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Study helps small business to scoop award


Zuleika Henderson
14 July 2008
Southern Cross University students and husband and wife team, Craig and Juliana Jefferies have won the Trade Services Award at the recent Business Excellence Awards (BEX Awards) at Tweed.

Craig and Juliana, who are studying a Masters in Business Administration and a Masters in Professional Accounting respectively, won the award for the exceptional service offered by their small business, Protectair, which cleans and maintains air conditioners to improve indoor air quality for domestic and commercial customers.

Craig said that juggling a family, a small business and study was a challenge, but he was glad he had made time for an academic education.

“The flexible study options at the University made the course possible for me and made a big difference to our business,” said Craig.

“I was able to use our company as a real life case study for the strategic planning and the marketing communications units.

“The academic learning and support has given us the theory behind the practical. We operate on good planning principles now, rather than just gut instinct or business creativity.”

The Jefferies are no strangers to entrepreneurship, with Craig having started a nightclub at 16, and the couple going on to set up and sell off five companies for profit since then.

Despite his years of accumulated practical business skills, Craig said the feedback he received from fellow postgraduate students was a considerable resource.

“Students come from all over the country to study this course and are representative of some of Australia’s largest companies.

“Being able to interact and discuss ideas with other individuals of such a high calibre was invaluable.”

Program coordinator for Southern Cross University’s Graduate College of Management at the Tweed Gold Coast campus Margot Alexander, said the benefits of postgraduate study were wide and varied.

“In the case of the MBA particularly, experience is as important as formal qualifications, and many of our students have never studied before,” said Ms Alexander.

“They frequently find they are able to apply their studies immediately to their working life, and knowing the theory behind the practical often gives them great confidence.

“The skills that these students learn can benefit not only them, but their staff, workplace and business enterprises.”