How the EMBA helped Louise step into executive leadership

Within weeks of finishing her Executive MBA (EMBA), Louise was offered the role of her dreams – Acting Deputy at Sydney Metro. She sat down to tell us how she did it.

Within weeks of finishing her Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) with RMIT, through Open Universities Australia (OUA), Louise was offered the role of her dreams:  Acting Deputy Executive Director of Safety and Security for Sydney Metro. She sat down with OUA to tell us how she did it.

Ask any leader in business, and they’ll likely tell you that their road to where they are today was hardly linear. For Louise, this couldn’t be more true.

Sitting across the table in a well-fitted suit, the executive leader tells us that, once-upon-a-time, she had studied (and was working in) occupational therapy.

“I lasted about 18 months,” Louise laughs.

Within minutes of speaking to Louise, it’s clear that she’s a woman who knows what she wants out of life. Unafraid of a challenge, she reassessed her future.

Seeing her husband suffer a workplace injury confirmed what she had suspected. She wanted to prevent injury occurring in the first place, instead of focusing on the “fixing side of things”.

It was this that convinced Louise to study a Masters of Work Health – a path that lead her to a successful career in health and safety for over 10 years. But for Louise, she hadn’t yet reached her dreams.

Her ultimate goal? To become an executive leader in work health and safety. Through the Executive Master of Business Administration, she achieved just that.

The need for an executive skillset

To get to the next level in an industry she had already spent a decade in, Louise knew she needed to expand her skills.

“A really effective work health and safety professional, in my opinion, is being able to tap into other parts of the business, having some financial acumen, people management skills…” Louise explains.

“Leadership is a big one in work health and safety… the ability to influence people…  That’s what the Executive MBA at RMIT offered me,” she says.

With a history working for the government, Louise knew that financial knowledge, in particular, would progress her career.

“We’re working with tax-payers money,” she explains.

Today, Louise oversees the health and safety of contracted employees across road and rail projects worth approximately 80-100 billion dollars.

executive-mba-student-louise-howard-at-work
Louise- Studied an EMBA with RMIT, through Open Universities Australia.

An exercise in research

With a Bachelor of Applied Science and a Masters of Work Health and Safety under her belt, Louise was no stranger to study. So when she realised she needed to return to the books one more time, she knew research was key.

"I wanted to make sure it was the right decision,” she says.

“You didn’t have to go to each university’s website. The curriculum, the course content… it was all there,” Louise recalls of weighing up different MBAs through the Open Universities Australia website.

When she needed further guidance, she found herself supported over the phone, too.

“The call centre was really helpful. Everybody was really knowledgeable. I never really had a problem with accessing information.”

Choosing the Executive MBA

“The reason I chose OUA and RMIT was to have a certificate from a great university, Louise says. By choosing the Executive Master of Business in particular, as opposed to a more traditional Master of Business, Louise ensured her degree was accredited by the prestigious European Foundation for Management Development Program Accreditation System.

What sets her degree apart is the course’s focus on business design in particular. The course has been applauded for its ability to help leaders analyse the architecture of business problems, and take creative, innovative approaches with their solutions.

Louise: The executive leader

Today, Louise lives the high-powered life she once dreamed of.

“The ability to work via correspondence via OUA… it wouldn’t have been possible otherwise to work full-time and also study.”

And while she’s thrilled with her new role, Louise isn’t slowing down any time soon.

“The end point? A Chief Executive Officer is not out of the realms of possibility, she grins.


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