Wednesday, 19 October 2016

China 10 years back and 10 years forward

To summarise the past ten years from an economic and business perspective, China has become globalised, radically restructured its economy and achieved unprecedented affluence.  Australia has benefitted from China’s economic growth, first through the mining boom, and now increasingly through Chinese demand for consumer goods and services.

Looking into the future, Australia will continue to benefit from its solid business relations with China as our largest trading partner, but the populist turn in the public debate on China is putting strain on the relationship. Perceptions are important, as Chinese buyers and investors can turn to Australia’s global competitors.

An economy restructured

In the early 2000’s, China was struggling to be admitted into the international trade system. Ten years later, China dominates international trade and has become a net exporter of international investment capital. The new Silk Road (One belt one road) initiative is China’s distinct regional approach to globalisation, expanding China’s economic influence into Central Asia and Southeast Asia,  where demand for Chinese technology and capital is strong.

China’s economic restructuring started under the previous leadership during the misnamed ‘lost decade’. Widespread privatisation and private as well as state sector innovation have pushed Chinese manufacturing to the cutting edge of hi-tech manufacturing across core industries. Going forward, in anticipation of a coming manufacturing revolution, China is moving away from dependence on low-cost labour.

Changing social landscape

Affluence is palpable in China’s cities and developed rural areas. Public wealth is on display in transport infrastructure and public amenities. Many residents now own apartments, cars, electronic gadgets and are able to travel overseas, study overseas, invest overseas and get healthcare overseas. They display a level of private confidence that has not been seen in a century.

However, these achievements have come at a price. Pollution, inequality and well-being are the most visible costs Chinese people have to pay for their rising living standards. Pollution of air, water and food is seriously affecting health. The government is no longer measured only by its ability to grow the economy, but for what it is doing to save the environment and there is currently a lack of trust in the government’s institutional ability to create a liveable society any time soon.

Inequality is another cost of growth that is visible and measurable by the Gini coefficient. Policies directed at solving inequality between regions and urban and rural areas have not prevented the worsening of inequality. There is also a growing awareness of a more fundamental inequality, as China’s former socialist elite morphs into capitalist elite with leading families controlling large industrial fortunes.

The low level response to surveys about well-being and personal happiness indicate that many Chinese people are not as satisfied with their situation as could be expected from the economic achievements their country has made. Concerns about health, economic insecurity and work well being remain strong and are motivating many to seek better environments overseas through property and other investments, travelling and studying in countries such as Australia.

Australia-China business – a relationship built on trust

Australia has benefitted from the economic rise of China through the mining boom, which was in fact a China boom, and since then with the ‘dining boom’ and rising Chinese demand for services. The current populist run against China in the public media overlooks how solid Australia-Chinese relations are and how much of the mutual economic benefit has been built on trust.

Australia is a trusted supplier of essential goods and the second largest recipient of global Chinese outbound investment. The two are linked, as growing trade attracts investment and in the current situation, expansion of trade with China depends on investment that opens up new trade channels.

Australia is also a trusted partner country for the education of young Chinese. Australian universities educate hundreds of thousands of Chinese students. This trust will have long-term consequences when a generation of people who were trained in Australia return to China to take up positions of responsibility.

China respects Australia for its institutions and potential contribution to stability in the region, including multilateral regional cooperation with China. When the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank was set up, China and regional neighbours were keen to make Australia one of the founding members because of its strong institutions.

The populist debate shows the weaknesses in Australian perceptions of China. Media reporting and general knowledge about the working of China’s government and corporate sector are weak. If economic forecasts are based on financial news analysis that reflects mature Western markets, it is easy to depict China in a permanent economic crisis.

The road ahead

Where will we be in ten years’ time? Based on current trends, we will be in a world where mineral resources play less of a role and where China will have lost much of its international advantage in manufacturing.

The resulting environment will be much more competitive than it is now. The advantage that Australia has over Chinese domestic competitors will be eroded over time when Chinese industries are catching up in markets such as health care, financial services, agribusiness and education.

As our trade becomes smarter and more service oriented, there will be more competition from the United States, Europe, Japan and Latin America. China is already channelling much more investment in services into the United States than into Australia.

Certainly our integration in global value chains will be dominated by China as a global producer and consumer market. Australia will increasingly be a provider of intermediate products and services and therefore dependent on Chinese markets.

If we manage to preserve a peaceful environment over the next decade, the likelihood is that Australia will be actively integrated in regional cooperation and dealing with a dominant China in a collective framework, rather than on purely bilateral basis.

