Business School Topics
Two years ago, UWA MBA graduate Matt Tomlins saw an opportunity to make the hiring process easier for both blue collar workers and for recruiters.
Tomlins, who was at the time working in management consulting, had witnessed first-hand the mining sector’s relatively slow adoption of technology.
Deciding to address the problem, Tomlins—together with his business partner, Jon Gwynne—launched CoverCard.
Now, CoverCard—which enables blue-collar employers and recruiters to streamline the short-listing process and manage multiple licences—has become one of just 25 start-ups from around the world selected to take part in Advance Queensland’s HotDesQ initiative.
Tomlins will receive a monetary grant as well as a free co-working space at River City Labs, the largest tech start-up hub in Brisbane.
Key to his success, Tomlins says, was the Master of Business Administration he completed at the UWA Business School in 2013.
“The toughest part of launching a start-up is the wide breadth of skills you need to have to get the business off the ground, let alone make it successful. You need to know a bit about many different things, and be self-aware enough to know when you have to get help,” Tomlins said.
“The range of business related skills required is comprehensive: strategy, leadership, business planning, marketing (traditional and digital), accounting, finance, sales, basic legal, contract management, recruitment, building strong relationships… the list goes on!
“My MBA gave me a great general grounding in many of the core business skills. The common stereotype of young university dropouts starting world-changing tech businesses from their garage does exist, but it is rare. The failure rate of start-ups is 90% plus, so picking up a wide range of business skills can help mitigate the risk.”
While Tomlins particularly remembers classes in negotiation and organisational change and transformation, he says the networks he built during his MBA studies were equally important.
“I made a lot of great contacts and networks through my MBA. My first job after graduating came about after doing a group assignment with a fellow student, who happened to be the owner of a management consulting firm. I’ve also been able to call on some of my MBA network for expertise and contacts to help get CoverCard off the ground,” Tomlins said.
“I’ve learnt a lot working in the start-up space. Longer term, I think there’s great opportunity to help bridge the gap between bigger corporates and young start-ups, as I’ve now seen both sides of the fence.”
Verity Chia (UWA Business School) (+61 8) 6488 1346