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MBA student profile: Anna Yanatchkova

21 October 2020
Written by Anna Yanatchkova
Anna Yanatchkova, current MBA student and Government Relations Manager at the Sydney Opera House, shares how the MBA has impacted her life, both personally and professionally

I started my MBA three years ago, and as I commence my final subject, the Capstone unit, I have been able to reflect on my love for the program and how it has impacted my life, personally and professionally. Here are my top three highlights of the part-time MBA:

1. The value of an MBA that aligns with my ethos

Image of Anna Yanatchkova

Anna Yanatchkova, part-time MBA student

© Anna Kucera

In my application for the MBA I wrote, “I am looking for a degree that will transform and deepen the way I view things. A degree that is immersive, experiential and creative. Teachers and classmates who challenge my thinking. I want to be invigorated.”

In my three years at the University of Sydney Business School, I have rowed for the first time, performed  improv, debated topics passionately with teammates who have an entirely different view to the world as me, and developed practical solutions for organisations’ challenges. By being open to the creative and immersive philosophy of the degree, the MBA has opened up my world, and has shifted the way I perceive, process, and analyse situations, both professionally and personally.

2. Owning my leadership style

Coming into the MBA, I had the preconception of a leader as having a dominant, assertive, type A personality, as these are the people I continually saw succeed in senior leadership roles. I thought of my emotional intelligence, introversion and collaborative nature as weaknesses that were holding me back in my career and planned to use this degree to change my ‘soft’ style.

On the first day of class I wrote in my journal, “How is your view of what leadership is affecting how you see your own behaviour?”. The MBA has transformed how I think about leadership, and even more importantly, how I see myself. Today, my motto is “be brave with vulnerability” and I proudly lead through my greatest strengths - warmth, compassion and authenticity.

Three years later, as I reflected in COVID-19 times on leadership qualities that bring people together during difficult times, I wrote in my MBA journal, ‘It turns out the type of leader I want to be is the same as the type of person I want to be.

3. Driving positive change in my organisation

Having benefitted from a culturally diverse upbringing, I am passionate about the deeply meaningful and transformative roles that art and culture play in our community – it inspires change and creates a sense of belonging. One of the reasons I decided to do an MBA was because I wanted to use the business skills to add value to my organisation in the arts industry.

The MBA's commitment to embedding the themes of social and environmental sustainability throughout the degree has meant that I have had the opportunity to engage with these topics from a wide range of business perspectives, from finance and data, to creativity in business and organisational management. 

As I near the end of my degree, I am now leading the development of the Opera House’s first Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging strategy, and I am the chair of the organisation’s UN Global Goals and Reconciliation Action Plan Working Groups. Every day I’ve been able to use the technical and leadership skills I’ve gained through the MBA to add value in my workplace, and because of this, I have been able to champion the deepening of the Opera House’s commitment to social sustainability.

The MBA has given me the expertise to fulfil my goal of driving positive social change through purpose-driven business.


Whether you’re looking to advance your career, develop your skillset, change roles or industries, or pursue a personal passion, an MBA can open doors to a world of opportunity. Explore our MBA programs.

The MBA has given me the expertise to fulfil my goal of driving positive social change through purpose-driven business.
Anna Yanatchkova

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