“I love understanding problems and solving them with elegant solutions.”
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
Fun Fact About Yourself: I love my sports and politics and can talk for hours on end about either, and on a good day, both!
Undergraduate School and Major: University of Technology, Sydney; Bachelor of Business, Bachelor of Computing, Accounting Major
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: CEO & Founder, One Education
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Scaling an organization from a volunteer movement to a self-funded social business. We raised over $25 million dollars to deliver 70,000 computers to disadvantaged children and trained thousands of teachers in their use.
What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Diverse. With over 90% of the class from outside the UK, from a total of 64 countries, each student from our cohort is unique. What the statistics don’t show you is the personal impact diversity has – and how it broadens your perspective in ways that I didn’t anticipate coming from a multi-cultural society like Australia.
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? Hands-down, the most important aspect that differentiated Oxford from every other MBA in the world, is its deep integration of social purpose into its organizational structure, programming, and partnerships with organisations like Skoll.
When selecting an MBA, it’s easy to get caught up on rankings, which reflect the past, when in reality, an MBA is an investment in your future. The good thing about the uncertain times we live in is that it is clear business models need to change to incorporate what used to be classified as ‘externalities’ as core business. The Oxford MBA programme is the only one in the world that credibly prepares its students for this changing landscape, by providing students with opportunities to explore how profit and purpose are interconnected for the businesses of the future.
What is the most “Oxford” thing you have done so far as a full-time MBA student? It’d have to be completing my exam in sub-fusc and appropriately coloured carnation to mark my progress through the course!
What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? Why do an MBA now? Having scaled an organization from a volunteer outfit to a self-funded organization, the question hit home hard. After all, I had completed what could best be described as a real-world MBA. The interesting thing is how your answer to that question changes over time. Right now, after a decade of social enterprise, it’s an opportunity to take time out to think about the next steps and where I’d like to be in 10 years’ time. I could do that back home in Australia, but to do this in an environment that will challenge you, but also give you pathways to get where you want to go. It’s an opportunity too good to pass up.
What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? I’d have to say the defining moment was quitting my job at a top accounting firm to chase a passion. Whilst some of my colleagues have gone on to become a partner at that firm, I wouldn’t trade the path I took for it. The path I took, whilst less traveled, has also defined me as who I am today. I’ve learned about my leadership style through successes and failures but also impacted thousands of lives in ways I had only dreamed of when I started.
Where do you see yourself doing ten years from now? Ten years from now, I see myself using my knowledge and skills to scale my impact on the world. That could be joining a start-up, being a senior executive at a major corporation or NGO, or being part of the government.