Jacqui O’Brien

From Banker to Technology Entrepreneur with AIB?s MBA

  • Industry: Science & Information Technology
  • Mode of study: Distance Learning
  • Location: Queensland
  • Programme: MBA
  • Themes: Practicality
  • Motivation: Wants Formal Qualification
  • Challenges: Frequent Traveller
  • Seniority: Mid-Level

created on 01/09/2015

Jacqui was working as a Senior Manager, Treasury and International Operations, at the Bank of Queensland when she first decided to complete an MBA in the hope of reaching the executive level of the business.

Since completing her degree with AIB, she has now moved on to start her own company, i-Tek International, in the technology industry focusing on digital storage solutions.

Jacqui is currently developing two of her own brands of portable terabyte hard drives and is considering breaking into SD cards, USBs and power packs for mobile phones in the future.

Technology is an area of great interest for Jacqui, who said that many of the subjects she completed as part of the MBA have helped her to set up the company.

“The MBA helped me immensely to learn new skills and almost instantaneously put them into practice in real life. For example the Strategic Management subject helped me to develop a business plan and implement it as I was setting up my business,” she said.

 “Financial Management was really helpful too, because obviously you have to have your funds lined up before you start one of these ventures.”

Having completed her MBA research Project on small business, Jacqui concluded that those who don’t plan for the future are going to fail.

“During my research, I spoke to many small business owners, and they were all busy doing work instead of strategically planning where they wanted their businesses to go,” Jacqui said.

“They all complained about the same things – not having enough time and not being able to find the right staff,” she said.

“From that project and the interviews I conducted, I learned that to set up a successful business, you need to take a step back and actually figure out where you want to go.”

Asked about her advice for other MBA students who are using their studies to help them to set up a business, Jacqui said it’s all about following your passion because if you are passionate enough about something, you will figure out the rest.

“It sounds clichéd, but if you want to do something bad enough, you will figure it out,” she said.

“Don’t stop when you reach hurdles. Running your own company is just an exercise in problem solving, so you need to be able to solve problems to succeed.”

Now in the process of launching i-Tek International, Jacqui said her main way of overcoming problems during the launch is not to use an isolated approach.

“You have to network, research, read articles on relevant topics and know what is happening in the market,” she said.