David had been considering an MBA for 15 years and, in 2019, he finally decided it was time to take the plunge. He went through his own lengthy decision-making process, researching the options available both Sydney, where his family was comfortably based, and around the world.
“I knew I wanted to do it in person, and I placed the most importance on finding a highly reputable program that attracted a diverse group of people. AGSM has a remarkable cohort of people who go on to make a massive impact in the business world, both domestically and internationally.”
David was also looking for a new challenge.
“I wanted to scare the hell out of myself and expose myself to new things,” he says. “I wanted to work with different types of people and backgrounds and learn things that were totally different from what I’d been doing for 20 years.”
After starting the program part-time in 2019, he jumped into the full-time MBA program at the end of the year. And the people David wanted to work with and learn from? He found them quickly.
“I met people that are now lifelong friends,” he says. “I just went to one of their weddings – she and I will still be great mates when we’re old.”
See also: AGSM’s Business of Leadership Podcast: The Business of Sport.
David says the AGSM MBA’s huge selection of electives allowed him to lean heavily into areas he’d never explored.
“Things like digital strategy, financial statement analysis, law, regulation & ethics – I knew they were important in business, but I wouldn’t have picked up a book and read about them, and they certainly weren’t in my original skill set,” he says.
“I looked for things that would make me uncomfortable. It was humbling to go in not knowing much and having to work hard to understand. It was great to be a beginner again.”
David started Synapsing while doing his MBA at the end of 2019. But midway through 2020, he made a full commitment to the business, using his MBA knowledge to build its operations. His client list has grown considerably since those early days – thanks in large part to what he learned in his MBA.
David says AGSM provided him different angles and frameworks through which to view and analyse problems. He even continued with his learning at AGSM, participating in AGSM’s Strategic and Adaptive Leadership and the Alumni Learn to Lead Short Courses after completing his MBA.
“When I meet with organisations and I hear their problems, I now have the skills and tools to know it’s a capital allocation issue or they need to improve their digital strategy or their marketing outcomes.”
“Before I would’ve only been able to approach it from a sport perspective. There are thousands of people who have that sport background, but there’s far fewer who have an MBA and can look at business problems and sport problems from both angles.”
The rewards in helping athletes win and helping a business improve are both gratifying to David. And the keys to achieving that success overlap.
“Stress management, anxiety management, how to be a better leader, how to be a better teammate – we can take those from the world of sport, put them into an executive leadership context and help change the productivity and culture throughout an organisation.”
A more level playing field
Today, David not only wants to help people perform their best – but also make the world a more inclusive space for all.
“One of the major factors in whether or not I take on a project or client is if it has social value,” he says. “I want to help build a world that’s more equitable for Matilda and Rory when they grow up – one that’s not just dominated by the status quo.”
David says his MBA was a line in the sand between his sporting career and his new life in consulting, equipping him with the tools and time he needed to take his first steps toward becoming a better ancestor.
“It allowed the world to forget about the version of David Joyce who had a whistle in his mouth. My AGSM MBA enabled me to reinvent and relaunch myself – to decouple myself from that identity in my own mind as well. “
To learn more about AGSM’s globally ranked Full-Time MBA program, click here.
To find out more about AGSM @ UNSW Business School, click here.
To hear more, listen to the AGSM Business of Leadership Podcast: The Business of Sport with guest speaker: Danny Townsend, CEO of Sydney FC, on how he adapted and grew Sydney FC during the pandemic and found opportunity amidst challenges.