Ashley Tuck

Ashley Tuck

Ashley Tuck

  • Degree type: MBA
  • Degree: Monash Executive MBA
  • Current position: Principal Engineer, QinetiQ Australia

What is your previous education and work background?

Before starting the Executive MBA, I had completed a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering and a Bachelor of Aerospace Technology at Monash University. I have since been working as an engineering consultant in the field of airworthiness assurance. Initially, my career was quite technically focused, but as I have progressed through my career I have moved into project management and team leadership roles.

Why did you decide to study embark on an Executive MBA?

As I transitioned away from technically oriented roles into project and people management roles, I began to realise that I needed broader business and management skills. I considered pursuing business training for a number of years, but never had the gumption to do anything about it. However, when I found a role I was really interested in and the job ad specified  'MBA qualifications preferred,' - that was the trigger that prompted me to do something about it.

Why did you choose the Monash Executive MBA Program?

I chose the Monash MBA because I wanted an in-person, classroom-based  MBA that involved real world interactions rather than just online modules. I also wanted my qualification to come from a well-recognised institution with genuine credibility. The split between night classes and weekend intensive subjects suited my schedule with a young family at home, and, on a practical level, Monash's location in Caulfield was better suited for me rather than having to trek into the city for classes.

How has your MBA qualification changed your career trajectory?

The further up the corporate ladder I climb, the greater the breadth of knowledge that I'll need.  The Executive MBA has transformed me from having strong but very specific technical skills to someone with both deep technical skills and an appreciation of all of the other facets that make business work. The Executive MBA has given me transferrable skills that I can apply to a wider variety of roles.

What was the most rewarding aspect of your Monash Executive MBA?

The corporate project was a great opportunity to apply the theory and skills I learned in the classroom at a practical level. The biggest challenge I faced with the corporate project was changing my thinking from trying to figure out the 'right' answer, to becoming the person that asks the 'right' questions. The corporate project was a great excuse to step into my CEO's office with an idea for a project that would deliver value to the organisation, and then spend the next couple of months delivering this project, all the while promoting my own brand at the highest level within the organisation.

What networking opportunities have your studies provided you with? Have you been able to use these new connections in your professional or personal life?
The seminar series that runs as part of the Leadership and Professional Development program has been an excellent opportunity to connect with current and former Monash MBA students and meet with business leaders with insightful stories to tell.

What were the most important outcomes from your MBA studies?

The Executive MBA has taught me the language of business and provided that basic understanding required to mix with every department in the company.  I'll never be (at least I don't plan to be) in accounting, marketing or HR, but the program has given me a level of credibility in my interactions with each of these departments and the ability to better understand the issues from their perspective.

What areas or subjects of study did you enjoy the most, or find the most challenging?

The business strategy and negotiation units were the two I enjoyed the most. They forced me to think differently to how I normally would, and to consider things from a wider perspective; a refreshing opportunity that we don't get too often in life.  With an engineering brain, I found the logical and numerical units in statistics and finance came naturally to me, while the softer skills such as managing people, were more of a stretch.

How did you balance your studies with work, family and other commitments?

One of the things completing the Executive MBA has taught me (through necessity) was how to be efficient.  Balancing MBA studies and family life will always be a challenge. I found ways to get more out of every day: time spent on the train doubles as reading time, and time after the children went to bed became study time. There was still time for relaxation and TV, but I was forced to be disciplined in avoiding the mindless content.

What advice would you provide to future students who are considering studying this course?

The best time to start your MBA is  always last year!  Putting it off until later doesn't make it any easier, just go for it.