The Three E’s: Justin Ryan

By Seth Robinson

Education, Experience and Ethics. For Justin Ryan, an alumnus from the Master of Supply Chain Management and industry professional with more than 20 years of experience, it’s “the three E’s” that form the building blocks of success.

“So, I’m there in year 12, no idea what I’m doing with my life, then the state manager from IPEC comes to my school and starts talking about trucking. ‘In this industry, you can start out working as a casual on the docks and end up running the business.’ I thought, ‘I’m a hard worker. I’ll look into that.’”

Today, it’s hard to imagine that Justin Ryan was ever an uncertain 18-year-old, deciding what to do when he finished high school. He has an air of easy confidence, and speaks about his experiences – which include an MBA and studies in the Master of Supply Chain Management (MSCM) – in illustrative detail. I’ve caught him in a rare window, he’s just left a role with Devondale Murray Goulbourn, and will be starting his new position as General Manager Logistics and Distribution for Fonterra Australia, a role he attributes, at least in part, to his studies in the MSCM.

“When I was interviewing for this new role, one of the directors mentioned that being at Murray Goulburn and completing a master’s degree at the same time was quite an achievement. I think the program gave me an opportunity to polish my skills, and get a deeper, broader understanding of the field,” he says. “It’s incredibly relevant, as we get guest speakers in from the supply chain community. I could probably count on one hand the amount of times I had to do an assignment that wasn’t directly related to something I’ve done in my working life.”

For Justin, the round-table forum format of the course is a major perk, as it allows him to connect with other people from across the industry, in a setting that works for busy professionals. It’s a teaching structure that varies a little from his previous experience.

“I got into an MBA 12 years ago, through management experience. We used to have these teletutorials. There was no Skype or anything, so you’d have to dial in and speak to different people from all around Australia and Singapore. It would be all over the place. I think the way we did it at MBS, face-to-face, is the way to do it.”

These different experiences of learning, combined with his career to date, have allowed Justin to develop the ethos of the three E’s, Education, Experience, and Ethics, a code he puts into practice everyday, and is happy to recommend to future MBS students and professionals.

“School gives you an education, and work gives you experience, but ethics are the final, really important part. No-one ever takes your credibility away from you, you give it away. I think when it comes to business, it’s not all that hard, just ask yourself if you’d be proud of what you’re doing if it was on the front page of the newspaper.”