“The advance MBA studies opened my eyes and I can look through an organization and see all the existing functions that we can reorganise to our PNG context and redevelop the country. Some things that are taking us 20 years to implement, we can now do those things and that is because of the Australia Awards that is helping us.”
After graduating from the University of Papua New Guinea with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Commerce, majoring in accounting, Wanjimali Sammy Narawangin found employment in the banking sector. His passion to learn probed him into completing other short courses including becoming a certified accountant.
In 2003, Mr Narawangin received a two and half-year Australia Awards scholarship to study advance Masters in Business Administration which he took up between 2004 and 2007.
“The MBA gives a lot of support to my educational background and I can clearly see through the business organization what is actually required; not only in accounting where I graduated from but it gave me a holistic view on how to approach things.
“Most organizations managed by Papua New Guinean have a lesser educational level and there is a big deficiency making the Australian Awards Scholarship Program very timely.
“We got independence and we must also have world-class education. The program is very good to bring about socio-economic development to this country due to the trend that the country is going through.”
Mr Narawangin points out that the good thing about a local Papua New Guinean holding such higher degree from leading institutions in Australia is that they get to multi task. In the long run it contributes to cost cutting exercises of bringing in expatriate staff that are mainly contracted to one particular task for the organization.
“Before my MBA, I would have done something else mostly specialising in accounting and an expatriate consultant would be doing this job.”
“The depth of knowledge on how to get things done, we study in leading Australian universities to drive change because they teach us the skills to correct and get around obstacles to develop Papua New Guinea.”
In 2012, when Sammy Narawangin joined the National Department of Works he used his MBA knowledge to rewrite the new functions of the pre-existing Plant and Transport Branch which is now being brought back to life and will see Works Department taking an active role in maintaining roads in the 89 districts of Papua New Guinea.
“The feedback was overwhelming because from the start, people have been very sceptical about whether it will work or not but I was positive and now it has become a well sold idea and government ministers are coming in and putting up funds for repair and maintenance of rural roads,” says Mr Narawangin.
As partners rolling out the new PTB functions, JICA has already brought in 43 machineries for the road works now shipped out to different parts of the country in preparation for work to start in the provinces.
In that regard, Australia Awards program is really helping and those who are actually studying out there should have a positive mindset that they have a gap to fill by reintegrating back into the workplace and contribute the knowledge gained to develop Papua New Guinea.
The Australia Awards are prestigious international scholarships and fellowships funded by the Australian government offering the next generation of global leaders an opportunity to undertake study, research and professional development in Australia.