, understanding what the customer needs and ensuring the solution to get there is viable. For her, it's the perfect balance between business and technology. She loves working in a team that values innovation and continuous improvement and is passionate about being able to create products and services that change the way people work for the better.

“I have no doubt I wouldn’t be on the career trajectory I currently am on without the backing and business acumen of the UQ MBA. Studying hasn’t felt like a chore because you’re always learning and being exposed to great lessons and case studies outside of what you would normally experience. It’s always felt exciting”.

If the future depends on what you do today, we have no doubt that Isabella’s future is bright.Are you ready to take your career to the next level?

Visit the UQ MBA website for more information.  

By University of Queensland Business School 


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