20 January 2017

7 must read business books from 2016

To give you a hand in deciding which pages are worth turning, we’ve had a look at some of the top business book lists by Business Insider, Financial Times, The Economist, Fortune and Inc. from 2016. So if you need some inspiration, insight or just want a good read about the business world – take a look at some of these must read business books.

Shoe Dog: a memoir by the creator of Nike
By Phil Knight
The founder of Nike tells the inside story of the world’s biggest athletic company. Phil Knight candidly shares his journey from being a business school graduate selling shoes from the trunk of his car, to evolving Nike into one of the world’s most iconic brands.

Why should you read it?
If you have entrepreneurial aspirations, this start-up success will give you the inspiration to take that next step in pursuing your business goals. Recommended by Business Insider and Fortune.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World
By Adam Grant
Using a mix of surprising studies and real-life stories from the business world, Adam Grant explores how to champion new ideas and avoid groupthink. Originals will provide you with insights into ways you can harness good ideas and get others on board with them.

Why should you read it?
Ever had a great idea but didn’t know how to communicate it? Originals will lend you a hand in getting better at speaking up effectively and finding people that can help you drive change. Recommended by Fortune, Financial Times and Inc.

Alibaba: The House that Jack Ma Built
By Duncan Clark
This is the story of how Jack Ma built Alibaba into one of the world’s largest companies. The journey from humble beginnings was not without its challenges, but Alibaba’s story demonstrates how an inconceivable concept can be developed into an e-commerce success.

Why should you read it?
If you have an interest in how Alibaba has gained success or why other organisations have failed to achieve it in China, this book will appeal to your interest in China’s tech scene. It’s also another great story about a start-up win! Recommended by Financial Times and The Economist.

Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business
By Charles Duhigg
Through rigorous reporting and rich storytelling Charles Duhigg explains how we can get better at the things we do. Smarter Faster Better explores the science of productivity and utilises case studies to determine what makes the most productive people the way they are.

Why should you read it?
Looking to improve your productivity in 2017? This book will give you real-world lessons to help you succeed and get more done. Recommended by Business Insider and Inc.

Sprint: how to solve big problems and test new ideas in just five days
By Jake Knapp with John Zeratsky and Brad Kowitz
Designer Jake Knapp created this five day process at Google that puts your idea to the test. From idea to prototype to making a decision about its viability, Sprint will guide you through each step. Tested and proven on over a hundred companies, this practical guide will help answer critical business questions.

Why should you read it?
For those who have an idea and want to see if it will actually work in the real world – this book will help you build and test your concept to rapidly accelerate the development process. What are you waiting for? Get sprinting! Recommended by Business Insider.

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
By Cal Newport
Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a mentally demanding task. Cal Newport details four “rules” for transforming your mind and habits to support the skill, and produce better results in less time.

Why should you read it?
In a world of connectivity it can be hard to truly focus on a task you want or need to complete. Deep work is your “how to” guide for becoming more efficient, less distracted and achieving better results. So if you want to get more out of the work you put it in – add this to your reading list. Recommended by Business Insider and Inc.

Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World
By Joann S. Lublin
Joann S. Lublin, one of the first female reporters at the Wall Street Journal, shares the valuable lessons of over 50 successful business women and how they overcame corporate obstacles. Earning It provides advice and practical inspiration for tackling challenges that women face in the world of work.

Why should you read it?
This book provides a reminder that you’re not the only one facing challenges in your career, and arms you with tools to help get through the difficult times. Not to mention it’s full of stories from some seriously inspiring business women! Recommended by Business Insider.

12 January 2017

Corporate-university partnerships: getting students work ready

We are living in a dynamic knowledge-based economy with increasing dependence on human resources.

The students of this millennia are fortunate to have access to a variety of quality education across borders. That being said, you only have to look at the unemployment rate and mismatch of skills to realize how big the gap actually is.

On the other hand, for a long time students have complained that what they learnt as theory during university, is not the same in the real life job scenario / work environment.

This makes it increasingly important for companies and universities to forge strong partnerships and work in tandem to push the frontiers of knowledge, thereby becoming a powerful engine for innovation and economic growth.

Corporate-university partnerships benefit the future workforce of Australia by ensuring university graduates are work-ready. Internships provide students opportunities to work on real life corporate projects often in a team environment; connecting the theory with real life. Workplace learning through industry partnerships opens up ways for universities to better understand the needs of employers. It also allows students to apply their course learnings in the workplace and employers to have an ‘early look’ at potential employees.