By Hans HendrischkeProfessor of Chinese Business and Management at the University of Sydney Business School

Monday, 17 October 2016

5 insights that can help any startup succeed

Confident, creative and conscientious – these are qualities that describe a successful startup founder. But what qualities determine a successful startup?
At the Business School Innovation Hub’s October Insights into Startups panel we asked five experts to help break down the making of a successful startup:
  • Cameron Barnes (Expert-in-Residence),
  •  Jenni Catterson (China Business Consultant),
  • Tye van Dyk (KPMG Deals Advisor),
  • Tom Griffin (Allens Accelerate Lawyer); and
  • Matt Schiller (Gowntown and Snappr Founder).
When thinking about startups and innovation many of us look for an inspired idea that will transform the way we live – how we listen to music, connect with friends or travel. Startups have changed the way we do all of these things and have grown into companies like Apple, Facebook and Airbnb. However if you look at the trajectory of these, now industry-dominating, businesses they had more than just a great idea to secure a spot at the top.

Here are five insights from our panel discussion that will help any startup succeed:

1. The bad idea.
Telling a bad idea from a good idea is more difficult than it initially sounds. Sometimes ideas that people think are terrible right now become the future of business (e.g. Uber, Airbnb, Tesla). If you can pick one of these ideas you’re in a great place because most people and businesses only look at obviously good ideas. 

2. It’s top secret.
Founders can be notoriously cagey about their ideas going to extraordinary lengths to patent their technologies, trademark their brand and gag their employees with non-disclosure agreements. Seeking wise legal counsel early on is important to take a targeted (and reasonable) approach to advancing your interests. Importantly, remember that hard work, quality execution and speedy implementation are often underappreciated routes to startup success!

3. Money? Money. Money!
One of the biggest concerns for startup founders is funding. There are two things that founders need to get right. First, don’t undervaluate your potential when seeking investment. There are many examples of founders who almost (or did) sell a share of their company at a basement bargain valuation. Second, it’s difficult to say no to funding but avoid overfunding your startup. This can result in tardy spending practices that do more harm than good in future funding rounds.

4. The product is (not?) good enough.
Startup founders sometimes overprioritse quality and underprioritise efficiency. There’s a balance to be sought and founders should keep asking whether they’ve reached a minimal viable product. Asking customers, that is, not themselves! Start user testing early on so that you get real time feedback on the development of your product/service from kind-of functional prototype to version 1.0 release. Early adopting consumers are your target and you need to find out from them whether it’s ready to buy. Don’t develop a sophisticated version 1.0 only to find out that no one wants to buy it … ever!

5. Don’t trust Hollywood!
The Silicon Valley isn’t the only place to succeed as a founder. Knowledge agglomeration effects are real from co-locating with other leading startups (at least it probably is) but founders should evaluate this decision carefully. Startup culture can be found in a number of cities around the world but this won’t neccesarily compensate for a poorly executed idea, super expensive operating costs or entering the wrong market. Pick the right market, for the right product, with the right execution.

James Meade is the Innovation Hub Manager at The University of Sydney Business School. You can contact James at or find out more about how we promote and support startups on the Hub Website. 

Friday, 14 October 2016

A new kind of competition that could win you $1m USD - Hult Prize @ The University of Sydney

How do you use the power of student innovation and collaboration for the greater good on a world-wide platform?

Interested? Find out more information and register at: or follow all the details at:

What is the Hult Prize?
The Hult Prize is the world’s largest student competition and start-up platform for social good. In partnership with former President Bill Clinton, this innovative crowdsourcing platform identifies and launches disruptive and catalytic social ventures that aim to solve the planet’s most pressing challenges. Student teams of 3-4 compete around the world for a chance to secure US$ 1 million in startup funding to launch a sustainable social venture.

The 2017 Hult Prize will focus on Reawakening Human Potential –

How can we build sustainable, scalable social enterprises that reduce the human cost of involuntary migration and restore the rights and dignity of 10 million refugees by 2022?

Who are we looking for?
To compete, you can be a student of any sort – undergraduate, postgraduate, local, international, and from ANY faculty. Teams are made up of 3-4 University of Sydney students (with up to 1 Alumni member).

Come to our Information Evening to learn more (snacks and drinks provided):
Registrations close 13 November 2016.

What does the program look like?
The Hult Prize @ The University of Sydney is supported by the Sydney Social Innovation Hub (‘SSIH’) in the Business School of the University.

We are taking students through an intensive workshop program from late October to early December. These include:
1. The Art of Pitching
2. Ask the entrepreneur
3. Business Modelling for success
4. Mock Pitching and Mentor Round Robin

Student teams will also be given the opportunity to go into 30 minute ‘Drop in’ Consults with SSIH where they can build and test their ideas in an incubator type environment.

Once students register at:, the will be send a welcome package, which includes everything you need to know about the competition and the program, and the 2017 Challenge.    

