Best case sce­nar­ios

UNI­VER­SI­TIES ARE FIND­ING IN­NO­VA­TIVE WAYS TO MEET STU­DENT DE­MANDS FOR MORE HANDS-ON EX­PE­RI­ENCE.

The Australian - The Deal - - Contents - BY GLENDA KOR­PO­RAAL

Stu­dents in­creas­ingly ex­pect to grad­u­ate with key in­dus­try con­tacts and hands-on strate­gic ex­pe­ri­ence.

Strong con­nec­tions with the cor­po­rate world are be­com­ing a key at­trac­tion for some of the top MBA pro­grams, as stu­dents in­creas­ingly ex­pect to grad­u­ate with use­ful busi­ness con­tacts and real-world learn­ing through “liv­ing case stud­ies”.

The Univer­sity of Western Aus­tralia Busi­ness School boasts strong ties with Aus­tralia’s top min­ing and en­ergy com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing BHP Bil­li­ton, Wood­side and Rio Tinto, as well as part­ner­ships with Al­coa, Mir­vac, Ernst& Young, ANZ, Mit­subishi and law firm Al­lens.

The school’s ad­vi­sory board in­cludes Wood­side chief ex­ec­u­tive Peter Cole­man, Wes­farm­ers chief ex­ec­u­tive Richard Goy­der, BHP Bil­li­ton iron ore pres­i­dent Jimmy Wil­son, West­pac di­rec­tor Robert El­stone, Alinta chair­man Tony Howarth and the chair­man of Mac­quarie Group’s WA op­er­a­tions, Mark Barn­aba. Michael Chaney, the chair­man of NAB and Wood­side, is the univer­sity’s chan­cel­lor.

As­so­ciate pro­fes­sor Paul Cromp­ton, the di­rec­tor of post­grad­u­ate pro­grams at UWA’s busi­ness school, says hav­ing such a strong board al­lows the school to bring high-pro­file speak­ers into the class­room. “[They] re­ally put us in con­tact with the busi­ness com­mu­nity in Western Aus­tralia,” he says.

The UWA busi­ness pro­gram’s links to the re­sources in­dus­try will be fur­ther strength­ened next year, when it will of­fer seven new MBA units fo­cus­ing on the sec­tor. The in­dus­try will pro­vide strong in­put on course con­tent and high-level guest speak­ers.

Cromp­ton says that MBA stu­dents now ex­pect cour­ses to de­liver di­rect con­tacts with po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers. “Stu­dents are look­ing for a job and they want to build con­nec­tions with in­dus­try. A lot of them have reached mid­dle man­age­ment and they are look­ing to progress fur­ther. TheMBA will help them take the next step.”

UWA’s MBA is a $48,000 part-time pro­gram, de­liv­ered over week­ends and evenings. The univer­sity will of­fer a oneyear, full-time course from 2015. “We are talk­ing to com­pa­nies in Perth about putting their em­ploy­ees through the pro­gram. We are also get­ting sup­port from the cor­po­rate com­mu­nity in terms of schol­ar­ships.”

Guy Ford, deputy dean of the Mac­quarie Grad­u­ate School of Man­age­ment, says its MBA stu­dents take part in “liv­ing case stud­ies”, in which stu­dents tackle real is­sues for com­pa­nies as quasi- con­sul­tants. “MBA stu­dents want to de­velop their lead­er­ship ca­pa­bil­i­ties and ac­quire a global per­spec­tive,” Ford says. “They need to de­velop new global busi­nesses and un­der­stand and work with di­ver­sity and cul­tural dif­fer­ences. We have global cor­po­ra­tions com­ing to the school with a prob­lem or an is­sue and the MBA stu­dents can help deal with that is­sue.”

Stu­dents at Mac­quarie pay more than $ 60,000 for their MBA. Un­der the “liv­ing case stud­ies” pro­gram, com­pa­nies do not pay for the con­sult­ing ser­vices, but they com­mit to pro­vid­ing se­nior ex­ec­u­tives to work with the stu­dents on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. “Stu­dents love hear­ing from chief ex­ec­u­tives on is­sues, but they want to work on projects that of­fer prac­ti­cal and strate­gic ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Some of the projects in­volve change man­age­ment is­sues or ad­vis­ing a com­pany on break­ing into a new mar­ket. A re­cent case study in­volved work­ing with the on­col­ogy arm of Pfizer on prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal gi­ant’s re­la­tion­ship to the fed­eral govern­ment’s phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal ben­e­fits

STU­DENTS LOVE HEAR­ING FROM CHIEF EX­EC­U­TIVES ON IS­SUES, BUT THEY WANT PRAC­TI­CAL AND STRATE­GIC EX­PE­RI­ENCE.

scheme. An­other pro­ject in­volved ad­vis­ing telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany BT Global on is­sues it faced in de­vel­op­ing new­mar­kets in Asia-Pa­cific. “The firms get ac­cess to stu­dents with very di­verse views and ex­pe­ri­ences.”

Univer­sity of Western Aus­tralia as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor

Paul Cromp­ton

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