Ashleigh Connolly and her baby are studying Australia's best Executive MBA
Melbourne Business School's latest ranking win comes as no surprise to Ashleigh Connolly – or her six-month-old son Robbie.
Robbie was born shortly after Ashleigh completed the first module of her Executive MBA at Melbourne Business School, which was this week ranked number 58 in the world, and the best in Australia, by the Financial Times.
"I sat my first exam sitting on a pregnancy ball, bouncing up and down in the start of labour, and then the next day I went to the hospital and delivered him soon after," she says.
Part of the reason Ashleigh chose to study at Melbourne Business School was because of the flexibility it offered, with different MBA formats to suit students at different stages of their career and life.
Designed for people with at least five years experience in management, the Executive MBA is delivered in long-weekend modules where students stay at the school for four days – Thursday to Sunday – and study intensively about once a month for 18 months.
"Melbourne Business School offered the ability to study as well as continue working and raise a family through the way the degrees were structured," Ashleigh says.
"I think what was most special was the school saying to me after Robbie was born: 'Here are all the options if you're ready to come back next month. Here's how we'll support you.'
"There were so many options and flexibility."
After more than six years at NAB, Ashleigh is now Manager of Operations at redundancy fund manager Incolink. She wanted to study an MBA to be even more effective in her current role and make sure she was prepared for new challenges in the future.
"As I look at it, the business landscape is changing in an incredibly fast-paced way, and I need to have more foundational skills at a higher level to be able to lead organisations through the next 30 years," she says.
"For me, an MBA is about having options so that I can go out into the world and make an impact, whether that's through social or economic change. It's about getting the skills to be able to say 'I'm going to make people's lives better'."
The Executive MBA Ranking 2019 measured programs around the world on criteria including career outcomes, diversity and faculty research. Melbourne Business School was the only Australian school to feature in the global top 100, with graduates reporting a 55-per-cent increase in salary.
For Ashleigh and Robbie, it was the perfect fit.
"We chose the right school. Essentially, the school chose us, because it was the only one that gave me the options to do what I needed."