Lance Cochrane

General Manager, Crest Horizons, Sydney

Master of Business Administration

“As a result of undertaking my MBA, I am going to open a restaurant and microbrewery. This course has helped me realise my dream.”

Lance Cochrane moved his family from Sydney to Cairns to study his Master of Business Administration (MBA) at JCU. He chose JCU because he wanted smaller class sizes, to complete the degree in a year, and to escape from the hustle and bustle of Sydney. Moving to Cairns meant he could enjoy the tropical environment, and by attending night lectures, spend the days with his baby daughter.

One of the MBA subjects requires students to develop a business plan for an enterprising idea. Lance’s idea involved starting an up-market restaurant and micro-brewery. The business plan was so good he decided to take up the challenge and turn it into a reality.

“I’d been playing around with the restaurant idea, so I decided to see if I could develop it further.”

After finding a good location on a busy Sydney highway, organising the finance, and obtaining council approvals, he is hoping to open Blackrock Brasserie in 2013. The two-storey restaurant and micro-brewery will initially employ up to 20 staff, including a head chef and beer brewer, but when fully operational, will have at least 40 staff. “There is a revolution in beer at the moment. My plan is to create a restaurant with a menu designed around and complementing the beer. I’ll be doing further research in that area to see what types of boutique beers people like.”

Lance had a background in financial accounting, but wanted to undertake an MBA to increase his marketing and management skills. He had good support from his lecturers, and especially enjoyed interacting with other MBA students who represented a cross-section of business professionals.

“I wanted to know what went on in other areas of business, so it was a good opportunity to pick a lot of different people’s brains. I enjoyed the learning experience and achieved good marks. I would absolutely recommend this MBA to other people. It’s a great course and the bonus is, you get to live in Cairns.”