Looking back to September 2015, as the General Manager of Whyalla Hose and Fitting Services (WH&F), I was one of 21 emerging business leaders who received a grant to further develop my leadership skills, with assistance from the Industry Leaders Fund.
With this grant I chose to gain a qualification of an MBA, starting in November 2015 with the Australian Institute of Business (AIB), where I was striving to polish and hone my skills built from years of industry experience.
Specifically, I was focusing on developing my ability to understand external and internal working environments, my capability to lead in stressed markets, and my ability to innovate and strategise new models.
As the AIB MBA is work-applied, it also provided me the advantage of catering each of the assignments and the final project to the business, with a vision and mission to improve the long-term strategic planning, wealth creation and further reinforce my capability to lead Whyalla Hose & Fitting Services into the future.
Fast forward 12 months and I am 11 subjects down, with only a Research Project to go to complete my MBA, and to say it has been an extremely challenging year is an understatement.
On top of my studies, which was an assignment and an exam each month, our largest customer Arrium went into Voluntary Administration, resulting in a loss of income to WH&F in excess of $500K.
With the immediate loss of income we made executive decisions to sell off assets, fully communicated with our creditors to enter into payment agreements, and most importantly, consulted with our employees every step of the way.
To further strengthen our cause, and eliminate possible closure, the State Government provided financial assistance to multiple local businesses.
To say lucks a fortune would be true. Each curveball the VA presented, whether it be financial, governance or human resource related, each MBA subject that I completed enabled me to act appropriately to an issue as it arose.
Now that I am verge of completing the AIB MBA, my research project will focus on WH&F maintenance management stream of the business, with intentions to position us at a competitive advantage, and make us attractive to the potential new buyer of Arrium.
Not only have I gained greater knowledge and confidence from studying my MBA, I have also gained an operating network of exceptional South Australian leadership talent, a brilliant mentor, and it’s all thanks to the Industry Leaders Fund.