Australian Sailor Jess Watson Reflects On Her AIM MBA
Jessica Watson’s life has been a myriad of diverse life pursuits. From sailing to business startups and now to consulting, in her own words life has been what can only be described as a “portfolio”. At 16 years of age she became the youngest person to sail solo non-stop and unassisted around the world in 2010, and as a result was named Young Australian of the Year and received an Order of Australia Medal for her services to sailing. After “making port”, Watson co-founded a start-up company and became Youth Ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme.
Having taken on the world, Watson decided that in order to continue succeeding in her career pursuits, she needed an education that would build upon her undergraduate qualifications and broaden her skill set. In 2016, she began her education journey by studying a Master of Business Administration at AIM Business School.
“From my degree studies, I really decided I wanted to do more. My degree was quite general and I realised I’m probably going to have so many careers over my lifetime,” she said.
“I decided I wanted to do something further with study that was going to help me over my whole life rather than for just a few years. I see myself doing a lot of different things in my life and hence I chose to study the MBA at AIM Business School.”
Watson has since earned her MBA and now sets her sights on the corporate world with the intention of building a career in consulting, but looking back it was clear that her time at AIM Business School was the catalyst to make it possible.
“It was good to be surrounded by other people in similar situations. I was grateful as a younger person to be with classmates that had so much experience and I found I was learning so much from them,” she said.
Watson could have had her pick of reputable business schools to study an MBA, but ultimately she chose AIM Business School because of its flexibility. With online and on-campus options, Watson was able to fit her studies around her personal schedule.
“The AIM Business School was very accommodating of my other commitments as opposed to some other programs which are quite rigid,” she said.
“With AIM Business School, I could study at my own pace with the built-in course flexibility. I was also able to select between on-campus study alongside some incredibly talented professionals and online units which gave me the ability to study anywhere.”
There were, however, challenges along the way. An MBA is, after all, an advanced education program.
“A big challenge is juggling commitments and time management …You need to be realistic about the time commitment required and for those around you to be aware as well – especially if you’re spending most weekends at your desk,” Watson said.
“It can be quite daunting learning topics which are very new to you, but they also have been some of the most satisfying ones. For me, finance especially was challenging — I’m not from that world.
“I was quite nervous as many would be, but it was also the most satisfying to finish and very empowering.”
Watson’s MBA journey may be over as she enters the wide world of business, but thanks to a new program initiative by AIM Business School she is far from on her own.
AIM Business School is now revolutionising the MBA landscape with the MBA+. This new on-campus and online program is specifically designed to ensure all current and future students have the support they need to truly succeed in today’s fast paced business environment.
Students who sign up for the MBA+ receive an exclusive Gold Card, which grants access to a growing library of more than 70 professional development short courses. AIM designed the short courses to ensure that students don’t just receive their MBA, but also get the confidence and support to keep growing and achieving their goals long past the date of graduation.
Further bolstering the value of the MBA+, the Gold Card also provides AIM Coaches who are available to help students develop a personalised study plan, review resumes and ensure everything is in place to maximise their success beyond the degree. AIM also gives MBA+ students access to lounges, which currently provide a haven for 20,000 professionals to come together every year across AIM’s network of collaborative workspaces. Within the comfort of these lounges student are able to network with peers, benefit from a supportive environment, and learn new approaches and ideas.
Watson’s biggest takeaway from her experience is, “the MBA gives you enough knowledge and the framework to solve many challenges and situations and ultimately gain great confidence.”
Ben Ready is the founder and Managing Editor of MBA News Australia (mbanews.com.au) and Online MBA (online-mba.com.au). He is a journalist, communications and digital marketing expert and also the founder of RGC Media & Mktng (rgcmm.com.au). He is a passionate advocate of MBAs and believes everyone who aspires to career advancement should get one.