By Willis Gray, current student of the University of Sydney Business School MBA program
Often some of the most rewarding activities one can do are those that aren’t expected. When the opportunity to participate in the PricewaterhouseCoopers Case for Change Challenge came up, reason was placed to the side. Amidst an already hectic work, family and study schedule, myself and three MBA students – Thommy Arena, Jessica Hughes and Christopher Murphy – embraced what little gaps we had left to make this a priority.
Yes, we are competitive, yes we wanted to do something that had a social impact and yes we wanted to showcase the calibre and talents of the Sydney MBA program. But most of all, this was a fantastic chance to develop ourselves and deliver in a space in which none of us had any professional experience. And that we did by using each of our life experiences to date and many of the lessons we’ve learned in the MBA.
The unit ‘Leadership, Practice and Development’ undoubtedly developed our mindset on how to work with each other at an optimum, and give each other feedback, both developmental and through recognition. This was particularly evident at 4am the morning of the final, sitting in the boardroom of our wonderful campus pushing out our presentation and managing to keep our whits about us when all you want to do is stop.
‘Critical Analysis and Thought Leadership’ taught us that having an option is critical, and then to develop and co-create that into a powerful message was a big part of our success.
But what did I find the most rewarding out of all of this? Apart from working with Jess, Thommy and Chris, it was the chance to sit at Tranby College (the client) and spend an afternoon meeting staff and students. Yes we talked a lot, but most importantly, we listened: we listened intently, made sure we understood what they were saying and experiencing and what their issues, motivations and drivers were. Once we reflected on this, our solution back to them became so very clear and made all the difference.
I would personally recommend this activity to anyone who is interested. No, you don’t get points for it, no you don’t get a grade for it, no you have to do it on top of everything else, and because of that, the experience is so much sweeter.
(Photo Left to Right: Willis Gray, Thommy Arena, Jessica Hughes, Christopher Murphy)