Productivity / Professional development

BSchool’s out for summer! But the learning never ends

A year ago I made the leap to go back to business school as a guest of the team at Here’s what I learnt along the way about business, education and me.

21 February 2016 by

As I went through the year long Diploma of Business, I wrote about my progress. In my first article why I’m going back to business school I explained why I wanted to study again (even though the thought made me shudder!) and outlined what the course was all about.

Next up, in what’s the big idea? I revealed my plans to turn around an independent breakfast cereal manufacturer facing flat sales and fierce global competition, having been appointed as fictional CEO on day one!

In my third post, deadlines, coffee and five awesome books I discovered that late nights and caffeine are still part of student life, and talked through the first five modules of the course.

To recap these were:

  1. The Big Idea: How to identify and evaluate market opportunities
  2. The Product: Ways to establish and adjust the marketing mix
  3. Build the Story: Strategies to promote products and services
  4. The Power of Digital Media: Techniques for media planning and measurement
  5. Build the Team: How to recruit, select and induct team members

Now, having made it to the end, it’s time for a wrap up of the final three topics and a look at the books recommended by the module mentors.

Module 6: The Plan

This module dispelled the myth of the 50-page dust-gathering business plan and showed how a short, focused and flexible plan that is regularly revisited is more effective and realistic.

Mentor Ryan Trainor, the founder of Republic Education was the course mentor and recommended the classic book The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries.

“The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else. The ability to learn faster from customers is the essential competitive advantage that startups must possess. We must learn what customers really want, not what they say they want or what we think they should want.”
― Eric Ries

Module 7: Shake the Tin

This module moves more into the nitty gritty of small business finance and raising capital for your idea, using sample business HERO CEREALS as an example.

The very practical book The 12 Magic Slides: Insider Secrets for Raising Growth Capital was recommended by module mentor Richard Forbes, Managing Director of 333 Group.

Having seen thousands of founders presenting to potential investors, author Paul Getty boils down his findings into a tool to help you create the 12 slides needed for a perfect pitch.

Module 8: Evolve or Die

Presenting a selection of practical tips, strategies and tools to make innovation a tangible and non-stop process, this module led by mentor Pete Williams, Founder of Deloitte Digital, teaches you to always keep one eye on the future even as you manage a profitable product today.

Pete’s recommended reading is The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm by Tom Kelley which tells the fascinating story of the creative genius behind IDEO.

“We’re not big fans of focus groups. We don’t much care for traditional market research either. We go to the source. Not the “experts” inside a company, but the actual people who use the product or something similar to what we’re hoping to create.” ― Tom Kelley

Key lesson: Learning has transformed, never stops, and is real-time

Having completed a traditional Bachelor of Business degree almost two decades ago – on the wrong side of the digital divide – I can vouch for the fact that education is being turned on its head by technology.

Business study then took years to complete, involved hours of onsite lectures, written exams, library study and handwritten notes. It was largely theoretical, involved scant input from ‘real-life’ business people and was geared towards finding a job rather than starting a business.

While of course many business fundamentals don’t change, and there is still much value in in-depth academic learning, the technology revolution has changed both education and business practices.

"Personal and professional development is a process that never stops and demand is only accelerating."

These days learning how to learn, how to pick up skills in real-time, how to network with other leaders, and how to cope with uncertainty and change are equally important.

Indeed, that insight was a key driver that led Ryan Trainor to found BSchool, a more modern business education alternative. He said:

“If you went into a coma 100 years ago, and woke up today, you’d still feel relatively comfortable in the classroom because things haven’t evolved as much as in other areas of daily life.

The shift we are making in education is all about transferring experiences to you from those who have travelled the journey already. We see our role as educational curators building an entrepreneurial ecosystem to support you on your journey.

We inject the DNA of some of Australia’s top entrepreneurs into a course that gives you all the skills necessary to take an idea from ideation to commercialisation.”

If you want to find out more about the course, head to

About BSchool: was started by seasoned entrepreneurs Ryan Trainor and David Trewern, with the inspiration to create an education model they would have liked to use during their business growth.


Peter Crocker

is a director of Flying Solo responsible for marketing and advertising. As a business copywriter he partners with digital agencies and corporate clients on websites and digital content. He’s the co-author of Flying Solo Revisited – How to go it alone in business.


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