I decided to do a Global Executive MBA to consolidate the practical learnings of my 30-year career in corporate advisory, construction and software publishing, with a view to supporting my aspiration to build a portfolio of non-executive director board positions, as well as for the pleasure of deep learning and personal growth.
I chose to study at the University of Sydney Business School because of the strong recognition and history of the University of Sydney brand and also the flexibility of the executive model. Having considered and rejected the top-ranking MBA programs in the US and UK, principally on logistical considerations but also course content, for me it came down to a two-horse race between the University of Sydney GEMBA or the University of Melbourne EMBA.
I ultimately chose Sydney because of its focus on practical leadership tools for the digital age and also because I found the 5 x 2-week (including 6 weeks abroad) residential format less disruptive to family life.
One of the best features of the program is that it is locally based, with access to local resources in a "clicks n mortar" offering, whilst providing the opportunity of international, experiential learning at some of the world's best known educational institutions.
The smaller cohort size of approximately 20 students provides the opportunity of forming deeper bonds with fewer colleagues. Sydney's February commencement was also influential as some other programs don't commence until later in the year.
The Global Executive MBA has developed me as a leader by helping me to better understand my own personal and professional brand proposition. It's also equipped me with a playbook of practical tools that give me the confidence to know when to back my own judgment and when and where to seek help - whether from my team, from the wider University of Sydney community or beyond.
I was able to balance work, study and my personal life while undertaking the Global Executive MBA quite comfortably due to the practical 5 x 2-week intensive residential format, which lends itself readily to work-life balance. The modules were all largely contained to the 2 weeks spent in residence, so the impact on work outside of these periods was minimal.
The support of my employer and the understanding of my family was, of course, also critical, but I don’t think there was ever a time I was stressed enough (for example by a looming Reflective Essay deadline) to give either my family or my work colleagues genuine cause for complaint. My experience within the cohort generally, and also the module project teams, was highly positive.
The greatest accomplishment of my career to date has undoubtedly been Payapps.com, which I founded in 2011. From personal experience, to idea, to business plan validation, execution, individual failings and ultimately team success globally; persistence through challenges of competition, patent suits, cash crunches, funding rounds and board machinations; and, ultimately, life-changing wealth creation not only for myself but also key staff and investors, it has been one hell of a ride, of which I am enormously proud.
Enjoy the competitive nature of the project teams but free yourself from the fear of failure: focus on the learning rather than the results.
Lincoln is an entrepreneurial accountant with 30 years' multi-disciplinary experience in corporate advisory, investment banking, construction and software publishing.
He is the founder of Payapps.com, a software platform servicing the global construction payments industry with operations across ANZ, North America and the United Kingdom.