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Big data and the big impact of education – UniSQ business alum Craig Scroggie

April 2022
In the 1990s, when the opportunities and possibilities of the emerging computer and tech industry weren’t quite understood yet, a young IT student named Craig Scroggie saw something others didn’t.

Today, Craig is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Australia’s leading Data-Centre-as-a-Service provider – NEXTDC – but he’s still on an educational journey he says he’ll never fully complete.

Like most school-leavers, Craig Scroggie didn’t have a clear career plan, but he knew exactly what he was interested in.

“I enjoyed tinkering with computers – building them and writing software. I felt passionately from an early age that the emerging computer industry was going to be a disruptive force and I passionately wanted to be part of that,” he said.

Craig undertook a Graduate Certificate in Information Technology at a Melbourne institution and worked in various IT roles in tandem with his studies.

“I loved studying and then having the opportunity to implement those learnings in real-time,” he said.

“It was the perfect experience for me, particularly as the desktop computing era was in its infancy.”

And that’s exactly what Craig Scroggie has done for nearly three decades.

Craig went on to gain a further three tertiary qualifications through the University of Southern Queensland – including a Graduate Certificate in Management, a Postgraduate Diploma in Sales Management, and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) – all while he worked his way up the ranks at several national and international data security and software companies.

“I had always wanted to do a masters degree, as I found that the framework for career advancement needed you to have a generalist knowledge in many areas,” he said.

“However, every MBA program I looked at required you to be on campus and my job at the time didn’t allow that as I was flying to China and Singapore and elsewhere every week.

“I’d had great experiences with the University of Southern Queensland as a remote student previously, so it ended up making sense to gain my MBA there too, as it allowed me to travel internationally for work and learn at the same time.

“I went on to do my entire masters in the back of a plane. The key thing for me was that I was genuinely able to spend those 20 hours of flying every week doing the course material that had been sent to me.

“The University of Southern Queensland has always been a leader in flexible study and was a true forward thinker long before the world demanded it or had the technology to ubiquitously support remote learning like we do today.”

Craig took his MBA to NEXTDC – an ASX 100-listed technology company and Asia’s most innovative Data Centre-as-a-Service provider. 

“Essentially, we’re a hotel for computers,” Craig explained.

“We build digital infrastructure for the cloud computing revolution and since the company was founded at the end of 2010, we have built one of Australia’s leading technology companies.

“Today, I’m focused on serving and supporting the growth requirements of the future digital economy, which has continued to accelerate off the back of a global pandemic.

“2021 was the largest year in history for online shopping – and all of that was supported by computing possibilities enabled by the digital age.

“NEXTDC is building a national network onramps in every major city in Australia, to help enterprise continue to harness the digital age so they can access the amazing services of companies like Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, Google and the more than 700 other local and international tech service providers that are customers of ours.”

Leading a company that’s gone from a startup to an ASX Top 100 company in a decade is no mean feat and it’s a position Craig Scroggie doesn’t take for granted.

“It is a great privilege to lead and grow a fast-paced technology company. In life, we are either winning or learning, and I do enjoy sharing my experiences,” he said.

“I enjoy doing this is many ways, but one of them is as a Member of the Board of Advisors at the University of Southern Queensland. When I studied, the University was an incredible thought leader making remote learning possible – and now I’m back here to support Professor Lan Snell’s vision to further build the profile of the School of Business.

“I’m really enthusiastic in being involved in the future of education because it is one of the most exciting opportunities, we have utilising technology to make quality education universally available anyone that wants to learn, wherever they are.”

Craig said his lifelong learning mindset was born from his insatiable desire to read and learn about technology, and he’s still on the journey today.

“There’s nothing you can’t learn these days. We have a global knowledge base that is accessible, universal, and democratised now to anyone with an internet connection,” he said.

“I recently completed a course at Harvard Business School on negation and I’m also doing a course on crypto and blockchain at MIT. I read or listen to a new book every week on Audible and love consuming podcasts. Mobility and digital content are an incredibly powerful technology platform that will continue to rapidly shape the future of education in years to come.”
UniSQ Business alum Craig Scroggie, Chief Executive Director & Managing Director, NEXTDC