25 July 2019
Brisbane business owner Natasha Leak was surprised to find she could study her ideal course part-time at a University of the Sunshine Coast campus in the middle of the city.
The owner of Chermside’s Whitehill Services said, after considering larger campuses, she found the smaller USC SouthBank campus to be a warm and welcoming environment for her to study towards her Graduate Certificate of Business Administration.
“I got off the bus and walked about five minutes to the USC campus next to the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. I think of it as a little hidden gem because I don’t think many people realise it’s there,” said Ms Leak.
“Everyone there was really inviting and easy to talk to and the support they provided really worked for me as a business owner.”
Whitehill Services offers business coaching, planning and soft skills training, and while Ms Leak said while she had the experience and instinct, she wanted to solidify her skills in theory and learn how better communicate her knowledge to others.
“I have the industry experience and I understand how it all works but sitting in a class myself means I now know how to explain it better to people. I’m also able to use academic research to back up the advice I am giving to my clients,” she said.
But it took guts to take the first step to university, particularly when she had only recently quit her job and moved house.
“I had never been to university before so the idea of going in to study was initially petrifying,” she said.
“I basically had to ring a bunch of people to ask, ‘do you think I can do this?’ because I wasn’t sure I could. Then I took a course at SouthBank last year and I learned how to reference and use the university library.
“I found the lecturers really supportive, they know who I am and the relationship I have with them is more than just a name and a number.”
The Graduate Certificate is the first third of a full Master of Business Administration, which she will be able to complete when she is ready.
“They say micro-credentialing is the way of the future and this is a way for me to run a business while I study in bite-sized chunks,” she said.
“It’s also building on my core skills as a business owner so it’s allowing me to provide a greater level of service as I build my qualifications.”