Postgraduate study is a great way to advance your career or change to a new profession. We chatted to five UNSW Business School alumni who shared how their postgraduate study has taken their career in a new direction.
Frederick Mahar, Founder and Managing Principal of accounting firm FM Mahar & Associates, and father to four young children – enrolled in a Master of Taxation to gain a solid comprehension of complex frameworks to resolve clients’ challenging taxation matters.
“I knew it would give me an extra level of depth when it came to tax advisory, but I was terrified I couldn’t do it. I was afraid of the unknown.”
Frederick however, was determined to make the most of the opportunity.
“I played up a bit in my undergraduate degree and regret not putting my head down and studying. So, I was absolutely committed to using this specialist degree to take my career to the next level.” Complex and technical discussions with clients are now areas that Frederick feels comfortable engaging.
“I’ve got a whole new level of confidence,” he said. “Now, if I get a challenging question from a client, I know how to find out the answer easily. The high-level advisory work I do is all because of the Master of Taxation degree.”
As part of the Master of Financial Analysis degree, alumna Frances Summerhayes selectively chose courses that aligned with her career development plan.
“I had skills I wanted to develop. So, I chose courses that would help me reach these goals.”
Frances, who is now the Head of Finance at BHP Billiton, acknowledged that financial and time pressures can influence decisions to enrol in postgraduate study.
“If you are going to do postgraduate study, then put your full self into the degree. Like many things in life, the more you put in, the more you get out of it.”
For Frances, the investment in her career was undoubtedly worth it.
“I have had the return on investment. My degree had a payback period of one year, when I was promoted to Financial Controller – a role I had the confidence to fulfil. It gave me the stable foundation to be the finance leader I am today.”
Having completed an undergraduate degree in economics, Subhro Bhattacharya decided to change careers and study a Master of Professional Accounting as a stepping stone to one of the Big Four firms.
“The Master of Professional Accounting degree is very practical and if you want to work for a Big Four firm, the choice is simple. The degree is seen as practically relevant by corporates which is great.”
Subhro is now a Director in CFO Advisory at KPMG Australia.
“This degree has defined my professional career in full. It gave me the tools to be industry-ready.”
The diversity of the student cohort at UNSW Business School appealed to alumna Brooke Shaw when she was completing a Master of Commerce.
“I was in tutorials with students from Asia and Europe and I heard about the challenges faced by companies across the globe that I would never have heard of otherwise. This also gave me a deeper understanding of cross-cultural communication.”
Brooke also recognised that she had a higher chance of standing out in the competitive job market with a postgraduate degree under her belt and a global mindset.
“At this stage, Australia isn’t a country that requires people to have postgraduate qualifications – but you don’t have to look far to see that postgraduate degrees are really valued and expected internationally. What I learnt and experienced has increased my effectiveness working internationally.”
Following her postgraduate degree at UNSW Business School, Brooke worked as a Senior Manager in Advisory at EY, managed the talent portfolio at Suncorp Group and is currently a Senior Manager at real estate firm Dexus, looking after talent and organisational development.
Creating a professional network with peers and industry experts was paramount to alumna Astri Prakoso’s postgraduate experience.
“The Master of Commerce opened doors for me because practising marketers were invited to come as guest speakers to tie theory to reality,” she said.
“They were open to networking and I was able to gain insightful advice from them.”
Astri also utilised the connections she made with other students.
“Through the degree, I met and developed really good relationships with other students, who are now marketers in various industries. It's great to have them as your peers who you can reach out to.”
Astri currently works as a Senior Manager at enterprise software company Sprinklr.
Explore the postgraduate options offered at UNSW Business School and gain the practical skills, specialist knowledge and confidence to transform your career.