Katie Ashford

Katie wanted to challenge herself by doing an MBA as well as gain knowledge around areas such as finance, operations, and corporate governance.

  • Location: New South Wales
  • Industry: Retail and Consumer Products
  • Job Function: Marketing & Communications
  • Programme: MBA
  • Motivation: Personal achievement, Broader Business Knowledge
  • Challenges: Certain Subjects, Balance and Time Management
  • Year of Graduation: 2017

What are the greatest personal and professional benefits you’ve experienced from the MBA so far?

I think the personal benefits of doing the MBA are it’s nice for your children to see that you’ve achieved something and to role model hard work and that things don’t come easily. I think also the sense that I could make the grade – once you got the first assignments back and you could see where you were tracking – which is a good and bad thing because then once I started getting certain marks, I wanted to achieve those all the time and push myself even harder.

Professionally, I think that my peers could see that I was still willing to put the work in on top of my quite full-on job. So, definitely a kind of renewed respect I think from the senior managers who kind of left me to do the work, didn’t really ask how it was going at all but in the end, have been kind of complimentary.

I think also the company I work for, we’re part of a merger recently, and definitely the new bosses are quite impressed with a working mum with a big family could do this.

How are you applying the skills that you learnt from the MBA to your role?

I’ve always been really organized in my role and in terms of the skills that I learnt when I was studying was to be even more organized. There was no really no scope for not planning everything out; your time management was the critical thing.

I think now I have a broader knowledge base to approach projects. I’m project managing a big e-commerce project at the moment for the business, which possibly I wouldn’t have got if I didn’t have the MBA. So, I think my bosses saw that I got more rounded than I was before.

Looking back on your MBA journey, what were the best parts and greatest challenges for you?

I feel that when people talk about doing an MBA, you choose to do it and it’s actually a real gift to be able to study – so many people can’t study in the world – and have access to education. So I actually felt very privileged before I started it that my family was supportive enough to say yes; my husband particularly.

It was hard work the lack of sleep at times and juggling if something happened at home. But I never found that it was a chore. The work itself was so interesting, and the sense of progress and feeling like you were a part of a group. Even though it was distance learning, I kind of reached out on the social media channels to a couple of people that supported me and I, in turn, supported them. So, I really found there was nothing negative about it.