The Campus Finals
Date: 6 December 2016
Time: 5:00pm (Pitching) and 7:30pm (Networking)
Location: Abercrombie Business School, University of Sydney.
We’ll be releasing tickets soon at:

What is the benefit of competing?
The winning team will receive a host of rewards worth over $15,000 that will help them build a social enterprise that will change people’s lives:
- An all-expenses paid trip to the Regionals in San Francisco in 2017 – fast-tracked past 20,000 applicants around the world
- Professional Industry and university mentoring and coaching
- An accelerator program run by industry experts

Following the regional finals, one winning team will attend a summer business accelerator, where participants will receive mentorship, advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and set-up to launch their new social business. A final round of competition will take place in September, where one team will be selected as the winner and will be awarded the US$ 1,000,000 seed capital by President Bill Clinton himself.

Words from the 2015 Winners (‘Clear Solutions’) with Harry Heo, Jun Park and and Jason Xu
“The Hult Prize was a larger and more prestigious competition than we had originally knew. Hundreds of teams from countries all over the world compete, and the winning team is awarded $1 million USD in seed funding and an opportunity to meet Ex-President Bill Clinton to implement their visions. Our team, Clear Solutions, stepped up to the challenge with a vision, excited to create a business that would solve the issue of crowded urban spaces.

We networked and met with teams from 21 countries in Shanghai, all motivated to make a difference. It is incredible to think that the world’s leading universities are all in one place, driven by a united purpose. The most surprising thing about our experience in Shanghai was the calibre of students and their dedication to their business ideas.

The ideas presented were excellent, ranging from mobile apps that enliven food culture with crowded urban spaces on one hand, to 3D printing on the other

We will be very excited to see the presentations for this year and wish all teams the best of luck!”
Harry Heo

Your organising committee:
Campus Director: Mark Jeyaraj
Marketing Director: Tracey He
Partnerships Director: Vishal Uppal
Judges Coordinator: Kritika Joon
Teams Coordinator: Michelle Yang
Events Coordinator: Kundai Khuleya
Partnerships Advisor: David Kĭnyua
Marketing Subcom: Emma Cleary
Marketing Subcom: Vince Lam
Partnerships Subcom: Nick Johnson
Business Society Advisors: Anthony Maka Daniel Blay
2015 Winner Advisor: Harry Heo

Express your interest by 13 November 2016 at:

For more information visit:

By Tracey He, Marketing Director at Hult Prize @ The University of Sydney

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Why we should all care about insider trading

By Dr Juliette Overland, Senior Lecturer in the Discipline of Business Law at the University of Sydney Business School

Local regulators have been enforcing insider trading laws and pursuing insider traders more frequently and vigorously in recent years, with a number of high profile cases gaining much media attention.  There is still a perception however, that insider trading is a victimless crime, and that those lucky enough to be able to trade on inside information don’t really hurt anyone in their pursuit of profit. 

What is insider trading?
Insider trading is, in essence, trading in securities such as shares or other financial products, while possessing price-sensitive information which is not publicly available.   There is one key reason why insider trading wrongly appears to be a victimless crime.  Share trading on a stock exchange occurs largely anonymously.  When we buy or sell shares, we generally remain unaware of the identity of the person we have sold shares to, or bought them from.  Without that knowledge, it is almost impossible for a person to ever realise that they may have been a victim of insider trading.  Just because the victims in these cases appear to be invisible and anonymous does not mean that insider trading is victimless.

Research indicates that many Australians believe they are unaffected by insider trading, believing it to be a crime only relevant to high-flying investment bankers and corporate executives.  However, almost all Australians in employment have nearly 10% of their wages or salary paid into compulsory superannuation.  Those superannuation contributions are invested into a variety of ways by the relevant funds, with a significant portion invested into securities publicly traded on the stock exchange.  If insider trading occurs, the employees who are beneficiaries of the relevant superannuation funds become the unknowing victims of insider trading.

Despite insider trading being a crime, some members of the financial services industry openly state that they believe insider trading is both rife and increasing, particularly when markets are volatile, and some experts believe insider trading to be unavoidable and endemic to securities markets.  Evidence appears to indicate that insider trading in shares in the period immediately prior to takeover announcements can cause rises in share prices of about 10 per cent, and that corporate insiders are able to earn abnormal profits and avoid abnormal losses through share trading. 

The effects of insiders trading
Insider trading threatens the integrity of our securities markets and stock exchanges, and almost all countries with well-developed securities markets prohibit it.  This is generally intended to protect and maintain the integrity of our securities market, so that all investors can have confidence that those who might otherwise gain an unfair informational advantage from insider trading will be identified and appropriately sanctioned.  If some investors are believed to be able to use information which is not readily available, others may be unwilling to invest in the securities market, and may withdraw their capital or choose alternative investments. This increases the costs of capital for everyone in the securities market.

