The Sunday Times, Sunday, 5 January 2014
By Mervin Tay

HE MAY only be about five months into the Master in Organisational Leadership programme, but the topics are so relevant to Mr Joshua Lynch’s job he can already apply them at work.

The 31-year-old Australian, who is an associate director at SingTel’s Centre of Operational Excellence, has been in the programme since July.

Run by Kaplan Higher Education Institute and awarded by Monash University, the 18-month programme is designed for mid-career professionals in leadership and managerial roles, and each intake is limited to around 12 to 15 students.

Tuition fees are $33,510 payable in six instalments, and applicants must hold an approved three-year bachelor’s degree in a relevant field with a credit average in the final year, or equivalent qualifications or experience.

Mr Lynch, who is from Melbourne, chose this programme because of the modules’ relevance to his job and career aspirations.

“As a Melburnian, I also know Monash University is a highly respected and world-renowned educational institution,” he says.

At work, Mr Lynch leads a team of six staff to achieve operational excellence and tangible business benefits. He is also an adviser and partner of the Consumer Singapore Business Unit, where he helps to resolve complex, cross-functional business problems.

“The programme is very relevant to my career, as I’ve already studied topics which I’ve applied directly to my work, such as creating a three-year business plan,” says Mr Lynch.

He is also learning about topics of interest to him, such as corporate social responsibility as well as the power and influence of social media.

“I feel the programme will allow me to expand upon my experience, increase my knowledge of certain topics and provide me with the skills to perform more effectively,” he says.

The programme structure also suits his needs and busy lifestyle. Courses are delivered entirely by faculty members from Monash University who conduct four to five days of block lectures.

Each module is delivered independently over three months, and classes are generally held in the evenings or over weekends and public holidays.

“Having one week of intense lectures allows me to plan more effectively, rather than attending weekly lectures, where there may occasionally be conflicts with work commitments,” he says.

“Face-to-face interaction with the lecturers has also made a difference to the overall learning experience.”

However, he still had to try and balance his work and academic commitments.

“The biggest challenge was getting into a routine of revision outside of work hours,” he says.

“It’s hard to motivate yourself to do more work after a long day at the office.”

But he found the programme well-paced, and with some planning, was able to cope well.

“The key to managing is to set aside time on a regular basis for academic work and avoid leaving things to the last minute,” he says. “It also helps to choose subjects of interest to study or research on, as this makes the learning experience a lot more enjoyable!”

Mr Lynch also greatly appreciates the support and encouragement given by his manager and team members.

“My biggest concern was ensuring the potential workload of the programme did not become too much that it detrimentally impacted my wellbeing or performance at work.

But so far, I’ve been able to balance my work, studies and personal life quite harmoniously.

“My employers also appreciate the new skills and knowledge I will be obtaining to help me with my continued development and career progression.”

Besides specific knowledge gained through various courses, which are delivered in a seminar or workshop format, Mr Lynch also improved upon skills like research, analysis and planning.

“I’ve already been able to leverage upon some of the topics I’ve studied and use my findings to support improvement and changes within my own organisation,” he says.

“This makes it mutually beneficial for my employer and my own personal accomplishment.”


Source: The Sunday Times, 5 January 2014 © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.