His business career has been unconventional' but CQUniversity's ultra-flexible MBA is making a big difference to how serial entrepreneur Lawrence Fox is growing his most creative and cow-rageous project yet.
The Cairns innovator began CQU's Master of Business Administration (Leadership) at the start of 2020' while planning for a move overseas.
"Because of the pandemic the move didn't happen' so I came back and was living on a friend's farm in Goldsborough' south of Cairns' and was wondering what to do next'" he explained.
Burnt out from working as a business strategist' he started spending time with the farm's herd of cows' and realised the mental health benefits of connecting with the big' gentle creatures.
"When I found out they were going to be sold for beef' I had to step in and use my own personal savings' to buy them'" Lawrence said.
The investment then needed a business' and mental health social enterprise Cow Cuddling Co was born.
"Our Therapy Cows Amy' Ella' Holly' Sally' Sophia' Nushi' Milkshake and Babyccino are helping people who live with mental illness or intellectual disabilities' and anyone wishing to support their own mental health through direct contact with these loving animals'" he explained.
Designed to promote calmness' while helping unemployed people to grow skills and find a job in partnership with a local employment agency' the innovative project was a good fit with Lawrence's studies.
"The first unit of the MBA was Strategic Marketing' so I developed a plan for promoting Cow Cuddling Co within my studies'" he explained.
The assignment proved a winner' with the launch of Cow Cuddling Co earlier this year attracting international headlines' plenty of enthusiastic cow-cuddlers' and interest in franchising Lawrence's unique business model.
Now with his first employee' Donna' working with the cows daily' Lawrence is looking forward to having more time for his studies and gaining new experience in human resource management' and other vital business management areas.
"I left school and went straight into work' my Dad owned a finance company and I got a lot of experience and worked my way up there - but the idea of becoming a director at 21 was a bit weird considering my lack of management experience'" he said.
Going out on his own' Lawrence held sales roles at Telstra and Suncorp' then started his own software company at 26' before climbing the agency ladder to be a Senior Strategist.
But the determined innovator said he was hitting "glass ceilings" because he didn't have a degree.
So Lawrence was excited to be accepted for CQU's MBA' and have his career experience accepted to gain direct entry.
"I really wanted some structured learning on business' and thought I'd have to start with a bachelor degree' but because I had seven years management experience' I could apply for an MBA – and the focus on leadership really spoke to what skills I wanted to refine'" he said.
"Plus the flexibility was incredible – I needed to know there'd be no pressure to sacrifice the success of my business to be meeting university requirements and deadlines."
Like Cow Cuddling Co' CQUniversity operates as a social enterprise – a business that operates for social' community and environmental benefit.
The MBA (Leadership) is aligned to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals' and is delivered entirely online' with no set deadlines.
The ultra-flexible study mode allows students to self-pace studies for their schedule – whether around work' family' or founding a social enterprise!
Priced under $18'000 with pay-as-you-go and FEE-Help options' CQUniversity is proud that the quality MBA is nothing like other MBAs.
More than 1000 students have enrolled in the MBA (Leadership) on CQUniversity's hyper-flexible Be Different platform since 2019.
Visit cqu.edu.au/mbaleadership for more information and to enrol and get started now.