Workplace projects: Exploring new ground

Ailsa Doyle

Ailsa Doyle reflects on the opportunity that her workplace project presented.

Like many students nearing the end of their MBA journey, Ailsa Doyle wanted to explore new ground,  extract as much value from the program as possible and further differentiate her skills and experience. Consequently, she chose to undertake a project outside of her workplace that aligned with her interests and desire to make a difference. After approaching a number of Brisbane-based charities, Boystown (now Yourtown) proposed a research project into social benefit bonds.

This is Ailsa’s reflection.

Social benefit bonds are an innovative new funding model which enables private investment into social programs for a performance-based return.  Boystown were interested in learning more about this funding model, to determine if it was a suitable fit for their organisation, and evaluate the readiness of the organisation to adopt such a funding mechanism.

Performing this research gave me a view into a sector completely different to that of for-profit industries.  It gave me an awareness of the challenges that the not-for-profit sector faces, particularly in funding much needed social programs.  The internal evaluation of Boystown introduced me to a dynamic, forward-thinking organisation, driven by its mission to improve the lives of young people. 

At the completion of the project, the research and findings were presented to Boystown’s CEO, and I was also invited to present to the Board at their regular meeting.  This presentation brought forward questions and provoked discussion amongst the members which, along with the final report, has hopefully set the path for the decision-making process with regards to adoption of social benefit bonds.  Boystown have expressed that the Workplace Project was a positive experience for them and that it delivered something of value to the organisation.

As I personally experienced, the Workplace Project presents an opportunity to not just apply learnings from the MBA course, but also to expand the learning experience by gaining exposure to different industries and the issues they face, and to provide a valuable benefit to the sponsoring organisation.

Ailsa’s experience, like that of many others, illustrates the uniqueness of the opportunity that the integrated workplace project presents. Whether it is a chance to engage more deeply with your existing organisation, contribute strategic value to another or pursue personal or career development, the workplace project is tailor-made to your goals and aspirations.

For more information about workplace projects contact Dr John Bensley on john.bensley@qut.edu.au

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