MBA Profile - Katea Downie, Foster’s Group, HR director, Carlton & United Breweries

by 13 Oct 2009

When and where did you do your MBA?

I commenced my MBA at Monash Uni versity in July 2007.

Part-time or full-time?

I took a six-month career break and commenced my MBA full-time to both gain some momentum and re-establish my studying skill set. I have continued the MBA part-time while working and have completed 13 of the 16 units. I will finish the program in June 2010.

Why an MBA?

As a senior HR executive and member of the leadership team at both my cur rent and previous organisations (I was GM HR for Colonial First State Property Management prior to commencing my MBA), I wanted to improve my com mercial skill set. As my career has pro gressed through tactical to senior HR roles, I found myself working increas ingly outside of my functional area and focussing on business and commercial strategy. I consequently wanted to develop broader business and financial skills to effectively meet this requirement.

How did the MBA help your career as a HR professional?

It has made me more effective in my role on the CUB leadership team. Hav ing a stronger understanding of com mercial concepts, better analytical capability and a broader financial lan guage has allowed me to contribute to the strategic agenda outside of my func tional discipline. Having an MBA is also a point of difference as an HR practi tioner and was certainly beneficial in helping me secure my current role.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about pursuing a mas ters/postgrad/MBA?

Embark on the program when you have the personal and professional capacity to undertake the significant workload required of an MBA student. The course requires extensive reading, group work and assignment and exam preparation, so it is critical that these commitments can be met to extract full value from the course.

What was the greatest challenge you encountered while carrying out your study for the MBA?

The greatest challenge undoubtedly has been juggling study commitments with those of my family (I have three children) and career. Being able to commence the program full time proved highly advantageous in that it allowed me to develop an under standing of the Monash system, adjust to becoming a student again and complete some of the more chal lenging subjects without managing competing work demands.

Any other comments?

The MBA provides a fantastic oppor tunity to network with other students from different industries, professions and countries. Immersing myself into the MBA student community has been highly beneficial and has enriched the MBA experience. Not only have I learnt extensively from working with other students, but I have broadened my pro fessional network.