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MBA student profile: Nicole Thibodeau

29 July 2019
Written by Nicole Thibodeau
MBA student and previous Future Leaders Scholarship recipient Nicole Thibodeau talks about her experiences with the University of Sydney Business School MBA program.
Nicole Thibodeau, MBA student and Future Leaders Scholarship recipient

People are often surprised to learn that I am studying an MBA. They don’t understand why a nurse would need to know about business. The fact is, 'business' is not limited to corporations and CEOs. We engage with elements of this field every day, both in and out of work. It goes beyond numbers and spreadsheets, to our social awareness, use of technology, reaction to environment, creativity, critical thinking and decision-making skills. 

These are some of the takeaways I have had so far in my MBA journey.

Diversity and collaboration amplify learning

The program highlights this broad nature of business through its course structure, but learning is amplified by student diversity. Since my first unit, I have studied alongside some truly amazing people. My peers include diplomats, entrepreneurs, computer programmers, lawyers, marketers, doctors, construction managers, pharmacists and bankers (to name a few). This diversity fosters intriguing classroom discussion (with no shortage of laughter), and collaborating in small groups to solve problems provides a powerful learning experience.

Prior to commencing the MBA, I heard a lot of buzz around the program’s pride in its cohort diversity. I can now confirm that this buzz is real, and cannot be overstated. My professional network has grown considerably, and I have built strong relationships with people that I can now call upon for advice. Having access to the knowledge and opinions of my esteemed peer group is invaluable.  

Staff are committed to student success

Beyond the support from peers, is the support of the university staff. Everyone involved in the program is genuinely committed to their students’ success both in and out of class. Emails and calls are answered promptly, staff will happily meet with students impromptu, and the Sydney CBD campus always feels warm and welcoming. Perhaps this is due to the limited cohort size, where you are not just a number, but really part of the MBA family.

No doubt, the thought of spending the weekend at uni may be unpleasant, but in all honesty, time passes quickly and you often leave feeling inspired. Teaching modalities are varied, including guest lecturers, group exercises, simulations, creative challenges, and lively debates. 

Good leaders are authentic

I reflect on something which really resonated from our first unit: Good leaders are authentic. It has been my experience that this program not only teaches, but promotes authenticity. By imparting the broad foundations of business and encouraging diversity (in project topics, class discussions and extra-curricular opportunities), the program has supported me to steer my own learning experience. Instead of being placed in a traditional business school 'box', I can learn and grow, while remaining true to my personal goals.


Applications are now open for the Future Leaders MBA Scholarship. Apply online by 16 September 2019.