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Report: Ryan Pedler
Monash University's Master of Business Administration (MBA) program is this year enjoying a double celebration, marking the 40th anniversary and being ranked one of the world's best for developing future leaders.
The 40th birthday of the Monash MBA this year is testament to its longevity and success, but the ultimate recognition of its status, as one of the top MBA programs in the Asia Pacific region, came in the Economist magazine's highly-respected rankings late last year.
The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked the Monash MBA, based within the Monash Graduate School of Business, second in the world in the category of "personal development and educational experience" and 43rd in the world overall, the highest of any Australian MBA course.
Monash MBA director Peter Reed said the impressive rankings were the result of a strategy to develop an MBA with enough flexibility and diversity to develop leadership skills in people from a range of professional backgrounds.
"We've firmly taken the view that, over and above the technical business knowledge that is gained by studying an MBA, it is just as important for MBA students to maximise their personal leadership capabilities," Associate Professor Reed said.
Professor Julian Teicher, director of the Monash Graduate School of Business said: "We've really focused on reshaping our program to develop people as individuals so they can go on to become leaders in their field. We have many examples of people really transforming their lives by doing a Monash MBA."
The Monash program is one of the oldest in the world outside North America. It includes 10 double degrees that allow students to combine units from their area of professional interest with core business units such as accounting, marketing and economics.
Students are given career counselling and undergo self-awareness, skill and psychographic assessments to tailor a personal professional strategy. They also participate in a series of leadership forums and workshops. Students can continue working full-time and complete their MBA at nights and on weekends.
"The main benefits and skills I developed and learnt during my MBA include strategic planning, organisational management, time management and crisis management. I have little doubt that the experiences and skills provided by the Monash MBA program have transferred enormously into my current role." Alastair Clarkson, Hawthorn Football Club coach.
Associate Professor Reed said about a third of MBA students were professional people with a business background looking to climb the corporate ladder, but the program also attracted students from sport, legal, politics and information technology fields.
Prominent Monash MBA alumni include Telstra and Wesfarmers director Charles Macek, former Federal Communications Minister Richard Alston, Hawthorn Football coach Alastair Clarkson, Royal Women's Hospital chief executive Dale Fisher, former Transurban managing director Kim Edwards, and influential author and entrepreneur Rameshwari Ramachandra.
Former directors of the Monash MBA program include Professor Allan Fels, a past chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
Associate Professor Reed said the Monash MBA program would continue to evolve and adapt. "There is a current trend towards increasingly focusing on entrepreneurship and globalisation, and our course will evolve to meet those needs," he said.