Shiv Mehta has always been passionate about wealth management and financial literacy. But when he decided to start his own fintech consultancy, he realised there was a lot he didn’t know about running a business.
"I reached out to my mentors in the financial services industry and they suggested I engage in some formal learning," Mehta says. "My options were to continue to work on my consultancy, hoping to learn on the go, or accelerate my education through an MBA."
After researching business schools in Sydney, Mehta decided to enrol in
AGSM @ UNSW Business School’s MBAX program in 2018. The MBAX is a unique part-time MBA that allows students to specialise in contemporary fields including social impact, technology, finance, change management and medical technology and pharmaceuticals.
"The MBAX at AGSM is one of the best online MBAs in the world. It gives you the flexibility to study while you work and choose between face-to-face and online modes," says Mehta. "It also gives you the opportunity to go on international exchange programs at top business schools like the New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business."
Thanks to the feedback and guidance from his professors, Mehta also found a perfect role on NAB’s wealth management arm few months into his MBA.
Setting up the foundations
While Mehta had developed strong skills in finance and wealth management through first-hand experience, he lacked knowledge around leadership, marketing, and business operations.
"The MBAX courses and advice from my professors gave me really good foundational skills in the areas I needed to develop and pushed me to put these new learnings into real-world practice," he says.
Developing an understanding of different frameworks and models for strategy and leadership has equipped Mehta with the skills to know how to apply the right framework to a business. And when it comes to leadership, the AGSM MBA helped Mehta build his confidence and realise that he didn’t necessarily need to be in a position of power to lead.
"Once I realised this, I started making leadership initiations in my role and that helped me get promoted twice in a matter of two years at NAB."
At NAB, Mehta is working for the wealth management arm’s digital advice capabilities. He has become the team’s internal business performance and strategy expert – a role he credits to MBAX.
"I’ve gone from knowing very little about marketing and business operations to overseeing the business performance and marketing strategy for the digital advice tools developed by our team."
Gaining technical skills and a global perspective
One of the biggest benefits of AGSM is its partnership with over 100 elite international business schools in Asia, Canada, Europe, UK and the USA. As a member of both the Partnership in International Management (PiM) and Global Network for Advanced Management (GNAM) networks, AGSM offers traditional and intensive international exchange opportunities for all its MBA students across the Full-Time and Part-Time MBA programs.
Mehta was eager to further develop the skills he learnt at AGSM and build upon his network in the financial capital of the world, New York city.
"Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University is the leading school for fintech. No other college can give me the kind of technical knowledge it offers within the topics of fintech," Mehta says. "The connections I made with professors and industry leaders has been priceless."
Over one semester at the prestigious business school, Mehta covered subjects including blockchain, digital currencies, future of finance, social media and mobile technology, and cyber security.
"While AGSM built my skills and understanding of marketing, strategy and leadership, Stern gave me the technical knowledge I needed to pursue my passion in the fintech industry. The combined education from both schools has broadened my mindset, increased the quality and size of my network, and provided the skills and confidence to create an impact in my area of expertise."
A new chapter
Studying in New York during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mehta says his time at Stern also inspired an unexpected career development.
"I decided to do research into the concept of money and how it has evolved through history as part of my future of finance coursework at NYU while I was stuck inside my apartment following the 23rd March New York City lockdown," he recalls.
"Witnessing the economic chaos created by COVID-19 in New York, especially among the small business community and lower income workers, I thought it would be a good idea to publish my research as a book – an idea that was supported by my classmates and Professor Ian D'Souza, Professor of Finance at NYU."
The soon to be released book at Amazon stores in both US and Australia, Protocols of Money, would not have been possible without the support of Mehta’s newfound NYU network.
"Once Professor D’Souza became involved, everything started accelerating – we had a book, a promotional plan and execution within a few months. It became a really good NYU student community project. The experience has been quite humbling and I’m incredibly grateful."
Mehta is now working on developing a media publishing company focused on financial education called Chapter One, but his goal goes beyond writing and publishing books.
"The idea is to build a purposeful brand. It’s not a money-making operation. It’s about building people’s financial awareness and literacy that also applies my recent learnings from both AGSM and NYU," he says.
Mehta also completed a Sports Economics course at Stern taught by Professor Simon Bowmaker that provided him with another unique viewpoint of the industry and its application. The economics of the business of sports in US works very differently to that of economics of other businesses, and Mehta has applied some of these principles to his media publishing company.
"The Sports Economics course has helped me develop the pricing structure for my book and identify my goals in how I was to steer the company. My MBAX has really assisted in formulating the plan for my new venture and has taught me how to manage people virtually – which is important as I now have teams in New York and the Philippines working on the brand and business operations."
The MBA for leaders
Back from New York and nearly at the end of his AGSM MBA, Mehta has become even more confident in pursuing his passions - with the backing of a solid foundation in leadership, marketing and business operations, and vital technical skills.
"The MBAX offers the unique flexibility for full-time working professionals to get a world-class MBA in Australia while having the luxury to take either online or face-to-face classes. The opportunity to attend an international exchange program at a top business school was also an invaluable experience."
"Enrolling in the program was one of the best professional decisions I have ever made. As long as you have the drive to become a leader, AGSM will provide you with an environment that accelerates your leadership skills irrespective of the stage of leadership you are in," says Mehta.
To learn more about AGSM @ UNSW Business School’s globally-ranked MBAX program,
To learn more about the different AGSM MBA International Exchange opportunities,