Like many CSU students, Kelly Hody was the first in her immediate family to complete university studies. Going straight to work following Year 12, it was not until her late twenties that Kelly chose to study a Bachelor of Business (Business Management) by distance education, moving on to complete her MBA immediately after.
Unable to attend her first graduation for personal reasons, the decision to go to her Masters graduation ceremony had a lasting impact on Kelly. Describing herself as a solitary learner, Kelly was unprepared for the sense of belonging and community she felt that day.
Here Kelly gives an insight into her distance education experience and why she is considering a third degree with CSU.
At school I was...a bit of a nerd, before nerds were cool!
My childhood was...typically Australian. I have fond memories of spending weekends and school holidays riding my bike around the neighbourhood with friends and hanging out at the beach.
I chose CSU...because back in 2004 when I was looking for a distance learning provider, there were fewer options available than there are now. I found that CSU was very responsive and answered all of my questions, while other institutions were less helpful. When I finished my first degree and decided to go straight into an MBA, I didn’t even consider another option.
My best experience at CSU... I didn't attend my first graduation for personal reasons, but I thought it would be nice to attend the ceremony for my second degree so my husband and I drove to Albury from Adelaide in December 2013. I've always been a solitary learner and although I found the forums and online resources incredibly useful, I didn't really form any lasting relationships with other students. So I was completely unprepared for the sense of belonging and community I experienced during my graduation ceremony. Although surrounded by strangers, I felt immensely proud of both my own achievements and those of my fellow graduands.
One of the wonderful things about distance learning...through CSU is the ability to engage with other students through the various forums. The peer to peer support was incredibly helpful, particularly during those stressful periods when multiple assessments were due and I was feeling overwhelmed. It was always nice to engage with other students going through the same experience.
At university I was inspired to...venture into areas outside my usual zones of interest. One of the wonderful things I discovered about writing essays is that researching can lead to some really interesting tangents. This really helped me to broaden my knowledge, but at the same time pinpointed what I was really passionate about. I started my studies in the area of marketing and then moved into management and my career has mirrored this progression.
I’m currently working...on trying to work less. After many years as a people and sales manager I’ve now moved away from the corporate world and have spent the last couple of years taking on short term contract roles and freelance consulting. I’m motivated by intrinsic factors such as the satisfaction of achieving objectives, developing a new skill or exceeding a target so working in short bursts across a broad range of industries is a challenge I really enjoy.
In my profession it is important to...recognise individual differences in the members of a team. A great leader seeks to understand and leverage people’s motivations as well as their strengths and weaknesses. I gain great satisfaction from helping others realise their potential and achieve great things for themselves, through applying an appropriate mix of leadership and management.
I never dreamed I would...end up with two degrees and be considering a third! I’d like to undertake a Doctor of Business Administration through CSU. I’ve had a break from study now and I’ve been surprised at how much I miss it. CSU was such a big part of my life for so long, it feels like there’s something absent from my life now. It’s not just the learning that I miss, but also the forum interactions, the wonderful feeling of anticipation at the beginning of each session and even the suspense of waiting for results to be released!
I’m most proud of... making the difficult decision to leave a well-paying and secure job several years ago to seek a new challenge and broaden my management experience. I’m proud of having the courage to step outside my comfort zone and follow my passion for leading people. Since then I’ve held many different roles in a broad range of industries. I’ve realised that it’s possible to have a very satisfying working life without being tied down to one role or one employer.
My greatest achievement...is successfully maintaining a healthy balance between work and play.
The best piece of advice I ever received...was something that Sir Richard Branson has spoken about. Apparently his mother taught him never to look back in regret but to move on to the next thing because a setback is never a bad experience, just another one of life’s lessons. This is a philosophy that really resonates with me.
The single-most important issue in the world...is sustainability and the balancing of economic development, social development and environmental protection.
The thing I wish I had done but never got around to...is learning another language. I completed a couple of years of basic Japanese at high school, but wish I had persevered with it.
One last thing...“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” (Mahatma Gandhi)