Name: Shawn Panton
Degree: Master of Business Administration
Why did you choose to complete an MBA?
I decided to complete an MBA to become more financially literate, improve my ability to articulate financial matters in my career and gain a formal management qualification to boost my prospects. I wanted to improve my performance as a professional with a view to attain senior management positions in the future. Further to that, I was looking to gain the skills and knowledge to enable me to embark on entrepreneurial ventures, as well as a broader range of opportunities, while also improving my academic standing by gaining a masters degree.
What was the best thing about your course?
The best thing about my course was how the subject learning was integrated into the more advanced study areas towards the end of my MBA, such as utilising strategy, finance and accounting. I liked the fact that subjects were related and critical to ongoing learning and success in other areas. This allowed me to apply aspects of my course in my day-to-day work from a practical perspective. I also enjoyed the associated personal development and contributing to case study scenarios with a group of like-minded professionals.
What was the worst thing about your course?
The worst part of my course was some of the rigidity of the faculty as it related to subject choice towards the end of my course. That is simply university bureaucracy and there was little that could be done.
What is your work background?
I have 19 years of global resource industry experience across a diverse range of energy resources and commodities, including coal, CSG, gold, nickel, phosphate and copper, in six countries. As a manager I have broad experience as a leader in both technical and commercial roles in exploration, mining, project evaluation and business development.
What is your education background?
I completed my Bachelor of Science (Honours) at La Trobe University and the University of Melbourne as part of the Victorian Institute of Earth and Planetary Sciences in 1996.
How has the MBA program helped you progress in your career?
The skills and networks I have established have enabled me to successfully navigate what is a significantly challenging economic environment in the resources sector. My MBA has helped me to improve my negotiation and communication skills, which has allowed me to improve my own business as a consultant whilst balancing the rigours of study.
How did you balance work and study commitments?
In short, I had to make sacrifices to successfully achieve my academic objectives whilst working full time. This means being disciplined and willing to prioritise time and resources to ensure success. The hardest part is at the start and it gets easier over time. The MBA teaches you how to utilise and manage your time in work, study and leisure.
What advice would you give to students considering completing an MBA?
Be prepared to make sacrifices with your time and lifestyle, and remember the adage that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Your reputation is everything, so be prepared to fulfil your obligations to your study groups. Do what you say you would do — and more! Achieving an MBA but not having the respect of your cohort deflates the value of your qualification.