Melbourne Business School News An online leadership course left Komal Desai wanting more

An online leadership course left Komal Desai wanting more

Studying online helped equip Komal Desai with the skills to find her feet in a new role, think like a leader and begin her journey towards an MBA.

Komal had worked in diverse accounting, finance and business-partnering roles for almost a decade before enrolling in the online Leadership for New Leaders program. She then moved from Australian Unity Bank to ANZ and is now studying her MBA.

“The online Leadership for New Leaders program – that really ignited my zest for knowledge. I just found the whole experience so invaluable, I did not want to stop just there.

“I know people think accounting is very bland and boring,” the qualified chartered accountant says. “Yes, there are times when it can be. But then there are other opportunities where you can really be a people person and talk to people and drive results.”

Komal enrolled in the program to refine her skills and become a future-ready leader in a fast-transforming and dynamic industry.

Thinking like a leader

With a passion to “get behind the skin of the numbers”, Komal wanted to think like a leader when looking at what the numbers were saying.

“I think it's very important for emerging and current leaders to not just tap into their experience but also have a robust foundation of leadership frameworks. And that's exactly what this program gives you.”

Delivered online, the Leadership for New Leaders program allowed Komal to study in between the demands of her business-partner role at Australian Unity, where she was working when she started the program.

Komal Desai | Melbourne Business School

She describes the program as “an incredible five-week journey”, where the guest speakers were a highlight.

“Just because you're online doesn't mean that you're huddled up in the corner somewhere. These guest speakers were typically senior leaders and C-suite executives who were sharing their experiences and reflecting on their challenges from when they were a new leader.”

Working for a small bank meant Komal was part of a lean accounting and finance team, but such teams are now common across most organisations, she says. This shift gives mid-level managers the opportunity to work closely with senior stakeholders and makes having strong leadership skills very valuable.

“A lot of organisations are becoming leaner and flatter, and the pandemic more recently highlighted how the status quo is shifting and will likely continue to shift into the future.”

Komal is now a Finance Business Partner in the Institutional Banking division of ANZ, where she draws on her Leadership for New Leaders studies to help her stakeholders in the Australia and Papua New Guinea region make more-informed decisions.

“It's really fine-tuned my strategic thinking skills. Instead of just thinking as a traditional business partner, I'm actually thinking like an institutional leader,” she says.

“What do we need to make decisions? How could we do things differently? If I was leading this segment, what would I have done to get the results that we need to get to?”

The Leadership for New Leaders program also helped Komal become more self-aware.

“I'm very careful in terms of, now, how I am perceived, and how I show up as a leader, and how I can manage and influence that perception.”

Studying an MBA

Having enjoyed her online study experience so much, and long wanted to study an MBA, Komal is now a Part-time MBA student at Melbourne Business School.

“The peer group is amazing, extremely diverse experience. And all the professors, they're just so passionate about their respective fields, and that really shows when they are teaching us.”
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“The Part-time MBA program has been incredible actually. It goes beyond just the technical concepts of finance, marketing, strategy. There is an incredible amount of knowledge that you can amass from around you.”

“The peer group is amazing, extremely diverse experience. And all the professors, they're just so passionate about their respective fields, and that really shows when they are teaching us.”

“I think that is probably the reason why Melbourne Business School has the brand name, the ranking and the recognition that it does.”

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