Ruth is living proof that your experience is invaluable. Regardless of how long it has been since you last studied, or if you haven't ever at all, there's nothing that should hold you back from your ambitions.

  • Location: Northern Territory
  • Industry: Real Estate & Property
  • Job Function: Management
  • Programme: MBA
  • Motivation: Formalise experience
  • Challenges: Limited previous study experience
  • Year of Graduation: 2022

Ruth Palmer, Executive Director of the Property Council of Australia of the Northern Territory Division has dedicated her career to establishing herself as a thought leader and expert in the field of membership-based organisations and is a passionate advocate for strategic vision and growth prospects for the Northern Territory.

After being in her current position for 5 years, Ruth was ready to gain her MBA qualifications not only to formalise her experience, but for a sense of achievement – despite a very successful career, Ruth had left school during year 11 and the motivation to earn a formal degree had always been in the back of her mind. 

Although this clearly hadn’t held her career back, Ruth felt she was in the perfect point in her career to upskill and add value to her expertise, which would also help make herself a more attractive candidate when going for board positions. At her graduation day, we took the opportunity to have a chat with her and find out more about what she took away from her experience at AIB.

What motivated you to start an MBA?

So in my current role, I’ve been there for seven years. So when it hit to the five year mark, I knew I was super keen to want to kick off an MBA, purely because I hadn’t done any formal academic studies before. I also didn’t finish year 11 in school. So for me, this just provided a perfect opportunity to upskill and to also be able to put some things into my role that I knew I could use by doing the courses that were offered.

Why did you choose AIB?

So the support that was provided by AIB was really good for someone in my position, sort of working remotely, but also being able to study online for the whole duration of the Masters. That was something that really appealed to where I live in Darwin, and not being able to come down to Adelaide or to other universities across the country. So that was a really big winner for me, and having that feedback from other people who had done the Masters through AIB before.

Do you attribute any successes to completing your MBA?

With the Masters, what that allows me to do now is take on opportunities of board positions, that was something that I was really looking forward to sort of getting my teeth stuck into after completing the MBA. So I really want to sort of secure some spaces, some positions on a board, just so I can help others but also around providing a strategic voice for other organizations.

What fears did you have? 

So when I first started, it was so scary. For me never having studied anything academic before, not having done any exams before, going straight to a masters without any sort of background was frightening. There were times at the beginning where I wanted to pull out, I was really nervous –  I didn’t know how to write academically, I didn’t know how to do referencing. But with the support of my lecturers and the first module of leadership was so helpful. And building up a team of study buddies, which I never thought I would do, was very helpful as well.

Any advice for others? 

I believe we can always give something a go. And if you want to do it, don’t delay and just give it a crack. For people who haven’t studied before, I say reach out to your fellow study buddies, you’ll find people you can connect with and that will be able to help you and you will find life long friends. But also the staff at AIB, I think everyone really understands that it is a process for people that are in remoter areas, where it is online learning. So that they know there is difficulty with confidence and you just got to get past that initial first module, and know that the rest of the journey is there and AIB will help you.

You’ve always got that opportunity to reach out, chat to people and don’t be afraid to give it a go, becuase the two years absolutely flies. And from where we started to where I am now, two years has just gone and now I can proudly say I am a master.