These are just a number of reasons why we should not regard insider trading as a victimless crime, and why we should all be interested in ensuring that vigorous regulatory action is taken to detect and prosecute this serious offence.

Dr Juliette Overland is taking part in the University of Sydney’s Raising the Bar on Tuesday 18 October from 6pm at Since I Left You in Sydney’s CBD. Hear more from Juliette as she discusses ‘Is insider trading beneficial, bad or benign?’. Tickets are free, reserve yours today

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

5 reasons why being an undergrad here is awesome

Want to know what it's like to be an Undergraduate student at the University of Sydney Business School? One of our students shares her top 5 reasons why being an undergrad here is awesome!

1. You get to study in one of the most impressive buildings on campus
The Abercrombie Building is the Business School’s new home. Both the outside and inside of the building looks really great and the best thing is all the natural light, making studying and hanging out a lot more enjoyable.

2. The opportunity to have real industry experience before you even graduate
The Industry Placement Program is an accredited unit of study that lets you work in leading companies locally and overseas, such as PwC, RB and Macquarie Group, and is offered to all Business School students. The unit itself is structured in a way that will help you gain the most out of your workplace placement. It’s a great opportunity to get a taste of what it’s like in your industry and gain experience that will definitely make you more career-ready and competitive.

3. It’s only 10 minute walk to Newtown
Café hopping and brunch before class anyone? The Business School is right next to Newtown which makes it extremely convenient when you have breaks between classes and want to take a bit of a walk. Newtown is always a very vibrant place with a lot of cool stores and nooks and crannies, as well as great food (look for under $10 lunch deals at places like Thai La-Ong!).

4. All the help and advice you can get here is endless
Since Day 1 of being at the Business School I was always presented with a wealth of resources and opportunities. The Careers and Employability Office, in particular, is a great place to start when you’ve got any career related questions. You can book one-on-one consultations for advice, such as if you’re confused about what major to pick or if you need your job applications to be reviewed. They also hold a lot of useful skills workshops and provide great online resources you can easily access.

5. We work hard and play hard
You’ll never be bored here. There is never a shortage of fun events that our clubs and societies regularly hold. As a Business School student, you’re an official member of SUBS (Sydney University Business School Society), which means you get to attend exciting things such as the SUBS cruise, sporting events and end of semester ball, and even occasionally get free food. There’s also events held by other societies such as the Commerce Revue and semester drinks.

Image credit: Sydney University Business Society

By Tracy Trieu, current Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) student at the University of Sydney Business School.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

3 top tips from Speed Mentoring

Last week the Sydney University Business Society (SUBS) had a speed mentoring session with some of our Business School alumni. Dean Bartolotta, current Business School student and member of SUBS shared the top 3 tips he took away from the mentoring session.

1. It's okay if you don't know exactly what you want to do
2. You can really only find our what's right for you by getting practical experience
3. There is no substitute for hard work.

Check out some photos from the night!

Monday, 22 August 2016

5 Tips to Make the Most Out of Your Open Day Experience

By Tracy Trieu, current Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) student at the University of Sydney Business School.

As a Year 12 student and one of the first from my family to go to university, I really didn’t know anything about tertiary education. What degree do I want to do? What university should I pick? Will I make friends? What’s the difference between a tutorial and a lecture?

There were so many unanswered questions and I had no idea what the next year had in store for me. But like other high school students, I attended as many Open Days as I could and it really helped clarify a lot of things for me. Open Day is essentially a day where you are able to get a taste of the university experience – there are club and society stalls, information booths, presentations, helpful lectures and workshops and, of course, freebies! The day opened my eyes to all the things the University of Sydney had to offer, and it gave me opportunities to further discover the courses I was interested in.

Open Day can be a really exciting and jammed packed day so here are some tips on how you can make the most out of it:
  1.  Plan your day! Take a look at all the activities and events available and map out where you want to go and the times (the University also offers an Open Day app you can download).
  2. Do a bit of research beforehand – Get an overview of the university and the courses available so you’re able to ask more informative questions on the day.
  3. Write down a list of questions you have (e.g. about courses, scholarships, programs) – This is really simple and can help you find all the answers you need without forgetting what you came for (since there’s a lot happening during Open Day and you might get distracted).
  4. Talk to the student ambassadors – They’re there to talk to you so don’t be afraid to ask about the student experience, which you might not hear a lot about. They’ve been in your position before and can offer really great advice.
  5.  Dress comfortably and pack light! I’m not going to lie, there’s most likely going to be a lot of walking involved during the day. You may also be handed a lot of freebies (including food) so try not to weigh yourself down.
With that being said, be curious, ask questions, take lots of photos (#usydbusiness and #usydopenday on Instagram) and just enjoy the day! And, it’s okay to not have a clue what you want to do in university – you’ll work it out.

Find out more about this years Open Day.