AIB Alumni Spotlight: 2018 Valedictorian Vaughan Copping
On Friday June 15, AIB held its biggest Graduation Ceremony to date, with over 460 graduates celebrating the completion of their degrees with peers, family and friends.
The Valedictorian award went to Vaughan Copping who achieved an outstanding GPA of 6.58 in his MBA degree. Vaughan is an extraordinary young man who used his graduate delegate speech to reflect on the significance of the journey his graduating class had just concluded, and touch on the endless opportunities that lie ahead.
At only 28, Vaughan has already achieved an extraordinary amount in his life.
Born in South Africa, Vaughan immigrated to Australia with his parents while still a child. They spent three years in Tasmania before moving to the warmer climes of the Gold Coast. There, Vaughan finished his schooling and went on to study engineering at university. He achieved a Bachelor of Engineering (Advanced Studies) with first-class honours, was awarded the Griffith Award for academic excellence in each year of his degree as well as the prestigious University Medal for academic excellence.
Upon graduating, Vaughan was offered a full-time job with Rio Tinto in Perth where he worked on an aerodrome upgrade, the development of a new processing facility and the construction of a mine upgrade. He was soon promoted to Mechanical Engineer, and in 2018, to Senior Mechanical Engineer.
Despite a gruelling roster of 8 days on-6 days off, Vaughan decided to take on yet another challenge. Together with his wife, a property manager, Vaughan opened up a real estate agency called Perth Property Management. Over the past three and a half years, the pair has grown the agency to a team of eight, and have been recognised by the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia for their accomplishments.
For most people, working in a senior position for a global mining company while growing a business from scratch would be enough, but not for Vaughan. He commenced his MBA with AIB in July 2016 and completed it within 18 months.
“At the start of the MBA, it was quite daunting trying to manage time juggling different work commitments and family commitments,” he admits. “Once you get on top of the study and workload, though, it does become very manageable and you can integrate it into your life.”
In his valedictorian speech, Vaughan shared his gratitude for the opportunities available to him and his fellow graduates. “I’m very grateful for the fact that we’re living in this country at this particular time in history,” he said. “I think we’re exposed to such an abundant amount of opportunity that we can take advantage of. I truly believe that if you’re ambitious, driven and open to the possibilities in life, you have everything you need to succeed in today’s environment.”
He also credits the MBA for transforming how he runs his own business and his ambitions for the future. “It has become the foundation for everything that I do, whether it’s managing people or managing finances throughout my business. It really has changed how I perceive my business and also where I want to take it from here,” Vaughan explained.
After working hard to achieve the results he did in his MBA, one could forgive Vaughan for wanting to take things easy for a while. But he has other ambitions.
Speaking to his fellow graduates, Vaughan said, “Although this marks the end of one journey, it also symbolises the next journey in our life, which is a significant one. The notion that knowledge is power is somewhat misleading. Knowledge is potential power to me; execution is the real key. Sustainable change takes action. The challenge now is to build on our momentum and use the knowledge we have acquired as a foundation for whatever it is in our career we’re truly hungry for.”
Whatever Vaughan does next, his achievements will go with him.
“To me, this parchment is symbolic and it represents freedom in choice. The knowledge I’ve acquired throughout my academic journey has given me the skill set and confidence I need to choose what I want to do in life, whether that be to climb the corporate ladder or grow my own private company. There is no right answer for you or for me, and I think there lies the beauty of what the MBA represents. The choice is ours to mould our future as we see fit,” said Vaughan.
We expect great things from Vaughan in the future, and we’re proud to have him as our Valedictorian for 2018.
Watch Vaughan’s fantastic valedictorian speech.