I began my professional career in Customs (now Australian Customs and Border Protection) in the nineties. It was an era of change for the public sector - graduates were being actively engaged, computers appeared on everyone's desk and the way in which we did business was changed forever.
Protecting our borders from illicit drugs and prohibited imports, facilitating trade and assisting the community were truly rewarding factors that saw me remain in the organisation for 13 years, all the while climbing the management ladder. But it was the corporate ladder that would allow me to really influence strategic thinking in the public sector.
It is in this context that one cold Monday morning as I walked to my 3.30am shift at the airport I decided that the MBA at MBS was what I needed.
I was awarded a full CEO scholarship by Customs to complete the MBA with 'no strings attached'.
To say I was in the minority in the 1997 class with an arts undergraduate degree and a public sector background, however, is an understatement.
But it didn't take long to establish a fundamental fact - that all facets of the MBA program applied equally to public sector as they did to private.
Upon graduating I returned to Customs, delivered a national program for export integrity, two national surveys aligned to the Australian Business Excellence Framework and two babies!
But it was my executive appointment in the Australian Taxation Office that really crystallised the benefits of the MBA.
Commencing in GST, I led a senior team of auditors in a large corporate compliance program, working with the large corporates we had often mused over as students in syndicate groups. I drove a review of the large corporate compliance program with Deloitte, initiated a project management office, implemented a new operating model and established a risk management program.
More recently I have played a lead role in the distribution of $7.8 billion to 8.8 million Australians as part of the government's response to the GFC.
It is no accident that roles since completing the MBA have been high profile and important in achieving government policy.
The skills, experience and networks that the MBA enabled provided a basis for distinguishing myself in public sector management.
I have provided consultancy services internally, driven process re-engineering and led significant change initiatives.
Externally I have been an ambassador for Australia with visiting delegations and I have delivered a significant consultancy in Asia as part of the IMF's program of assisting developing countries.
The MBA changed my life in more ways than one. Personally I realised my potential; professionally I set the trajectory for a challenging, dynamic and extremely rewarding career.
To discuss Jennifer's article, you can email her at: Jennifer.Moltisanti@ato.gov.au