Chris Hope wanted to scale his impact on the world after a semi-professional sporting career. He chose a Master of Business Administration at RMIT to change his career trajectory and challenge himself to get out of his comfort zone.
“I worked as a semi professional soccer referee, referring at the highest level in Victoria. I was the Victorian Soccer Referee of the year in 2017. My CEO at the Victoria Football Federation was studying an MBA around the same time that I had started to think about how I could scale my impact in sport," he said.
“I went to university Open Days and Master of Business Administration info sessions to find the MBA program that would give me a well-rounded experience, with the best learning principles and tools to make an impact. I want to work in a role that has significant social impact and tackle some of our world’s most difficult problems.”
Chris attended RMIT’s Open Day and liked the feel of the uni. He was struck by the scope to study a wide ranging variety of subjects to learn about business segments.
“I wanted to get out of my comfort zone. The MBA appealed to me for the ability to learn from different segments of business, like strategy, consulting, finance and marketing. They were all areas I hadn't touched on before and I wanted the ability to take snippets from all of those sections of the business world and apply it in my career.
“When I started I had no idea what to expect. I love meeting new people and making social connections and the MBA was really good for that. In those two years I had a big life transition and I’ve made some great friends. In the MBA there are fewer Australian students than there are international students, so I’ve met some awesome people from very different backgrounds.”
RMIT’s city location and flexible study options appealed to Chris, who knew he wanted to keep his options open to go from part-time to full-time study.
“The flexibility offered by RMIT is really good. I was working full time when I started the MBA so I studied part-time, then eventually transitioned to full-time. That was a positive of the program for me, being able to change my subjects and workload as needed. The RMIT city campus is a beautiful campus and it’s in a great location.”
Having a variety of global industry experience was a key part of Chris’s plan to get the most out of his time in the MBA.
“I used the MBA to open doors to a lot of experiences. I went on exchange to a conference on social innovation at the University of Cambridge. I did an internship at Pricewaterhouse Cooper in Manila and that was a fantastic experience to be able to work in South East Asia with a completely different culture and at one of the best firms to work for in the world, I learned a lot.
“Industry experiences are embedded at RMIT through Work Integrated Learning subjects. In Design Thinking we worked with the City of Melbourne on the issue of graffiti, we worked with a small marketing start-up about their marketing strategy, and as consultants designing a new customer experience strategy for international ice-cream franchisors.
“Working at the RMIT Strategy Office was a really good experience. It gave me exposure to different projects and opportunities to apply the theory I was learning. That was an MBA internship, I really found that RMIT was very supportive of students in helping them find work.”
Project managing UNICEF’s Cook for Syria in Melbourne, a project raising funds and awareness of UNICEF’s work in the region, was a highlight of 2019 for Chris.
“Cook for Syria raises fundraising and promotes advocacy in the region. We worked with Syrian community to put on a dinner, which was a great success. The event celebrated Syrian culture, discussed what’s happening in Syria, worked on empowering Syrian communities, shared Syrian games and poetry. I got to apply the Design Thinking theory from my studies from the start of planning the event and UNICEF were really happy with that.”
Recently graduated, Chris is looking forward to continuing his work with the 100 Coffees project he started during 2019. He says his advice to potential MBA students is to make every opportunity count.
“To get the most benefit out of the MBA it’s good to come from experience. For anyone considering postgraduate study it’s going to be of benefit to them. It opens doors and you meet interesting people.
“You have to have the right feeling about the university. The factors that made me choose RMIT were industry engagement, location, and the flexibility of the course. And I got a lot of global experience and opportunities to go overseas and study. When you’re doing an MBA you've got the time to do as much as you can and it's a great time to try new things.”
Acknowledgement of country
RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.