Regardless of her apprehensions, or what life through in her way, Jean never lost sight of her goals and ambitions to complete her MBA.

  • Location: Northern Territory
  • Industry: Government & Defence
  • Job Function: Human Resources & Recruitment
  • Programme: MBA
  • Motivation: Develop knowledge and skills
  • Challenges: Family commitments
  • Year of Graduation: 2020

After the inspiration of her friends, family and peers engaging in further education, in 2017 Langelihle ‘Jean’ Manda, Manager of People & Culture at Alice Springs Town Council took the plunge and started her MBA.

And the self-doubt of considering whether it was the best time most definitely had crossed Jean’s mind, as it does for all of us. With two children under the age of 3, having to take a newborn into the office during a period of no childcare availability and a promotion early on in her MBA journey, Jean is living proof we are stronger and more capable than we give ourselves credit for.

At our most recent graduation, we had the absolute pleasure of getting to hear more about Jean’s experience.

What was your motivation to start an MBA?

I had just received a promotion at work and I’d been sort of in this role before this for quite a while. I wanted something that would broaden my thinking, something that will be challenging me out of the daily routine of just, you know, applying my experience. Also, I had a couple of family members who were on sort of a journey of studying. So that motivated me, and my husband had started his own MBA about a year earlier than me. I just thought, look, you know what, just do it and see how you go. And I’m glad I did. 

Did you have any apprehensions did you have before starting?

Absolutely. When I finally signed up, I had just received that promotion I spoke about, my kids were both under three. So, my son was six months, my daughter was 24 months. And I just started this role where I couldn’t find childcare. So I was actually literally in the office with a baby. And I just thought, how am I going to juggle it? How am I going to actually do all of this? And I think that was the hardest thing?. Have I bitten off more than I can chew?

Any advice to others feeling overwhelmed?

First of all, I’m here today. I think that when you set your mind to something, there’s never going to be the perfect moment. I’ve looked back at whether I could have done it differently – could I have started at a different time? There’s always going to be things going on in life, if you want to do it, just do it, that first step you take is the rest of the journey.

Did you feel supported at AIB?

This is very sentimental to me. It was a big juggle during my MBA. And I cannot imagine how I’ll have done it without AIB.

I asked for quite a few extensions along the way, just simply, always conflicting priorities. The lecturers were great all the way. I’ve never had a question that wasn’t answered. The Student Central Team, seriously – they just hold your hand all the way they make it happen. So, I don’t think I would have done it without AIB doing what they did for me and supporting me the way that they did.

How does it feel to graduate?

Completing it lasts with you for a lifetime. So, two years later, I’m here I’m celebrating because that’s the impact it has on your life.  I’m feeling very accomplished. I’m feeling very humbled and very excited. I’m just here to say I did it and I’m glad I did. So it’s amazing. Just simply amazing.