Anne Collishaw

Anne Collishaw, currently the Deputy Director at the Department of Defence Australia, chose to pursue an MBA as a means to advance her career.

  • Location:
    Australian Capital Territory
  • Industry:
    Government & Defence
  • Job Function:
    Executive, Owner & Board
  • Programme:
  • Motivation:
    Formalise experience
  • Challenges:
    Frequent travel
  • Year of Graduation:

With extensive experience in the Australian Army and the Department of Defence, Anne Collishaw chose to study an MBA to progress her career and prepare for life post-Army. Living in Canberra and frequently moving meant it would be impossible for her to meet the contact hour requirements of traditional universities. This led her to explore studying online, where she discovered AIB. The program’s flexibility made it an ideal choice for Anne. Since graduating, her studies at AIB have contributed to her securing an executive role as Deputy Director.

In the interview below, we talk to Anne about her decision to study at AIB, her motivations for studying an MBA, and how the experience has changed her as a person.

What was your motivation to study? What point were you in your career and what inspired you to take this step?

At this age, I’m starting to think about retirement. I’ve accomplished many things in my career but lacked formal qualifications. My goal is to advance my career, which I believe will also help me secure a role after my time in the Army.

Do you feel that studying and investing in your learning online contributed to your success?

Absolutely. I pursued an MBA to possibly gain a promotion within the army or Defence Force, which I recently achieved. During the selection process, my past roles and my studies at AIB were topics of interest. These factors definitely played a significant role in securing my new position.

I’m really looking forward to the new adventure and my position. It certainly means a lot more pay, but a lot more responsibility. This position is more executive-level, as opposed to a standard APS 6 role. I’m really excited about it!

Have you changed as a person throughout the course?

Yes, I believe I’ve changed as a person. The knowledge I acquired later in life, I’ve applied to both my personal and professional life. Now, I integrate my experiences with the lessons I’ve learned, a skill that has matured over time. This change has made me more empathetic, especially in mentoring my team. The increased insight and holistic approach to management and leadership is another key factor in obtaining my current position.

What is one aspect of studying at AIB that has stood out to you?

The reason why I did study with AIB is because I am away a lot for my work. This meant that it would be impossible for me to do contact hours. And it’s probably why I hadn’t considered doing an MBA earlier because most traditional universities require some contact hours or exams at a place. Living in Canberra and often moving for work, online study suits me better. Enrolling in AIB’s MBA program was a great decision; without it, I might not have been able to advance my career as I have.

What’s one bit of advice that you give to someone who is on the fence about starting MBA?

The longer you think about it, the more time you lose. When I started the MBA, I was apprehensive about returning to study after 30 years. But I just dived in and learned alongside my peers, many of whom were in a similar situation. We supported each other throughout the journey, making it a fantastic experience!

Have you been to an AIB networking event? How did you find it?

I attended the AIB networking event in Sydney at Pier Two. It was a wonderful evening, almost like a school reunion. I met some online acquaintances for the first time and caught up with a few of them, as well as some of the AIB staff. The social aspect was enjoyable and motivating, especially as it happened around the midpoint of my journey. It was a delightful experience that helped keep me motivated.

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