The MBA Journey for Specialists and Technical Professionals

The MBA Journey for Specialists and Technical Professionals

While the Master of Business Administration (MBA) was once primarily associated with high-level executives and entrepreneurs, the qualification has become increasingly accessible and relevant to a much wider scope of professions. Innovations in programme delivery have made it possible for 9-5 professionals to continue working full-time while studying a degree, but what about those who shift work, don’t technically have an ‘office’, or find themselves travelling on a regular basis? They are often technical professionals, and are those who have trained, usually at high levels, in one specific skill or field – think doctors, pilots, fire fighters, engineers or IT specialists, for example. The MBA has evolved significantly over the years, and now complements a much broader range of workers through its flexible options. We spoke with some of AIB’s former students, who are also technical professionals, and explore the topic further with them below.

The need for business know-how

Every business needs to understand how to operate within budget, serve its stakeholders and create a strong leadership culture. This need is not unique to high profile organisations or industries – it applies across government, non-profits and trades alike. As the need has become more apparent, industries such as airlines and emergency services have begun to recognise the value of an MBA. In many instances, it has become a requirement for those wanting to progress from a technical specialist to leaders in their respective fields.

According to Grant Lupton, South Australian Metropolitan Fire Service (SAFMS) Chief Officer and AIB MBA Graduate, the MBA is an essential step for technical professionals wishing to progress. “At the SAMFS, there are seven roles at the head of various departments, each contributing to a $170 million organisation, so that degree warrants having as much business acumen as possible,” he said.  Despite the core trade of the SAMFS being to save lives, property, and the environment, leaders within the organisation need to understand how to effectively run the business and manage workers, so that the level of service can continue at a high standard.

Flexibility for varying work hours

Thanks to advances in education delivery, the MBA can now be completed entirely online, without compromising quality. The programme has shifted from a couple of years full-time on a campus, to one that can work constructively with the varying work hours that technical professionals are accustomed to. For commercial pilot Stuart Dunn (pictured above), he knew that completing a full-time MBA while flying Boeing 737s for a living wouldn’t be a simple challenge. “Studying online was the only way I could conceivably do my MBA, so I needed an option that could fit around my roster,” he said.

Stuart wanted the ability to study anywhere in the world, regardless of time zone, as well as options for offline study. Much to his surprise, fitting the AIB MBA around his roster was never too difficult. “Since I could take my course notes and journal readings with me wherever I went, it made it possible to work from my iPad when on the move,” he said. This level of flexibility allows technical professionals to take on the challenge of the MBA in a way that complements their lifestyle and working hours.

An ability to maintain balance

Technical professionals such as military personnel and police officers tend to have inconsistent working hours, often paired with the need to travel away from home. At the best of times, it’s difficult for them to create a routine; however, balance can still be achieved through forward planning and a focus on priorities. The flexible MBA programme complements this process, as the student can plan their study around existing priorities, whether this is during business hours or in the middle of the night.

Royal Australian Air Force Logistics Officer Jason Taylor sees his role deploy him frequently and move house around the country, sometimes at short notice. For him, the ability to complete the programme online and maintain balance in his life was essential to his success. “I found the flexibility an absolute god-send when it came to trying to balance my workload, my family, and also the study itself,” he said. Despite the regular disruptions, Jason shows that an MBA can be completed while still sustaining healthy lifestyle.

Also read – Why Technical Professionals Study MBAs

AIB enrolments show that students come from a variety of backgrounds, from engineers and pilots, to health care professionals and executives. However, with the MBA fast becoming a necessary qualification in many specialist roles, it’s great to see more and more technical professionals pursuing the degree. 


The MBA from AIB is Australia’s largest MBA, chosen by more professionals than any other MBA degree in the country. It has been specifically designed for busy working adults, delivered 100% online through our interactive Student Learning Portal. The AIB MBA offers genuine flexibility, industry-relevant course content and the practical knowledge and skills you need to achieve your career goals.

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