6 February 2018

Tips for business students starting university

Starting something new always seems quite daunting. When it comes to university, you’ll see new faces, learn new things and navigate new environments. Here are a few tips that have helped me, to ensure you get the most out of your commerce degree and university in general. 


Don’t be afraid to make new friends

One thing I was definitely scared to do when I first started university was making new friends. Coming from a very small school, the idea of meeting a new face and having that awkward “Hello my name is…what’s yours?” encounter was not hot on my to-dos list. But realistically, it’s very rare to enter university with the same set of school friends, who are also doing the same course as you. So be prepared to have those awkward conversations. In terms of talking points, you could always start with the generic, “what course are you doing?” But I like to add in something like “what did you do during your break?” That way you start to get a better picture of the person and what they do outside of university. Also, don’t worry about the awkwardness, you’ll get better after a few failed attempts.

A side note… It’s really important to also keep in touch with your new friends! Add them on social media and don’t be afraid to have regular catch-up coffees with them during the semester!

Take advantage of Orientation Week 

I found that once classes start it becomes difficult to make longer lasting friendships during lectures and tutorials. You’ll be too focused on what’s happening in class that you won’t have any real time to start a conversation that doesn’t revolve around a SWOT analysis. Not only are you able to attend the faculty welcomes – to meet some of the other students doing your course – but Orientation Week is also jammed packed full of information sessions and social events to kick-start your university experience. Don’t forget to join some clubs and societies!

Peer Mentoring Programs 

Since the social aspect of your university experience is settled, you also need to know a way around your actual course! With your newfound independence, understanding your degree and subjects can become overwhelming. The one thing that I found really helped me during my first year of Business School was the Peer Mentoring Program. You’ll be assigned to a peer mentor who basically acts as a human information bank. They’re usually second and third year Business students who are studying a degree to you. So, since they were pretty much in the same situation as you a couple of years ago, you can ask them a range of questions like “where to get the best coffee on campus?”, “what should I expect on the first day of my lectures?” and even “what’s the difference between a lecture and a tutorial?”

Scheduling is your new best friend 

One important thing to master in university is the art of “balance” – and I’m not talking about the physical type. This is where REGULAR scheduling comes into play! (Please place a huge emphasis on “regular”!) I really recommend using a student diary or electronic calendar to start organising!
There are four important things to schedule in:

  1. Sleep – It sounds bad, but a lot of students forget to have their much needed 7-8 hours of sleep a day. Beware! Don’t forget this during exam period.
  2. Work/Career Activities – If you have a job, it’s time to pop that straight into your calendar. Even if you do or don’t have one, be sure to take advantage of any career events that the university may have on campus as well! 
  3. Personal/Social Activities – The one thing that many students forget to schedule! Make sure you have time dedicated to yourself, away from your studies. For example, catch up with your school friends or consider signing up to a Yoga class.
  4. Academic Activities – Use your course outlines as a guide to jot down when your assessments are due. Don’t be afraid to also plan out when you’ll start them too!

By Libbi Le
Bachelor of Commerce/Arts student at the University of Sydney

30 January 2018

Breaking Down the Mosaic: Multilingualism and its Place in Contemporary Singapore

“Will we ever become completely homogeneous, a melange of languages and cultures? No.”- Lee Kuan Yew

Stepping off the plane from Sydney, one of the first things I observed about Singapore was its multilingualism. Whether noting signs written in multiple dialects, or the unfamiliar sound of announcements repeated in different ways, the diversity of language was clear. However, as part of the University of Sydney’s 2017 Singapore Immersion Program, I soon came to realise that these “surface level” differences were actually the result of intense political planning. My perspectives about language in the country were shaped by three key cultural activities; An incredible tour about Lee Kuan Yew, language classes taught by the experts at the National University of Singapore and finally, our trip to the HDB flats that allowed me to gain first hand insight into the language of the everyday citizen. Supported by the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan and alongside my fellow business school students and our mentor Dr Jeaney Yip, I learnt the value of observation and the true modern relevance of language.

