La Trobe alumni Marcus Guthrie completed his Master of Business Administration in late 2015, which he says was a ‘necessary step to take to progress my career’. Working as the Patient Services Manager at Mildura Base Hospital and studying night classes at our Mildura campus, Guthrie shares his insights.
Firstly, why did you decide to undertake your MBA?
I believe an MBA is fast becoming a pre-requisite for career advancement. Obviously there’s a fantastic learning and growth opportunity, but I also think a lot of businesses are looking in the middle to upper management level and the requirement for their cohort to have an MBA, including the value that brings to an organisation.
How long had it been since you’d last studied and how did you find balancing work, life and study?
I’ve been in management roles since 2000, albeit in a different career. I was a director in luxury hotels in various locations around the world and there was a ten year gap working on my career path before I received further qualifications in Strategic Management and Leadership in 2010. Four years later I was studying again and graduated from the MBA at La Trobe at the end of 2015.
The biggest challenge during the MBA was balancing home life with my three young children, a busy job and then finding enough time to put towards study, but I was extremely lucky that my wife often handled the family affairs on weeknights, and on weekends I would pick either a half-day or full-day to disappear and study. I was very lucky to have a supportive partner during assignment deadlines and exam dates.
What other tips can you offer for those judging study, work and family?
Speak with, and involve, your family in discussions about study, because ultimately they will be assisting you in the achievement of your MBA goal. Treat the MBA like a sport – it requires a minimum of two weeknights and one half or full day on the weekend.
How did you find the change from luxury hotels to working at a hospital?
You can draw a lot of parallels between hospitality and hospitals. Patient treatment should be viewed holistically, inclusive of all interactions a patient has throughout their journey of care. We look at a patient’s journey through a hospital as opportunities to care, and our interactions with family and friends of the patient are important contributions in the journey of care.
It’s not just about treating the patient and the patient gets better, it’s also about the other contributions along the way; the quality of food and the friendliness of staff that deliver the food, the cleanliness of the hospital or saying hello to a family member as you pass in the corridor. There are a significant amount of service moments in a patient’s journey that can have a positive effect to the overall care of the patient.
How did you find the course?
I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed it because I had the opportunity to complete the MBA from my home base in Mildura. I enjoyed the 6-9pm night classes because they suited my lifestyle – they didn’t affect my work schedule.
What I enjoyed the most was the networking. There were 65 students across the La Trobe campuses doing the MBA, so I got to know quite a lot of the other students. I learnt about their careers, about their professional challenges and professional opportunities, and the ideas they are trying to implement in their own careers. That was a really rich learning experience for me.
Have you been able to leverage the network you gained in your MBA in your career – such as job opportunities?
I’m very happy working at Mildura Base Hospital and for Ramsay Health Care, so my MBA hasn’t led to a new career, but it has led to opportunities within my current role. My role expanded while completing the MBA, which has been extremely enjoyable.
Lastly, what advantages did you get from doing your MBA?
Firstly, it cements the management fundamentals that you already know. So it’s a good opportunity to reflect on those management fundamentals and prune them to suit the current business landscape.
Secondly, it’s relevant in today’s professional world with regards to sustainability, responsible leadership and ethical leadership. That was a really important aspect of my development, as well as assessing risk in the business landscape now. They were the main components I received from the MBA and really enjoyed.
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