Adelaide MBA gave graduate the confidence to successfully reapply for executive roles

After returning to the workforce after starting a family, Melanie Cottell soon realised she wanted to undertake professional development to refresh and expand her skill sets.

Beginning her studies with the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) it reignited her passion for studying.

“I completed the AICD course, which I enjoyed and it sparked a thirst for more learning. Knowing I had been able to complete that course while balancing study with young children led me to investigate a Master of Business Administration (MBA) qualification,” she said.

Choosing the University of Adelaide was simple for Ms Cottell. She was looking for an internationally well-respected MBA, which was convenient and flexible.

“I chose to study the Adelaide MBA as it is business-related and diverse in its application and relevant to many roles; particularly at senior level. The learning also complimented my knowledge from the AICD course and gave me confidence to apply for board directorships,”Melanie Cottell
Melanie Cottell

Since completing her MBA, she has gone onto hold several non-executive Board Directorship positions, gained a position on the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS) SA/NT Committee, and continued to build on her rediscovered love of learning, as well as being awarded Fellowship with Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS).

Ms Cottell said the Adelaide MBA gave her the confidence to successfully reapply for executive roles, as well as contributing to board positions after her time away from the workforce.

“Having a well-rounded set of business skills enables me to contribute at the board table.”

Throughout her studies, Ms Cottell was able to take her learnings directly back to the workplace; in particular from the leadership course, which she says led her to develop a purposeful leadership practice.

Currently, Ms Cottell is the Commercial Capability Manager for BAE Systems Australia.

“It is a national, executive-grade role that encompasses both BAE Systems Australia and BAE Systems Maritime Australia (formerly ASC-Shipbuilding). I lead the capability of the Commercial function and have a broad responsibility remit for our people, processes, tools and governance. I lead the capability strategy and direct capability initiatives to ensure we have an efficient, capable and agile workforce that’s well positioned to meet current and future business requirements,” she said.

Her role also includes chairing enterprise-wide cross functional initiatives to build their capability as an enterprise, and representing the Australian Commercial business on collaborative global projects.

Prior to her Adelaide MBA studies with the University of Adelaide, Ms Cottell had held a number of senior roles across a number of industries in both the U.K. and Australia.

Ms Cottell said the most enjoyable part of the MBA was making new connections and enduring friendships.

“Meeting people from diverse industries, countries and backgrounds was really enjoyable and provided for a rich breadth of discussion in class and an opportunity to learn from peers.”

“Most of all, I loved the learning and stretching my thinking and gaining new skills and new ideas with each lecture. The quality of the lecturers and learning was excellent and the face to face, smaller learning groups really suited my learning style,” she said.

Ms Cottell’s advice to future students is simple. “There will always be a reason why you think you can’t do something, but instead of focusing on why you can’t; focus on all the reasons why you can and should,” she said.

“If you are thinking about studying the Adelaide MBA, you can tailor it to suit your own pace, there is flexibility to fit the courses around work and family, and the knowledge you gain is invaluable.”

Ms Cottell’s career journey is just one of the many amazing stories of our Adelaide MBA alumni. If you are interested in exploring your potential and undertaking an Adelaide MBA, get in touch with our Adelaide MBA team.

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