To briefly recap, my studies at NUS taught me about Singapore’s four national languages; English, Mandarin, Malay and Tamil. Each had been selected for a unique reason, representing a different group of Singaporean citizens. Interestingly, English has been the country’s dominant language since it’s separation from Malaysia in 1965. This language is not native, but rather was selected to drive trade, law and business in Singapore. In addition (in the wise words of Lee Kuan Yew) if Singapore chose to instead elevate one of the three native languages over another “the country would fall apart”. Reflecting on this system, I found it incredibly interesting that the diversity of race and language does not serve to turn the country into a melting pot of culture (as Australians are fond of saying). It rather allows many vastly different people to fit together while still retaining a distinct sense of heritage. A mosaic perhaps, rather than a melting pot.

For me, the biggest takeaway after my first week in Singapore was how language has power. Take for instance, how it shapes policy regarding both education and housing. Although English is the formal language of instruction in Singapore, students are also required to learn a second language based on their “mother tongue”. As a result, today 73.2% of people are literate in at least two languages with may speaking more. Coming from a country where English dominates, I feel that the government is to be applauded for its attempt to recognise individual languages (even those of racial minorities) instead of forcing homogenisation. Language and culture also strongly influence housing policy, as each HDB complex must fulfil specific quotas based on ethnicity. Theoretically, this distribution is meant to stop people from clustering, encouraging racial and cultural interaction. In this way, language and culture shape two key aspects of Singaporean policy.

However, reflecting on these positive experiences, I couldn’t help but feel I was missing a piece of the puzzle. It was only after visiting a HDB flat and talking with a native Singaporean and her elderly mother that I began to realise how language presented barriers too. Firstly, it creates a dilemma for Singapore’s elderly residents who were not taught to speak English. My HDB interviewee described how her mother was terrified to go to hospital in case she received a doctor who did not speak her native dialect. As the number of foreign doctors working in Singapore public hospitals and polyclinics (more than 1 in 4 at last count) increases societies’ disadvantaged may find the increasing prevalence of English to be a greater issue. This also presents a problem for businesses wishing to advertise or interact with this elderly demographic. A second problem was also brought to my attention during my classes at NUS. Although the Chinese population make up more than 74% of Singapore’s citizens, many of these individuals have unique dialects distinct from Mandarin. Students attending school who are forced to learn a “mother tongue” are not given the opportunity to learn other popular dialects like Hokkien, Teochew and Cantonese. In explaining his decisions regarding education and language, Mr. Lee encouraged the use of Mandarin as a means of “uniting the different dialect groups”. He felt that drawing together the Chinese population under a common language would prevent English from eradicating the local culture.

Despite Mr Lee’s assertions, it was easy for me to observe how English is still growing in significance in Singapore. In fact, my research suggests that his push towards Mandarin may not have been enough. A 2015 survey of the population has shown that, for the first time the majority of Singaporean residents aged 5 and older now use English most often at home (36.9%) as opposed to the 34.9% who speak Mandarin. I asked myself, what does this mean for the future of language in Singapore? To me there was a clear answer. As in many parts of the world, in Singapore you can see how globalisation is influencing local identity. The next generation of individuals are eschewing traditional conceptions of race, and are more likely to call themselves “Singaporean” rather than citing the ethnicity of their ancestors. Even observing the use of “Singlish” throughout the week highlighted how hybridising language allows people to reshape their own identity and make connections no matter the ‘mother tongue’. Where to from here? It’s hard to say. But you can bet that Singapore’s multilingualism has not finished evolving.

Mikaela Colgan 
Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies)

23 January 2018

Retiring stigma around ageing

From ‘timebombs’, to ‘tsunamis’ and even a ‘national disaster’ – why Singapore’s government is its own worst enemy when it comes to dealing with the elderly.

The Lion City: a dynamic nation home to delicious eateries, stunning tourist attractions, and one of the most breathtaking harbourfronts in the world. Over the past half-century, Singapore has transformed itself from a rural fishing village to an international business powerhouse. With a collective mentality of “foodies, explorers, socialisers, and world-changers”, Singapore has carefully cultivated its contemporary image; attracting expatriates from all corners of the globe: a 5.6-million-person multiracial metropolis.

