Elizabeth Dunne went back to school, and while initially worried about being daunted, now says of her experience: "Not only did I not have to worry about not knowing anyone, I was made to feel incredibly welcome."
Please tell us a little bit about yourself, Elizabeth.
My undergraduate degree was a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology). After taking some time off to travel, I worked in human resources before deciding to walk away from my full-time job to return to The University of Melbourne to study in the Master of Management (HR) program. I am now volunteering as Human Resources Officer with Global Consulting Group's University of Melbourne chapter, where I am able to apply my classroom learning into practice. I also work part-time with Momentum Consulting as a Growth and Talent Architect. My next goal is to undertake a subject at the Copenhagen Business School, because those are the kinds of opportunities Melbourne Business School (MBS) allows you to chase! The experience you have at MBS is carved out by your own passion, determination and grit – it is what you make it.
We hope you get to visit Copenhagen, then! When you’re not busy carving out your future career, what are your favourite activities outside MBS?
My favourite activity is making sure I take time for myself, and make time for my close friends. It is easy to slip into a University-defined life when you’re here four days a week, so it’s particularly important to step out of this bubble. I’ve been trying to read a few books and get back into practicing yoga, but more importantly, surrounding myself with friends who support each other! I’ve built up a close network of friends here; we’re planning to make the most of the summer break by getting back to nature (and out of the library!), so definitely getting outdoors and travelling!
What are some of the most interesting places you have visited?
Quiet easily the most interesting place I’ve travelled to is Morocco! It is incredibly exotic and like most places, the people were certainly what made it an incredible experience. I went with three of my close friends and certainly splurged on the Riads we stayed in – we were constantly ducking through small, decrepit doors that opened to opulent floor to ceiling mosaicked walls, and we definitely had more than a few ‘never judge a book by its cover’ moments! It was a journey for the senses, that saw us completely indulge in the culture – including getting lost numerous times in the winding streets of the Medina.
How fascinating! It must have been a world away from MBS. Can you tell us why you chose to study here, given all various graduate choices available?
MBS was an easy choice: it’s global reputation, combined with is convenient location was a perfect match for what I was seeking when I applied. The Masters of Management (HR) appeared to be a logical match with my interest in businesses management and previous studies in psychology. I knew I wanted to elevate my education further, and the syllabus on offer convinced me that it would be the right fit for my career goals. Plus, MBS is a stone's throw away from Melbourne's city centre and all the wonderful things that Melbourne has to offer – I couldn't ask for more!
Have your expectations been met?
While I did enter the program feeling a little nervous, I kept an open mind. I knew it was going to be challenging, and so far, it has been, but in an inspiring way – the support that is available to students here is truly outstanding.
In fact, it’s easy to take for granted how many of the lecturers at MBS are simultaneously teaching and working in industry. One of my first subjects was in business analytics, and it was like nothing I had studied before, coming from an Arts background, but it both tested and equipped me to increase my capabilities beyond what I believed I could and exposed me to an industry I hadn’t considered before. My lecturer suggested I attend a CEO Speakers Series hosted by the Centre of Business Analytics which ultimately grounded the course content. This experience alone has left me grateful for the opportunities and networks that are available to students of the MBS.
And starting a brand-new degree not knowing anyone must have added to the initial pressure, too! How did you overcome that?
Actually, what I would like to add about my expectations is that one of the areas in which they have been exceeded, and frequently so, are my fellow students. Not only did I not have to worry about not knowing anyone, I was made to feel incredibly welcome. I thought my first class would be daunting, arriving alone and late having rushed from work. However, I was pleasantly surprised by how friendly my fellow students were; we immediately formed groups for the subject’s semester-long project within minutes of meeting each other. That first experience has been indicative of the collegial environment at MBS and the camaraderie that exists between students. I find myself surrounded by incredibly driven and curious people who are constantly pushing themselves to pursue new challenges. Luckily, this attitude is highly infectious!
Do you feel more at home now?
Definitely! One element of this program that I had not anticipated encountering has been a transition in myself: I shifted away from an ‘it’s too hard’ towards a ‘how can I tackle this?’ mentality. Where I would otherwise shy away from a challenge, or rest on the ability of another student’s strengths, I have found myself striving to develop new skills and take risks. I’ve learnt a growth mindset. I'm so comfortable here now that I do most of my studying on campus. My favourite place to hit the books is the Masters' student lounge on Level 6 of The Spot. There are areas for group work, the lighting is beautiful, and the consistent hum of work getting done between laugher and coffee makes for an inviting, yet conducive environment.