Engineering Asia Pacific

Perth Project Engineer Looks Beyond Mining Industry

Written by Seb Murray | Engineering Asia Pacific | Thursday 10th September 2015 13:07:00 GMT

Jack Sedgwick has had a long and prosperous career in the engineering sector

Jack Sedgwick has worked in marine, civil, and structural engineering roles

Jack Sedgwick has worked in marine, civil, and structural engineering roles

Jack Sedgwick has had a long and prosperous career in the engineering sector.

Currently a project engineer with Dampier Salt, a mining and metals group in Perth, he has worked across resource-rich Australia, including stints with Jacobs, one of the world’s largest construction firms, in marine, civil, and structural engineering roles.

But the global commodities rout that threatens to dampen career opportunity in the mining sector means Jack wants to diversify. An MBA degree at UWA Business School is his way of transitioning from engineering consultancy to management consulting work. By taking online units, he is able to maintain a full-time job and up-skill on the side.

What are you hoping to gain from an MBA?

Mining companies have responded to the high costs associated with labour and compliance, falling commodity prices and volatile global economic conditions by deferring expansion projects.

Recognising this transition, from a construction phase to an operational phase, and the resultant decrease in demand for engineering services, I hope to gain a set of technical and soft skills to transition from engineering consultancy to management consulting.

What made UWA Business School stand out?

Management consultants help businesses improve their performance and grow by continually examining their cost and policy drivers in a bid to improve their efficiency and take advantage of market opportunities. The UWA MBA program provides a holistic perspective of the business world that develops a suite of skills tailored to this profession.

I was initially attracted to the delivery of units in a variety of modes including weekly face-to-face evening classes, block intensive classes and online units, given the remote posting of my project engineering role in the Pilbara.

You have a strong engineering background. Was the MBA challenging, and what skills have been transferable?

The UWA program attracts candidates with strong technical skills primarily from the energy and resource sector. I’ve found the biggest challenge of the MBA program is throwing yourself into external programs that develop your soft skills and promote networking opportunities outside of your current field.

The technical and analytical skills developed completing a bachelor of engineering and commerce at UWA, coupled with six years’ industry experience, have been invaluable for the core units of the program.

You studied the MBA with some online units. Has it been a challenge maintaining a full-time job?

There was an initial challenge driven by the adjustment to study after a six year absence from an academic environment. However, the online delivery of select units at UWA is exceptional.

The level of engagement created by the structured delivery of coursework fosters a rich learning environment and permits time management flexibility not afforded by the face-to-face delivery of unit material. This online delivery mitigates most challenges thrown up by full-time employment.

How do you ensure that you don't miss out on interaction with both professors and students?

Whether you’re taking an intensive, online or face-to-face unit, lecturers are readily available and lead discussions on Blackboard — UWA’s online learning management system.

Meeting and interacting with other MBA candidates has been easy since joining the UWA MBA Toastmasters Club, [which helps members to advance their public speaking and leadership skills], and turned networking into establishing friendships.

Sessions are run weekly, with people starting out by sharing their personal story and completing prescribed speeches.

There are limitless opportunities going forward to interact and network with other MBA students.

What are your career goals?

I aim to be working with one of the big consulting firms and establish myself within the organization as a senior consultant and reliable team player. Mining big data and converting this information into actionable intelligence is a specific field within consulting I hope to gain rapid exposure to.

Ultimately, my objective is to work on a diverse array of engagements that places me on an accelerated learning curve towards developing truly effective business strategy for clients.

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