2023 Best & Brightest Executive MBA: Ryan Ebert, Cambridge Judge

Ryan Ebert

Cambridge Judge Business School

Age: 32

“An energetic hard-working adventurer driven to build & grow businesses that have a positive impact.”

Hometown: Melbourne, Australia

Family Members: My Wife, Blair (Puppy), Mother and 2 siblings (Brother, 29 & Sister, 23)

Fun fact about yourself:  As someone with a fear of heights, I decided to celebrate presenting at my first international conference by jumping the world’s tallest bungee jump.

Undergraduate School and Degree: (Bachelor of Science (1st Class Honours) – Curtin University, WA, Australia

Where are you currently working?

Chief Commercial Officer, Physitrack – Global operations

Co-founder & Director – Health 2 You & Innings

Digital home healthcare businesses supporting people to live in their own homes, on their own terms and not move into aged/residential care homes.

Extracurricular Activities, Community Work and Leadership Roles:

Top 10 Young Australian Business Leaders

Top 30 under 30 Entrepreneurs of Australia

Cambridge ½ Blue & Hawks Clubs member

Delivering Agility with Change & Team of the Year, BUPA

Top 20 Rising stars of Higher Education in Australia

CEO of a top 100 Coolest companies in Australia to work for

HESTA Healthcare Awards Australia Finalist

Top 20 Rising stars of Higher Education in Australia

Award for Excellence (Outstanding Contribution), Curtin University

Curtin University Young Alumni Medal – Finalist

Australian Defence Force Long Tan Leadership and Teamwork Award

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? While there are certainly some more academic focused-activities I did during my time at business school, for me, playing in the 103rd Varsity Cambridge vs. Oxford AFL (Australian Rules Football) game is what I am most proud of. To get involved in a university sport was more rewarding than I could have thought during my Executive MBA – and the perspective and enjoyment it gave playing alongside undergraduate and graduate students studying all areas was really enriching. I’m proud of this as I was living internationally for work so flying back for games took a lot of effort and I have played the sport since I was very young and as a proud Australian it is something pretty special to be able to be a part of a tradition over 100 years old!

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? Professionally, I am most proud of working as a leader in healthcare across both the UK and Australia over the COVID pandemic crisis. I supported hundreds-of-thousands of people to continue to receive access to healthcare services over the years of the pandemic and all the challenges we faced as a sector. To play even just a small role in this, I would have to say is what I am most proud of in professional career to date.

Who was your favourite MBA professor? Benn Lawson, Operations Management & Service Excellence

Beyond both being an Australian who shared the ‘How did we end up here in Cambridge’ factor and continually connecting over Australian Football League results, Benn’s teachings in operations management and service excellence inspired my Individual research thesis project. Benn was also kind enough to find time for regular catch ups in Cambridge, and connect me with my IP supervisor. As I work in operations management, service excellence and business growth, I have a renewed energy for this space following my thesis project and our studies here which all kicked off in January 2022 as Benn began teaching us.

Why did you choose this school’s executive MBA program? It was the thought of going to a top-rated executive MBA program coupled with incredible history as a fan of history myself led me to looking at Cambridge University. As I looked further into the program, the schedule, ability to integrate into the wider university colleges and extracurricular activities, focus on diversity of sectors across the cohort, and entrepreneurial ecosystem of Cambridge made it my top choice.

What is the biggest lesson you gained during your MBA and how did you apply it at work? People will forget what you say, they might remember what you do, but they’ll certainly remember how you made them feel. To lead through your actions, empathy and authenticity is the biggest lesson I’ve gained during my MBA. Seeing many of the people I met along the journey exemplify this and learning from them in my own has shaped me into the leader I am today. I aim to learn from this lesson in my work every day. Remember that it is not words alone that will lead to positive impact and change, but rather actions and actions that make people feel valued that leads to the most impactful growth.

Give us a story during your time as an executive MBA on how you were able to juggle work, family and education? I’m not entirely sure I was able to think I got it right in some parts and wrong in others at different times. However, the one that I did get right was my wedding. I am an Australian who is working across the UK, Europe & Australia, studying at Cambridge and had my wedding set for October 2022. During my course, we managed to find a way to juggle planning it from the other side of the world thanks to my wonderful now-wife.