From 8am day one, Dr. Jeaney Yip had scheduled a jampacked itinerary, as our 15-strong New Colombo plan Singapore Immersion Program University of Sydney Business School troop was hustled onto a shuttle bus and taken on a whirlwind tour around the city, visiting the Civilian War Memorial, the Chinese Heritage Centre and Old Parliament House. Having taken some history electives (despite being a business student!), I was elated to see the reverence bestowed on these heritage sites by Singaporean society, as our tour guide, Iris, recounted the glorious legacy of the “father of Singapore, former Prime Minister Mr. Lee [Kuan Yew]” with near-fanaticism.

As we paused for lunch in a local Hawker Centre, a chaotic farmers-market-meets-food-court, I couldn’t help but notice swathes of elderly cleaners; many of whom looked well over the official retirement age of 67. I watched these stoic custodians collect endless trays of rubbish left by an apathetic younger generation, and understood a growing sense of cultural bias towards the elderly existed.

From a personal and business perspective, I was mystified.

To me, it seemed almost paradoxical that the Singapore of yesteryear could be held in such high regard, serving as a major tourist attraction viewed with such nostalgia and veneration, whilst the working class who had toiled under the blinding sun to forge this very legacy were discarded and mistreated by society.


Over the next two weeks of our cultural immersion, that sense of social bias fuelled my investigation, and on a hunch, I decided to review policy responses to ageing from the government. As a very authoritarian city-state, I deduced that the government and state media would have massive influence over perceptions towards social issues.

I was right.

Since first acknowledging the issue, the Singaporean government, along with state media, has been quick to label this growing age bracket as an ‘ageing ambush’: an almost guerrilla-style offensive against an unprepared political sphere. However, from the research I had done into ageing in Singapore, it is clear this propagation is anything but unexpected.  

In 1982, the Singaporean government first legislated on their ageing population, with the ‘Committee on the Problems of the Aged’ formed to study the “implications of ageing and recommend solutions for society”. Full of tenuous policy measures such as fostering filial piety, the true focus of this initial response was to mitigate the “negative effects of ageing on the younger generations”. 

With a state controlled media, this passive ideology would ultimately go onto inform years of anti-ageing propaganda, and indoctrinate a generation of Singaporeans terrified of the ‘ageing timebomb’ looming on the horizon. 

By labelling an entire generation as inherently ‘problematic’ and incompatible with Singaporean society, by definition, the government’s language choice implied there was a necessary solution – a way to nullify, not co-exist, with this demographic. With one phrase, more than 500,000 Singaporeans were painted a blight to their own society, walking stereotypes of a vindictive stigma. 

 

As both a philosophy and international business major, I love the persuasive power of language across cultures, and what really interested me is how the syntax used by the government and media regarding the ageing played a significant role in framing societal response. It was to my complete surprise that it was not until 2015 that the government could no longer deny their demographic changers, and finally took reactive steps towards re-defining ageing as something to be “celebrated”, making an almost complete U-turn on their longstanding admonition of ageing. Delivering the ‘Action Plan for Successful Ageing’, Singapore was suddenly told to celebrate that “residents are living longer and staying healthy”.  

“Suddenly, the elderly were no longer “a timebomb”, or a “drain on resources”, but rather, the aspirational “silver Singaporeans of the pioneer generation”.”

Upon reflection, I couldn’t help but wonder how a society so dependent on their government for cultural context would react to this radical transformation in thinking. From what I could observe, it seems for the foreseeable future, that despite championing ‘active ageing’, damage to public opinion has already been done, and as a marketing student, I believe this will serve as a powerful case study in how not to shape political discourse going forwards. 

So, with Singapore now staring down the barrel towards a future dominated by ageing, will the government’s newfound optimism rub off on its people? Personally, I think it’s a matter of when, not if, Singapore wholeheartedly embraces “glorious ageing”.

As the old Chinese proverb (somewhat) goes, “just remember, once you’re over the hill, you begin to pick up speed”, and for Singapore’s silver segment, the summit is finally within arm’s reach. 

