Kara Jerman (Beinke) (ILF2018)


Institution: University of South Australia
Course: Master of Business Administration

“I have always been determined, passionate about adding value and needed to be challenged. Having been with the same organisation progressing organically for an extended period, I felt ready to move to a position where I could deliver more valuable outcomes. However, having always worked in a technical capacity, I lacked business acumen and experience that would bolster my application and provide the skills necessary to perform higher leadership positions.
A mentor recommended that I seek support to make deliberate steps on my career pathway rather than letting my career drift with the organisational tide. As a result, I was reached out to Geoff and the Industry Leaders Fund (ILF) to explore developmental opportunities.

The application process was pivotal as it helped me articulate and focus on what I wanted to achieve and the areas I needed to grow in to strive forward. Through some guidance and ILF information sessions, it became apparent that an MBA through UNISA was the best way forward for me. As a result, ILF assisted with the first year to kickstart my degree.

That year, I rallied through six subjects – Strategic Thinking; Ethics, Governance and Sustainability; Negotiation; International Business; Strategic Marketing and Managerial Finance. Safe to say, I was challenged. I quickly learned to expand my mindset beyond the ecosystem I had previously been comfortable working within. The MBA degree is not your typical academic degree where you regurgitate what you have read in a series of papers to demonstrate your comprehension. Instead, your thoughts, values, and experiences are the content you are studying, challenging, and contrasting against academic theories, business practises, and fellow students. Collaborating and debating with others in the class was extremely rewarding. They were just as passionate about the topics as I was, but they brought new perspectives and ideas that I had not considered. It was a mutually beneficial learning process where everyone could evolve and grow from the experiences and thoughts shared by the high calibre of individuals around them.  

In addition, the ILF networking and educational sessions expanded my mindset and connected me with like-minded individuals from differing backgrounds and experiences.

I immediately applied what I had learned through that year to my position and have since been able to further my career in an executive leadership capacity. The entire process has had a lasting impact on me – one that I am genuinely grateful for. It has shaped my ability as a leader and will continue to contribute to my growth journey as an individual. Not only did the ILF grant provide me with the opportunity to broaden my skill set and mindset, but it also empowered me to strive for a more challenging career pathway.”