At Hilti, we have been fortunate to have such a fruitful partnership with CEMS which began in early 2012. Since then we have successfully recruited students who have developed their careers within Hilti Australia and have enjoyed career progression across functions like sales, marketing and supply chain management.

Hilti, being a global organisation, makes a perfect partnership for the CEMS’ students with access to global learnings, processes, infrastructure and more importantly career opportunities. Many Hilti offices across the globe take on students for internships, graduate programs and industry placements. By partnering directly with CEMS we at Hilti have found they understand our future employee requirements and can ensure their course curriculum meets our needs to provide well rounded employees.

The graduates of today need to adapt quickly to working in a fluid environment within a matrix structure. They need to develop leadership skills through demonstrating keen learning agility, self-awareness, openness to experience, motivation to learn, feedback seeking, and use of deliberate learning strategies.

Successful corporate- university partnerships will ensure that the skill gap is addressed while making the future work force ready.

By Annette Fernandes, Talent Acquisition & HR Project Specialist at Hilti Australia Pty Ltd

10 January 2017

Higher education and business: a model for the future of Australia

The key to the future for both corporates and the higher education sector is the strength of young peoples and graduates. Young millennials are entering a world undergoing significant disruption. It’s this disruption, often fuelled by a rise of millennials in the workforce, which graduates will need to harness as they enter uncertain terrain.

Deloitte had the pleasure of working with the University of Sydney, supporting 10 students through their journey from university to corporate life. The program created by Deloitte aims to provide students with the chance to develop those skills that will enable them to operate in ambiguity. First, by allowing students to discover those issues that are fundamentally affecting business and Australia. Second, exploring those issues and quantifying their impact. Last, developing ideas that will meet those challenges head on, while creating opportunities for growth and strengthening Australia’s economic and societal future.

The main objective is for students to gain a greater understanding of and solve for real life business issues. The corporate program offers them the chance to push their capabilities and thinking, while gaining practical experience. These are the skills that will best equip them for their future – flexibility and adaptability. As the economy continues to change, and the workforce becomes more fluid, graduates will need to harness new ways of thinking to keep up with the rate of change; collaboration, communication, critical thinking, problem solving, cultural awareness and a global mindset are critical. Degrees in STEM, although attractive, will find it equally as necessary to develop expertise in these areas. As business continues to explore cognitive capabilities and robotic automation, students will need to incorporate skills that robots cannot emulate. Creativity is essential in that fight, enabling an environment that cultivates curiosity and development. Without these skills providing a new backbone for the economy and powered by new graduates, Australia will miss this transition.

Organisations should see this as a collective responsibility to transform modern Australia. To be in concert with those seeking to deliver change and excite our entrepreneurial spirit. 40-60% of jobs that exist today are likely to disappear over the next 15-20 years; with 65% of today’s students employed in jobs that are yet to be created. It’s a responsibility that will enrich both the organisations that meet the challenge and the students they support. As the nature of work changes and the environments in which work is conducted become more virtual, research and development will be essential. Young students will power much of the innovation in those spaces, where development will be equally beneficial to higher education and business.

At Deloitte, we believe we have a responsibility in cultivating young minds and leaders. Working alongside Universities, such as Sydney University, is essential if we want to tackle the wicked problems of today and tomorrow. These programs are the driving force for change, without them we will find it increasingly difficult to construct a common narrative of Australia’s future and ultimately get lost from translation to implementation. Young students are the key and we should seek to support them in unlocking their potential.

By Geoff Stalley, Senior Corporate Advisor, and Cliff Sandler, Senior Consultant IP Factory

13 December 2016

7 things you’ll learn at the Business School

We asked some of our students what they’ve learned since starting their studies at the Business School to give you a hand when you start your first year with us. From how to make friends to finding a study spot, these are the tips they wish they had of known.

1. Going to the SUBS first year camp means making friends you’ll see all year round 

The Sydney University Business Society (SUBS) holds a first year camp every year for the cohort to get together, bond and have fun. Since everyone generally takes the same units of study in first year, after the camp, you’ll see many familiar faces that will make settling in a lot easier. 


2. One-on-one consultations are a part of your tutor/lecturer’s job, so utilise it

Every tutor or lecturer has consultation times in which you can visit them to go over any questions, course content or assessment feedback. Talking to tutors and lecturers can really make a difference in your understanding so don’t be afraid to reach out – that’s what they’re there for.

