By Nancy Nguyen, UN Women NC Australia MBA Scholarship recipient and current student of the University of Sydney Business School MBA program
I’ve had many firsts, but I didn’t expect to be the first UN Women NC Australia MBA scholarship recipient at the prestigious University of Sydney Business School in 2014. What this meant for me residing in Perth was a commitment to a gruelling travel schedule. By accepting the scholarship, I had also signed up to become the first MBA fly-in-fly-out (FIFO) student.
For many, when you mention the word FIFO, most picture miners in their fluoro queuing up for the plane in the early hours of the morning. So what does a FIFO MBA student look like, and is it worthwhile when so many other Universities offer MBA modules online these days?
Aside from the fluoros and hard hats, FIFO studying is also hard yakka – juggling a demanding full time work load, fitting in the 10hr roundtrip commute between Perth and Sydney, and completing demanding MBA assessments, pushes both my psychological and physical boundaries.
However, I haven’t looked back! Since being offered the once in a lifetime chance to undertake an immersive MBA program, I have been able to be creative about my future aspirations, whilst exploring and optimising my leadership skills with a hugely diverse and impressive set of future leaders.
Growing up and working in the resource bias community in Perth, it’s easy to find yourself in some level of group think. Being in Sydney has allowed me to problem solve and appreciate vastly different perspectives – a real West meets East experience.
The MBA program has helped equip me to fight for what I am most passionate about, increasing diversity, particularly gender in senior executive positions. Despite being in the millennium, I continue to find that only a handful of women make it to top tier executive positions, and the gender pay gap of 18% continues to widen. The UN Women NC Australia and University of Sydney Business School MBA have given me hugely valuable networks and skills to help amplify my voice, critical to catalysing change in the male dominated resource industry in which I work.
It is without a doubt that completing the MBA will enhance my Board readiness, where I endeavour to make first hand changes to future organisations and societies as a thought leader. I hope many more women who feel the same about the lack of women in leadership will come on this journey with me!