James Sinclair
Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies)
Majoring in Philosophy, Marketing, and International Business

16 January 2018

Allan's Take on the Singapore Immersion Program

The opportunity to participate in the Singapore Immersion Program; under the guidance of our unit coordinator, Dr Jeaney Yip, has extended beyond merely a cultural learning experience. Whilst the obvious takeaways from this experience were those related to my increased understanding of the Singaporean context and culture, I was surprised by the extent to which my softer skills were developed; particularly those of communication, learning, and intercultural competence. As a Business student in an increasingly globalised environment, this program will have a profound effect on my ways of thinking.

My immersive experience began from the moment I arrived in Singapore. What struck me most, aside from the heat and humidity, was the systematic layout of the environment; particularly the placement of trees and plants, as well as the prevalence of Housing and Development Board (HDB) flats – a stark contrast to Australia. Immediately, I realised that, contrary to the sensationalisation of the prevalence of globalisation that I had been taught in classrooms, Singapore and Australia were still completely different countries, despite both being developed nations.

Fig 1. Systematic placement of trees
Fig 2. HDB flats (Tanjong Pagar)

The next formal encounter with Singapore’s cultural context was the ‘About Mr Lee’ tour, which focused on who Mr Lee (the first Prime Minister of Singapore) was as a person. This experience was particularly insightful for my way of ‘learning’ about significant historical figures. Whilst in the pre-departure classes, it was easy to think of Mr Lee as simply another leader in history, being able to personally witness the ‘fruits’ of his visionary ideals for Singapore – exhibited across the physical environment; from the greenery to the carefully planned neighbourhoods, has changed my perceptions of individuals within the context of societies. What I learnt was that the context of Singapore was inextricably tied to this one man’s vision of how Singapore should be – “a garden city…productive…taking the best ideas from different countries” as mentioned by our tour guide Iris (December 4, 2017).

Following this was the ‘Made in Singapore’ tour, which focused on the economic development of Singapore, and how it deals with its limited resource. This largely helped to deepen my understanding of the economic context of Singapore, with one of the most interesting insights being that despite Singapore’s relatively small size and population, the country takes a strong and proactive approach to economic development – with economic planning largely having a long-term focus. This was contrary to my previous perceptions of Singapore, where despite already knowing that Singapore was a strong commercial and business hub, I was taken aback by the innovative means by which this small country dealt with its economic limitations; notably the use of land reclamation (Urban Redevelopment Authority), and urban farming techniques (Edible Farms). This experience has helped me understand the importance of economic development in the Singaporean context, and this was a theme that recurred throughout the rest of the program.

Fig 3. Layout of Singapore's island (Urban Redevelopment Authority)
Fig 4. Urban farming - in-door plantation shelves (Edible Farms)

As a part of the immersion program, the cultural and language classes I attended enriched my understanding of Singapore as an ‘ethnic mosaic’. Prior to this program, I often perceived ‘multiculturalism’ as merely a ‘badge’, at least within the Australian context – one that the country flaunts, but does not practice substantially enough. Contrastingly, ‘multiculturalism’ in Singapore is a ‘practice’ and a way of life with Abdullah describing it as a form of ‘social control’ to direct people towards cultural tolerance and harmony. This enhanced my understanding of the Singaporean cultural and political context by highlighting not only the extent of ‘multiculturalism’ within Singapore, but also the large extent to which the government controls social behaviour to minimise issues related to ‘race’ – and this was seen directly from my visit to the HDB office where I saw how the allocation of HDB flat residences were determined by ethnic quotas.

Fig 5. Screen showing HDB flat availabilities based on ethnic quotas (HDB office)

To facilitate my understanding of ‘start-up culture’ within Singapore, I attended a presentation by ‘Onepip’ (a remittance start-up). Most relevant to my cultural immersion experience was the focus on issues the business faced in its initial stages. Notably, before Onepip could conduct its business in Singapore, it was required to hold a licence that demonstrated it had at least one year of operational experience. This allowed me to re-evaluate my perceptions of Singapore’s political context, from that of being a relatively laissez-faire economy, to one that is actually stringently regulated; and thus, demonstrated the strength and influence of Singaporean government.