3. PASS is a great way to enhance your learning whilst also making friends

Peer-Assisted Study Sessions (PASS) are extra classes, based on interactive peer-to-peer learning, you can take for most core Business units. It really helps you build on what you’ve learnt in class and discuss any material you are struggling with. Make sure you register early! http://gph.is/1iWLqPy

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4. You can find a quiet place to study in the Abercrombie Building by using the University’s Timetable Unit

Sometimes it can be difficult to find a place to study, especially during lunch times, and you may end up roaming around for a really long time before you find a spot. Save yourself time and effort by checking for any available spare rooms on the University’s Timetable Unit website beforehand.

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5. Joining a Club or Society Subcommittee or Executive Board is a great way to build your network

Being a Subcommittee or Executive Board member in any of the Business School Clubs & Societies provides an opportunity to develop yourself personally and professionally. You’ll get to meet people with similar interests, have hands on experience and learn more about the industry. 

6. It’s okay to not know what you want to do

There are so many options at the Business School so it can get overwhelming, especially when you feel the pressure of needing to select your majors. But it’s okay because that’s what your first year is for. It’s for you to experiment with different units, talk to people and see what you’re interested in. If you’re confused, seek guidance from the Careers and Employability Office!

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7. What you put in is what you get out

There are a lot of opportunities (classes, programs, competitions, workshops etc.) within the Business School and it’s really up to you to make the most out of them. Don’t just go to classes and go home, look outside your classroom and embrace what the university has to offer. 

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16 November 2016

What I learned outside the classroom

Dennis Qiu (left) with Associate Dean Rae Cooper (Centre)
at the recent Raising the Bar event.
We asked Dennis Qiu, fourth year Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies) student who is majoring in marketing and biology, to tell us about his recent experience in our local Industry Placement Program with the University of Sydney.

Why did you decide to participate in the Industry Placement Program (IPP)?

I wanted to gain real-life experience in marketing at an Australian workplace. My friends who had done IPP previously spoke very highly of this opportunity.

What was your role, and what kind of projects did you work on?
My host organisation was the University of Sydney. I was a team member of Marketing and Communications in the Division of Alumni and Development (MCDAD). As an intern with no previous experience, I had the opportunity to help out with various tasks and to explore my skills and interests. There were two major projects where I spent most of my time: the annual University fundraising campaign “Pave the Way”, and an alumni celebration to be held at the launch of the new centre in Suzhou, China, officially opening in November.

What did you learn from the experience?
During the IPP I learned about things from everyday tasks such as email etiquette, to assisting with strategic projects that have significant impact for the University and wider community.

One valuable lesson I took away was the balance between being proactive and reactive. As a novice in the office, I benefited immensely from taking instructions and advice from senior colleagues. Completing assigned tasks with quality and efficiency was essential to my role in the organisation.

Beyond that, I also had the opportunity to bring my skills and knowledge to the team, and help initiate new ideas. For example, I volunteered to integrate WeChat communications into the Pave the Way campaign, which wasn’t part of the original plans. I was able to apply my Chinese social media skills and cross-cultural knowledge and help the team achieve much wider support from Chinese donors compared to the previous year’s results.

Concurrent with the completion of my degree, the IPP also prompted me to reflect on my four years’ university journey. For instance, it confirmed the belief that doing something that you are passionate about can bring you more than just intrinsic happiness. It also allowed me to apply the Chinese social media skills and cross-cultural knowledge that I developed when I was involved in a student society called the Australia-China Youth Association.

What is the most important thing you’ve taken away from your experience in the IPP?
If I had to pick the best thing out of my IPP experience, it would be the supportive colleagues. Kate, George, Ash, Anna and Jess, each of them from MCDAD mentored me and helped me enormously with my career development. “山高水长 (High as a mountain and long as a river)” is a Chinese idiom that means the influence or affection is profound and long-lasting. I think it is the perfect phrase to sum it all up. Their values and the working environment was an inspiration.

Why should other students consider doing the IPP?

IPP is an excellent opportunity for students to acquire professional skills and build connections. But I guess other IPP alumni might have learned something unique or had a different experience with the program. So hey future IPP students, find your own stories! 

I feel very lucky to have interned with MCDAD. They are all fun and energetic people. Although I felt like an awkward student at the beginning of the internship, we were a happy team by the end. And a happy team goes a long way!

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

8 November 2016

Abercrombie Team: 2016 AMP University Challenge

During week 13 of semester 2 2016, Jason Ye, Willkie Tan and Jack Dillon traveled to AMP headquarters to compete in the nationally renowned AMP University Challenge as the Abercrombie team. The competition invited the nation’s top 5 competitors to a day of financial planning related challenges.

