How a dream scholarship helped Junjie Crisante study an MBA in Melbourne
Junjie Crisante's world opened up when he won a scholarship to study overseas – then he made it even bigger by choosing an MBA in Melbourne.
Junjie is a recipient of the Asian Development Bank/Japan Scholarship Program, which each year provides assistance to 150 aspirational professionals from developing Asian nations to undertake postgraduate study at a participating school or university.
The scholarships cover full tuition fees, housing, learning materials, medical insurance and travel, as well as a monthly expense allowance to help scholars make the most of their time abroad.
"The scholarship helped me launch my career and take paths I would never have thought of exploring prior to the MBA," says Junjie, who now works at the National Economic and Development Authority in the Philippines.
"It gave me the necessary financial resources to gain a global perspective on business and management, and it helped me develop for an international level."
Junjie used his scholarship to study a Full-time MBA at Melbourne Business School after a careful review of the options.
"When I was weighing up where to study, I was looking for a top-ranked international MBA program other than the popular US programs and one closely linked with the Asian business landscape," he says.
"I initially thought of Singapore, but then when I looked at Melbourne Business School I could see that it offered a good mix of a Western framework with Asia-Pacific contexts, which was what I was looking for in an MBA."
On the MBA program, Junjie discovered how to enhance his business capabilities as well as getting first-hand exposure to the challenges faced by organisations across the Asia-Pacific.
"I am so grateful that the scholarship even supported the arrangements required for the day-to-day as well as the extracurricular activities at Melbourne Business School, like the Business in Asia class trip," he says.
"It exposed me to the business culture and operation environments in Shanghai and Singapore."
Junjie was able to develop technical and problem-solving skills in strategy development, people management and marketing.
"It was life-changing for me. Studying the Full-time MBA taught me how to relate and work with people from different cultural and working backgrounds. There was just so much to learn and unlearn for me," Junjie says.
"It was a very personal experience for me. It made me more appreciative of my strengths, more confident in taking risks, and bolder in terms of navigating and making decisions in uncertain environments."
Not all of Junjie's lessons came from inside the classroom, as learning to socialise and network with other students after-hours provided its own journey.
"I spent a lot of time with my cohort teammates working on various business cases and enjoying after-class activities organised by the School and the student clubs," he says.
"I remember I was a bit hesitant with the networking parts because it didn’t come so naturally for me, but post-MBA I realised those situations worked to my advantage because in the real-world success largely depends on our ability to build relationships."
After he graduated, Junjie landed as a management consultant for Kennemer Foods – a cacao company in the Philippines – before leaving to join a local government body.
"I’m now engaged with the National Economic and Development Authority, the Philippine government’s premier development planning organisation, where I work as a Senior Economic Development Specialist," he says.
In reminiscing about his time in Australia, Junjie says he enjoyed every minute of it.
"There’s just so much to like about Australia. I enjoyed the very conducive learning environment, the cultural diversity, the landscapes, the food, wine and the openness to new ideas," he says.
"So, when people hear I got my international MBA training for free, I tell them to define how studying can serve their own career interests and once they're clear with that, they too can make a good case for studying in Australia."