My knowledge of ageing within the Singaporean context was both complemented and enriched by my visit to the Ministry of Health (MOH) where I learnt about the various initiatives the Singaporean government was implementing to support an ageing population. Of particular interest was the emphasis on ‘workplace longevity’, which I had previously perceived as merely an ideal, and not an option most of the elderly would follow. However, this was immediately subverted when I witnessed the number of elderly people working in menial labour tasks; particularly in cleaning food court areas, and as cashiers for food vendors. Thus, this solidified my understanding of how Singapore’s perceptions of ageing have changed from that of an ‘ageing tsunami’ to ‘opportunities’ – with the elderly still being encouraged to contribute to the economy. 

Fig 6. Elderly woman working at a market stall (China Town wet markets)

Overall, this immersion program has exposed me to a new form of ‘learning’ – one that is not achievable within the classroom or an industry placement. Being able to immerse myself within the Singaporean culture has deepened and refined my perceptions of Singapore as a context, and I would encourage all future Business School students to consider applying for a New Colombo Plan Program in order to experience a truly unique and immersive learning opportunity.

Allan Yip 
Bachelor of Commerce (Liberal Studies)

12 January 2018

Foresighted father; a cornerstone of modern Singapore

To reflect on the experiences that the New Colombo Plan Singapore Immersion Program 2017 coordinated by Dr Jeaney Yip, has offered, a striking quote sits at the forefront of my mind. As Marcus Garvey stated, “A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” (Afrobella, 2009), of which I have witnessed history and culture to be preserved and deeply entrenched in modern Singapore’s people, policies and place.

Prior to arriving in country, my preconceptions of Singapore were superficial. Singapore is a young country, and so I had not anticipated the cultural diversity and rich history that has moulded society today. Upon arrival, my first observation was the greenery, and soon after it was brought to my attention that the tropical gardens and urban landscaping that we see today is a product of Lee Kwan Yew’s foresighted policy implementation.

Lee Kwan Yew may have envisioned Singapore as a garden city (The Straits Times, 1967), however, today Singapore stands to be a city built within a garden. This is illustrated by figure 1., a photograph of the strategically placed greenery in Singapore’s urban neighbourhoods. The plants and green landscaping serves as both an aesthetic element to Singapore’s landscape as well as a mechanism to reduce the temperature and humidity of the local climate.

Mr Lee was a pragmatic leader, one that was instrumental in ensuring
infrastructure, technology, land and public transport were efficiently allocated to support Singapore’s rapid urbanisation (Kwek & Hung, 2017), and establish a nation that is self-sufficient, and a trade partner that is globally competitive and influential in ASEAN initiatives. This made me reflect on the significant influence that political leaders and their ambitions can have on a country, and the vital role that politicians have in shaping the future of a nation for the better.

Political leaders such as Lee Kwan Yew demonstrated integrity, accountability and charisma to inspire the young, mature and old citizens of Singapore, and continues to do so today as is observed in the tone of our tour guide. Perhaps the most significant influence that Mr Lee has had on the young people of Singapore is in the educational legacy that he leaves behind (Milne & Mauzy, 1990).

The policies that Mr Lee laid down promotes racial harmony and cultural diversity as a central part of the school curriculum, requiring students to learn both English and their mother tongue. Whilst learning Malay at the National University of Singapore (NUS), a quote by one of the lecturers continues to resonate with me until today, it is that cultural tolerance is not the same as cultural harmony, and whilst at the surface I had initially thought otherwise, I soon came to realise how different the two were. As reported by Dialectic Singapore 2016, 43% of Singaporean’s state that they are racially tolerant, whereas 57% indicated that Singaporean’s have achieved racial harmony. Cultural tolerance refers to bearing a different culture without understanding, whereas, cultural harmony refers to accepting and understanding individuals from different cultural backgrounds (Dialectic Singapore, 2016). To me, cultural harmony forms a stronger community, which sets an example for both the children and elderly of Singapore. I mention elderly in this context, as they may have been raised in an age where cultural diversity was not celebrated and racial harmony was unheard of. From this experience I have learnt first-hand the power of uniting people from different cultures and demographics to inspire change, and foster a vibrant city that drives global economic development.

