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Currently studying a Master of Advanced Leadership Practice

Jo Burrell

Balancing a career with further study

Once you get settled in the corporate world it’s easy to see study as something firmly in your past. But how do you stay ahead and keep gaining relevant skills for a rapidly changing workplace? Is it possible to balance study with all your other commitments? Jo Burrell is a current Massey student who took the plunge and believes the juggle is worth it.

Q: Tell us a bit about your current work and commitments
A: I manage a medium-sized radiology practice in Hawke’s Bay. I waited until my three daughters were in their teens before looking to progress my career from frontline radiography and mammography. I value spending time with my family and friends and participating in sport, which was immediately challenged when I was awarded the responsibilities of maintaining the success of this medium-sized business.

Q: Why did you decide to study?

A: Maintaining my professional development was important to me during my frontline career in medical imaging. It made sense to me and I didn’t view study as an obstacle to my work.

Q: What have you been studying? And what attracted you to the programme?

I’ve recently completed Part A of the Master of Advanced Leadership Practice (MALP). What set this programme apart for me was the opportunity to learn from world experts and exercise learned skills. Practice environments were achieved by attendance of well-designed workshops facilitated by global business leaders. We were challenged, at times to our limits. The cohort were further challenged to habituate learnt behaviours by practicing these skills in the work environment. We had to provide proof and use reflective theory. From the first contact with Massey, I felt this course was something special and something I had to be a part of.

Q: How challenging has it been to manage study around your career?
A: Committing to a master’s programme is a significant commitment, especially when you work full time and have an active family that you need and want to continue to be a part of. For me, it was being very clear with my support network, what I wanted to achieve and why. Being organised, realistic and communicating with key support people at work and home helped me reach the end of Part A, with results reflective of the significant effort I put in.

Q: What has been the highlight of your study so far?
A: My level of self-confidence has surprised me. This confidence has proven to increase my team’s and senior management’s perception of my leadership capabilities and, in turn, has influenced better outcomes.

Q: Would you recommend to others studying while working full-time?
A: Yes, I would. I’ve been so impressed with my experience with MALP and the flexible way the programme is delivered to fit with a busy working life. This course will provide you with real responses to apply to real situations that occur in all organisations. The workshops, residentials and academic support and direction from Mike Fiszer and Ralph Bathurst (programme organisers) contribute to this authentically structured learning environment.

Q: Tell us a bit about the social enterprise project you undertook?
A: The social enterprise placement solidified the learnings from each workshop and proved that what we were being exposed to is, or was, becoming habituated. It also provided me with an unexpected outcome – confidence that I have skills that are transferable into other businesses.

Q: What is next for you?
A: I have always planned forward in transitional steps. The MALP has given me the foresight to recognise my strengths, passions and to identify all opportunities as they present themselves.

Find out more about post-graduate study with Massey University

Find out more about the Masters of Advanced Leadership Practice