Strides of an AIB Student Subject 2
This month we found out more about the progress of 12 Month MBA student Chris Coffey, General Manager at Vinomofo, online wine company and one of Australia’s fastest growing businesses. We crunched the numbers to find out more about what Chris has been learning in his next subject, Strategic Finance Issues, and how he’s applying the lessons learnt to his new role.
How have you found the move up to the General Manager position so far?
Time-consuming, but good. We are going from a start-up to a SME (small to medium entity) as we have almost 50 staff now and our turnover is there to qualify us. This means we have to review all our HR policies to make sure they are up to scratch without getting too corporate. It’s a learning curve for me as I have never had to deal with that stuff before, but it’s all good fun, and I get to come at it with fresh eyes.
Your second subject was Strategic Finance Issues. What have you been learning in this subject?
I was learning more about finance and up until now had not bothered delving into it in such a structured way, so it was good to learn that subject.
I also learnt to appreciate accountants more and to see that they’re not just number crunchers for your money and their interest doesn’t lie in just the bottom line – accountants are managers as well, accounting for external purposes.
How have you been drawing what you’ve been learning back into your job?
I’m working in a lot of HR-based projects at the moment and the subject ties into HR in terms of accountancy for internal users, accountancy for managers, and learning how accountants can be leaders in the company and can be leant on for support in any area that involves anything to do with numbers.
Our accountants in Adelaide usually have to scan everything and print it out and keep it on file, but we are making a big move towards going paperless at the moment (driven mainly by me) because I see it as a benefit of streamlining our data within the company and to the environment. I am moving all our information forms that we usually pass back and forth, so if we put that online we are using our cloud-based solutions better. So that is what I’m focusing on right now – accounting stuff. It all ties together, I guess.
It might be a bit early to ask, but have you found the MBA has changed you personally or professionally so far?
Yes, definitely professionally. Andre (our Joint-CEO) keeps saying he thinks it’s made a difference already. I think it’s made a difference in the way I approach certain management tasks. It’s the intensive learning that drives the timing and the fact that it is applicable to work that makes the study relevant.
Your next subject is Strategic Marketing – what are you hoping to get out of this course?
A pass. I guess I have always had a disparaging view of marketing in my mind, so I would like to go into it with an open mind and learn more about exactly what marketing entails and how it can help the business.
I’ve always thought of marketing as being too wishy washy, and having read a bit about it, these are the things we do every day – we just don’t label it as ‘marketing’ in business.
Do you think Vinomofo’s CEOs Andre and Justin will be able to teach you a few things about the marketing subject too?
Absolutely. Andre and Justin built this business from scratch, and they are massive resources for me in every aspect of work. As marketing goes, Justin has been doing all the digital marketing until now, and continues to do so until our new Digital Marketer can take over some of his workload. Andre does all the product marketing so there are definitely things to learn from both of them.
We wish Chris the best of luck as he continues his MBA journey and look forward to speaking with him again!