Although I was able to do my Management Praxis team consulting project with an amazing company in Australia in early October. This allowed me to get back to Australia for my education between cycles at Cambridge, do a great project with classmates, and organising things onsite for our wedding. Then I worked with my Australian team and doing late nights with my Europe team at times over the course of the month. This enabled me to see my family, get all in order for the wedding and take the time off to enjoy it back home before returning to the UK to continue the studies and enjoy our honeymoon in between December and January cycles.

Having an understanding and flexible workplace, along with the schedule that I found to be good with the Cambridge MBA and a wonderful family were all key ingredients to this juggle.

What advice would you give to a student looking to enter an executive MBA program? Timing is everything. Doing the executive MBA at the right time for you, your family, your workplace, and your career will enhance the program both professionally but also personally in so many ways.

What is the biggest myth about going back to school? I’ve heard that, “You simply won’t be able to ‘do it all’.

In my undergraduate experience, you were a student first and other things second. This time around, you’re juggling everything like an executive role, family, health, and international time zones, that come with a more mature career and wider personal responsibilities compared to my first experience at university.

It’s all certainly doable, but I spent a lot of time before applying talking to people in EMBA programmes about the juggle and having them dispel the myth that you will be able to get across everything. A key to it, while it’s an individual degree, is that it is also a team sport. You join your classmates in helping each other across it all and that is the way to get through. So perhaps on reflection the myth at an individual degree is incorrect – it really is a team sport that includes your classmates, family and personal circles along the way.

What was your biggest regret in business school? Not asking for help earlier. I think many of us who go to business school can take a while to admit when we need help. We want to show strength in all we are doing and juggling. However, I regret not asking for help earlier in managing all these demands and most importantly the demands I was placing on myself. I learned the hard way that the cost of this really pushing myself and some of my relationships towards burnout. When I did finally put my hand up and ask for help from those around me, all I wish was that I had done it sooner as my whole business school journey became so much better and so much more enriching.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? Josh Neely

In our first week, Josh revealed in one of our first lectures in front of all our cohort he is dyslexic, and this was a concern for him with upcoming course work.

Within three months of starting the MBA, Josh had left a job he was unhappy in and took a bet on himself. He took up consulting while backing himself to find a better fit for him, his family, and his career so early on in the course. After turning this uncertainty and decision into success, he has finished the MBA clear on where to spend his future career. He has immersed himself in a new field of search funds and entrepreneurship through acquisition and taken a great role to champion this further through capital and funding avenues in the UK to increase this path for many more in the future. I admire most the common theme that Josh shows: courage. I appreciate getting to know him really well am blessed to call him a close friend who I also go to when I need to find more courage myself.

What was the main reason you chose an executive MBA program over part-time or online alternatives?  Without doubt, it is the people I would study alongside. I have gained not just lifelong friends, but also a cohort of people to always ask questions, learn from, and grow further in any area of business I can think of. I just don’t think I could get that from an online alternative or even in person part time MBA.

What is your ultimate long-term professional goal? I want to be a CEO building and leading businesses that have a positive impact on people and the planet.

I remember being asked in my MBA interview what was my long-term professional goal and answering, I’m hoping to find that from doing the MBA. At the time, I was in a corporate senior position rising through the ranks but from an entrepreneurial start up background having successfully exited my healthcare start-ups. I remember saying my goal was clear; I wanted to be a leader (CEO) of businesses that have a positive impact on people and the planet. At the same time, I was unclear on whether to do that in the entrepreneurial start-up/scale up space or in the wide reaching larger corporate enterprise space. It was this I wanted to better understand in my MBA journey. I’ve left the MBA very clear that my passion and strength lies in the entrepreneurial start-up/scale up space.  My ultimate long-term professional goal is building and leading these types of companies with the values of having a positive impact on people and the planet.

What made Ryan such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2023?

“It has been a pleasure to work with Ryan this year as the supervisor for his individual project. Ryan embraced his research endeavour as he approached the whole of his EMBA experience, with enthusiasm, thoughtfulness and the opportunity to learn and collaborate. Ryan impressed me with the thoroughness of his work, the energy he brought to the task, and his desire to connect with others – both to underpin his analysis but also to share and gain feedback on the output. Ryan fully embraced the opportunities afforded on the Cambridge EMBA, while whole-heartedly contributing to the programme, his colleagues and the community. I wish Ryan every success as he moves forward with the next stage of his bright career ahead.”

Dr. Jane Davies
Management Practice Professor in Operations Management
Director of the Management Studies Tripos
Deputy Director of the Centre for Process Excellence & Innovation (CPEI)


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