The submission heats
Before we were invited to the finals day, our team had submitted a 20-page Statement of Advice (SoA) on a fictional couple struggling to manage their financial affairs. The SoA covered a wide range topics including superannuation, investments, mortgages and insurance. Lucky for us, AMP provided a real-world fact-find document and advice template to help us put it together.
Our submission finished in the top 5 among 681 other entrants, which secured our spot for the finals!

Finals Day Challenges
The first challenge of the day was the “Who wants to be a Financial Planner” quiz. The quiz involved a difficult range of financial planner related questions in a format inspired by Eddie McGuire’s famous game show. Despite lacking any formal study in financial planning, we came first in this round! 

The next challenge involved a client role play where we would present our statement of advice in an intimate face-to-face setting. The clients were able to ask a series of questions that really went to the bones of our advice and tested our ability to think on the spot. Luckily we were provided a financial planning expert who had 20 years of experience in the industry and coached us well for the challenge.

The final challenge was a speech on how the financial planning industry could increase the uptake of financial advices services by 2021. Forecasting events 5 years into the future is by no means an easy feat, but the judges were impressed with our research across a broad range of topics such as robo advisors, online marketing and industry legacy. 

The role-play and presentation was judged by an (intimidating) panel of top academics and industry professionals with over 45 years of experience. In this era of reality television and self-gratification, their feedback was refreshingly direct and honest.

We weren’t able to get the oversized winner’s cheque unfortunately. But as Shannon Noll would tell you, there’s certainly nothing wrong with coming second.

More than just challenges
Along with the challenges, we also got to do a number of non-competition events including an “Icebreaker session” with creative therapist Kim Taylor. To describe Kim’s techniques as “unique” is a grand understatement. The variety of improvisation games certainly got rid of our nerves, but also lead to some unique acting scenarios.

We were also fortunate to be able to tour the new AMP Spark store (Google it!), which is actively disrupting the financial planning industry as I write. Last but not least, we were treated to a cocktail reception on the balcony of the AMP building overlooking stunning views of Sydney Harbour. 

To conclude
It’s crazy to think that a few months ago, none of our team knew much about financial planning outside of filling out our superannuation forms at work. But in a generation that has to decide between smashed avocados and home ownership, it’s becoming increasingly important that young people learn how to better manage their personal wealth. The challenge was a great opportunity to learn more about the financial planning industry and about how to manage my own finances better.

Looking back, I begin to realise that when we are completely free of our own expectations, the mind extends to its natural potential without impediment. I cannot thank my team enough for all the time put into the competition and I’d definitely recommend any business student grab this opportunity with both hands next year.

By Willkie Tan, current student at the University of Sydney Business School and IT Director of FINSOC Sydney.

28 October 2016

6 tips on how to study better

It’s that time of year again, exams are almost here. The good news? You’ve got a week away from class before exams start, giving you some quality time with your textbooks. To give you a hand in getting the most out of it, we’ve scoured the earth internet to bring you some tips on how to study better.

1. Get organised
You’re probably thinking ‘well duh’, but being organised with everything you need in your chosen study space removes one excuse to leave it. We’re not just talking notes, pens and highlighters. Don’t forget some healthy snacks, a study music playlist and water to help get you through the long periods at your desk.

2. Remove distractions

You won’t like this one, but you and your iPhone (or smartphone of choice) are going to have to take a break. Knowing that another dog video is just waiting to be watched on Facebook can be hard to resist, so why not enlist the help of a website blocker like StayFocused? Removing temptations may be hard, but you’ll thank yourself for it later.

3. Don’t do it alone
No one said you have to do this by yourself, so grab your tutorial besties and organise a study session. It’s important that you actually get something out of it, so be sure to set out a list of what you want to cover during your time together and set some goals for the group to achieve. 

4. Break it up
Think cramming will get you the results you want? You’ll find breaking your study up into smaller sessions will yield a better outcome, 25-30 minutes on each task. Make sure you include some breaks – take your dog for a walk, grab a coffee with a friend or try cooking a new recipe!

5. Stay motivated
Don’t forget why you’re studying. It’s a necessary step toward achieving your long term goal – your degree! Liven up your workspace with some motivational quotes or posters. If you respond better to incentives, reward your hard work with some time to watch your favourite Netflix series or a 10 minute social media check.

6. Figure out what works for you
You might study best in the morning, or maybe night is a better fit. Some people prefer watching subject videos, others read lecture notes. Try some different options to figure out which works best for you. 

As a final tip – make sure you look after yourself. Stay hydrated, opt for some healthy snacks and get in some quality sleep. Good luck!