Industry Projects, MBA

MBA Graduate says 'Just do it!'

By Michael McKenna on April, 29 2016
Michael McKenna

At age 47 starting an MBA, what was I thinking? Not long after being nominated by VACC to start this journey I had some serious doubts. I was now part of an MBA Project Team that contained some seriously clever people and I felt exposed.

The language used (let's call it 'consultant talk'!) in group conversations was foreign to me, I was lost and drowning by the second. I didn't want to quit, I thought too many people were expecting this, sort of going along the lines of 'its an MBA, it's hard work, at least you tried'...

I remember the day this changed for me. A conversation focused along the lines that most people re-entering or debuting the education system would struggle, to cut myself a break and contribute what I could, when I could and never doubt or belittle my contribution. Hey, presto!! All of a sudden the consultant talk made some sense (I did say 'some'!) and the contributions and results started to flow. I was blessed to be part of such a great MBA Project Team. The theme for me went through the last two projects, great teams, cleverly put together by Ducere.

I was honoured to wear the gown of an MBA at the University of Canberra Graduations. Whilst I was being fitted for my mortar board (size XXXL) I reflected on all the investment that went into to get me to the finish line.

I thought of my wife who had just given birth to Ryan some 7 weeks before I started this journey and never once begrudged me this opportunity. Just support. I thought of my daughters who I hope I have inspired. I thought of my 7-year-old autistic son who insisted on 'studying' next to me every night (I think he just loved the computer time!!). I thought of my parents who gave me every opportunity but I always knew better and I never took advantage of their legacy. I thought of my sisters who have always encouraged me and loved me. I thought of some of the great teachers in my life who had the faith, who saw my potential but were frustrated at my lack of application (Fr. Breen, Joe Kloss, Bro Kelly, Mrs. Boyle, Mrs. Oswald, Sister Loretta and Sister Mary). I thought of work colleagues, especially Jodee Price who made this happen and mentored me through the awkward early stages. I thought of me, having an excuse for everything, for half completing everything. I am so proud and appreciate all the opportunities given to me. I'm sure there are others but these people are foremost in my mind.

I see other MBA candidates coming through the program who are experiencing that confidence crisis that I had. My advice, hang in there, don't go into your shell and contribute something, anything. Externalise (see the consultant talk!) how you are feeling. To others of my vintage who have ever wondered if they have what it takes I say "do it!" I can tell you the feeling of utter euphoria that I experienced when graduating made the journey even more special. Get involved, call Ducere. They made it easy for me, identified where I was falling and were just great people. For those who are unsure feel free to call.


Michael McKenna, MBA


A truely unique MBA that provides practical and industry-relevant skills. Learn more.