Receiving an ILF grant in 2017 provided me with one of the most rewarding professional experiences I could have hoped for. The ILF application process was straight forward and provided me with an opportunity to reflect on my professional goals and the value that I could add to not only the company I worked for, Beach Energy, but also the state in which I live. Geoff Vogt and the ILF team were incredibly helpful in guiding me through the application process. At the time of applying for and being awarded with an ILF grant my position at Beach Energy was Manager E&A Western Flank Gas and I had four Geoscientists reporting to me.
When selecting a preferred course, I considered various criteria: reputation of the course provider, length of the course, and relevance of course content. In addition to those criteria, I also considered the magnitude of challenge that the course would provide and how far I would be pushed outside of my comfort zone. I selected the Program for Leadership Development (PLD) with Harvard Business School as it provided the right mix of distance learning and on-campus learning, and also focused on subjects in which I needed further development.
The Program for Leadership Development is Harvard Business School’s alternative to an Executive MBA. It is a course that contains four modules and is run over a period of eight months. Module 1 began late November 2017 and involved three months of distance learning focused on online learning modules in Financial Accounting and Economics and the preparation (reading and assignment questions) of approximately 30 HBS case studies covering various topics from negotiation, marketing, accounting and ethics.
Module 2 was run for two weeks in late February at the Harvard Business School campus in Boston. Module 2 was a packed schedule of case preparation (in ‘Living Groups’), case study lectures, social events and coaching. The living group arrangement (eight students per group) was an excellent opportunity to get to know a small selection of the overall 190 cohort very well. Although daunting at the start, the lecture settings were an excellent opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and speak up and contribute. The facilities on campus were outstanding and the HBS were very professional.
Module 3 involved a continuation of the online modules, an Alumni challenge with the living group and more case study reading. The Alumni challenge provided an opportunity to experience working in a truly global team managing eight different time zones.
Module 4 was the final module, again held on campus in Boston for another two weeks. With a similar format to Module 2, the final module provided just as much opportunity to learn, extend and discover. The course completed with a ‘graduation’ ceremony in the beautiful and impressive Harvard Club in Boston.
The highlights of PLD included the online modules (very well put together and useful for people with no accounting knowledge), the interesting and diverse case studies which put context to many business topics and the case study lectures/discussions. I came away from the course with a greater confidence in accounting, economics and negotiation and a newfound appreciation of ethical issues in a business setting. I couldn’t have asked for a better course to participate in. It was perfect for my level of experience and interests. I would recommend the course to anyone who wants to be challenged but be prepared to do a lot of reading! Top tip- do not leave case preparation to the last minute- be organised to get the most out of the content.
After commencing PLD I found the confidence to put myself forward for a promotion and I am now General Manager Exploration & Appraisal SA/WA at Beach Energy with more than 30 people reporting through to me. Beach also saw the value in PLD and I was fortunate enough for them to support me in undertaking the optional Module 5 of PLD in 2019. I have since completed that and have now gained Alumni status for Harvard University.
Thank you to ILF for providing me with the opportunity to study at one of the best business schools in the world. Your support has enabled me to the continue to provide value to Beach Energy and the state of South Australia.