By Anmol Saini, current student of the University of Sydney Business School MBA program and UN Women NC Australia MBA Scholarship recipient
“If not me, who? If not now, when?” Her words inspired me to do more for gender equality and women’s empowerment. I found myself on the website of the Australian National Committee for UN Women, searching for a project I could genuinely connect with – what I found was an MBA Scholarship offered through the University of Sydney Business School.
When I researched this particular MBA, I felt as though the program was designed just for me: a newly created MBA focused on personal transformation, self-awareness and self-management, together with the opportunity to support the Australian National Committee for UN Women. Perfect!
Despite this, I put away the thought of applying for weeks, letting self-doubt get in the way. Eventually, with the encouragement of my sister, mum and best friend, with only 2 weeks remaining to the application due date, I finally took a leap of faith and gave it a go.
15 months on, I am now reflecting on the single most transformational year of my life, a third of my way through one of the most progressive MBA programs in the country, and the only one to have achieved gender parity in 2015. A better manager, a more confident leader, an ever widening professional and social network, increased business knowledge, and career prospects that have tripled – the MBA program has done all of this for me and more. Let me give you a snap shot of why 2015 was not just the start of an MBA for me, but a life changing experience.
I kick started the year with Leadership Practice and Development (LP&D), taught by an incredibly passionate team dedicated to making me the best leader I could possibly be. I was led on an unexpected quest to discover the authentic me, not just professionally, but holistically. In my eyes, LP&D dismantled and then rebuilt me into a stronger version of myself (Anmol 2.0).
In March, I had the opportunity to attend a number of International Women’s Day (IWD) events and hear inspirational individuals discuss initiatives created in their organisations and communities. While I have always been an advocate for women in leadership, this Scholarship has given me a new found voice and confidence to discuss diversity, inclusion and equality in a way I previously couldn’t. I have been provided various opportunities to discuss what gender equality means to me through blog posts and discussion panels over the year. This, together with the tools I’ve acquired through the MBA, has given me the ability to persistently and persuasively communicate my thoughts on this topic, rather than being disheartened by the contention or disinterest I am often met with. I even went on to have my article on IWD published by Women’s Agenda, an Australian online publication focussed on the empowerment of professional women.
August saw me exploring the historical wonders of Beijing with a few MBA colleagues before making my way to Shanghai to study the International Business Project. As our team took on the role of independent management consultants for one of the world’s leading headwear manufacturers, we were able to experience Chinese business culture firsthand and walk away with some incredible insights into the fastest growing economy of our time.
I completed my MBA studies for the year with a leadership philosophy subject that challenged my worldview and interactions with others. I was encouraged to express my thoughts through non-standard means and re-invent the ways in which I chose to persuade my audience.
I finished 2015 on an absolute high, travelling to Sri Lanka for my best friend’s wedding, where I decided to climb Adam’s Peak, a 5,831 step journey that I wouldn’t have even considered attempting a year ago. Today I know I am capable of anything I put my mind to.
This MBA scholarship is more than just an academic qualification to me, it is an opportunity of a lifetime – a chance to question, challenge and re-define who I am and who I want to be, as a woman, a professional and a member of society.
If you are still deliberating whether this scholarship and an MBA is within your reach, trust me, trust yourself and take that leap of faith – it’s worth it!
Applications close soon – 17 January – for the $60,000 UN Women NC Australia MBA Scholarship for 2016. Learn more and apply now.