Matthew Lancaster is helping to support more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students pursue higher education.
Matthew Lancaster is the National Relationship Manager, Indigenous Strategies at Indigenous Accountants Australia, a joint initiative of the Chartered Accountants of Australia and New Zealand and CPA Australia.
Matthew is a proud Palawa, a Tasmanian Aboriginal man with cultural ties with the Bunurong people. He aspires to be a global leader in diversity, inclusion and belonging, “helping to build a future that is no longer you or me, but us.” He is the inaugural recipient of the AGSM Indigenous Leaders Scholarship – Commencing Students and recently started the AGSM MBAX, specialising in Change.
AGSM spoke to Matthew about his experience so far and how an MBA will help him achieve his ambition to be a global leader in diversity.
Tell us about your current role?
My role is to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students already committed to studying accounting and business, and to promote accounting as a professional career path for Indigenous Australians. There is only a very small number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who are professional accountants (around 70) out of the approximately 200,000 professional Accountants in Australia. For me, readdressing this under-representation is critical to empowering Indigenous success.
Why did you choose to study your MBA online?
I chose to study the AGSM MBAX because of the flexibility and accessibility the program offers. I can learn anywhere at any time to suit my circumstances. As part of my job, I have to travel a lot and this format means I can still commit 100% to my studies without impacting learning ability.
What do you hope to achieve from studying an MBA?
I’m fascinated with understanding and solving real-world business challenges. I want to gain the skills to broaden my mindset around social impact, diversity and inclusion, strategy and change to deal with complex situations. My hope is to achieve the ability to sharpen my creative thinking, inspire creative endeavours and hone my skills to look beyond my current role and see how leaders and organisations operate as a whole.
You completed the AGSM Emerging Indigenous Executive Leadership Program (EIELP) in 2019. How did the program influence your decision to complete an AGSM MBA?
“Life altering” would be the best way to describe my experience of EIELP. The leadership and cultural immersion I experienced carried an unexpected but important lesson for me - to expand on my concept of “Walking in Two Worlds” and look closer at the integration of Western and Indigenous Leadership practices in business.
The experience opened my mind to new ways of thinking and different ways to approach problems and challenges. I believe there is always something more to learn, which encouraged me to do an MBA with AGSM as my lifelong learning partner, and as AGSM always says, to “#Always Be Learning”.
Did you speak to any AGSM Alumni or current students about the program before you enrolled?
Mid 2019, I spoke with Shawn Andrews who is a current AGSM MBA (Executive) student and inaugural recipient of the
AGSM Indigenous Leaders Scholarship – Current Students. It was good to connect with someone who is from a similar background and culture.
Talking to Shawn about his perspective on how he has applied the learning from his MBA instantly to his job and personal life helped me with my decision to study an MBA at AGSM.
You are also a recipient of the AGSM Indigenous Leaders Scholarship – Commencing Students. What did receiving this scholarship mean to you?
Receiving this scholarship has boosted my self-confidence and is recognition of all my hard work so far. AGSM’s investment in my education is very humbling, and I am even more driven to ensure I create a fully rewarding educational experience for myself, bringing me closer to achieving my career goal - supporting more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as they too pursue higher education.
How will your MBA help you to achieve this goal?
I believe the AGSM MBAX will provide me with the skills and opportunities to become a global leader in diversity, inclusion and belonging, helping to build a future that is no longer you or me, but us. Completing my MBA with a global business school will aid in my growth and understanding of diverse perspectives on social and business issues, while collaborating with students whose background, experience and career goals differ from my own.
Do you have any advice for future students wanting to study an MBA and why they should choose AGSM?
Studying an MBA is a fantastic opportunity to learn at a whole new level. I have already seen a change in my personal and professional lifestyle. The MBA will challenge your thinking and build on your existing knowledge so you can make real difference in this dynamic and disruptive world we live in.
AGSM makes you feel supported every step of your MBA journey and the interaction with the faculty is always insightful. The staff and students here make the every learning experience worthwhile, and for this I say Nayri nina-tu (Thank you).
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