Furthermore, through the series of cultural lectures at NUS I have observed a clear disparity between the way Singaporean’s and Australian’s refer to “race”. In Australia, “race” is not commonly used due to the associated negative connotations, and instead is replaced by “cultural background”. Whereas in Singapore “race” is commonly referenced and promoted by the Singaporean government to preserve the historical cultural roots of Singaporean families today. Singapore adopts the cultural mosaic framework, which refers to the recognition and celebration of different cultures as individual aspects of Singapore’s overall identity (Giam, 2009). Upon reflection, I have noticed that the cultural mosaic framework exists not only as a racial label on citizen identification cards, but also permeates into the observed urban infrastructure. Figure 2. Illustrates the pastel colour schemes favoured by the Peranakan’s. The Peranakan’s seamlessly fused Malay and Chinese cultural practices with aspects of European living, and is demonstrated in the exterior of their homes. The decorated columns and shuttered windows reflect British influences, whereas the accents of calligraphy and foo dogs were inspired by Chinese culture.


However, it was interesting to note that by recognising the many races and ethnicities in Singapore, it became apparent that individuals from similar cultural backgrounds congregated, to the extent that social segregation becomes apparent. 

Overall, the NCP program has been an incredibly rewarding and challenging experience. As a business student my key take away from this experience has been to think fast and flexibly, whilst respecting local cultures. As globalisation continues to expand with improving information and communications technology, this program has both inspired and motivated me to learn and respect the cultural ways of the world to better understand Australia’s trading partners.

Jenny Liu 
Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science student

Reference list
Afrobella. (2009). Remembering old Marcus Garvey. Retrieved December 15, 2017, from http://www.afrobella.com/2009/08/17/remembering-old-marcus-garvey/
Dialectic Singapore. (2016). Has Singapore achieved racial tolerance or harmony. Retrieved December 15, 2017, from http://www.dialectic.sg/discuss/has-singapore-achieved-racial-tolerance-or-harmony
Giam, G. (2009). Singapore: multiculturalism or the melting pot?. Retrieved December 15, 2017, from http://geraldgiam.sg/2009/07/singapore-multiculturalism-or-melting-pot/
Kwek, D., & Hung, D. (2017). Making a common future: Lee Kuan Yew’s values for the 21st century. Lee Kuan Yew’s Educational Legacy, 1, 141-159.
Milne, R., & Mauzy, D. (1990). The legacy of Lee Kuan Yew. Westview Pr.
S’pore to become beautiful, clean city within three years. (1967, May 12). The Straits Times, p. 4. 

7 December 2017

Getting Job Smart

Three students have been awarded 12 week summer internships through the Business School’s Job Smart program. 


Job Smart is a free extracurricular program available for postgraduate Business School students, designed to assist participants in developing work-relevant skills during their studies. Completing one phase per semester, students build up a portfolio of work-relevant experiences by engaging in networking activities and attending professional coaching sessions.

We caught up with two of the recipients, Marilyn Yang and Xu Li, to find out more about their Job Smart experience, and what they are looking forward to when they start their internship with the accounting department at Hilton Hotels.

How did you first hear about the program and why did you decide to participate?
Xu: I remember seeing Job Smart for the first time after receiving the Semester 2 Orientation email from the Business School. After arriving in Sydney we got a brief introduction session about the Job Smart program during Orientation week.

I saw the program as a good opportunity for me to develop employability skills that are not necessarily focused on in my course, but are crucial for every graduate to find a job.

What has been the most valuable part of the Job Smart program?
Marilyn: The most valuable part of Job Smart program is the well-designed activities, prizes and the genuine purpose of helping students. I’ve had the opportunity to undertake some volunteer work, Global Scope Project and now an internship.

The soft skills I have developed, such as time management, communication and teamwork skills, mean a lot to me. I have found a sense of fulfillment as I’ve made improvements and achievements throughout the program, which is a great encouragement for me.

What do you hope to gain from the internship you were awarded?
Marilyn: I hope I can accumulate practical experience and keep pace with the new trend in the accounting world. Developing employability, perceiving Australian workplace culture and building up confidence are also important to me.

Xu: I hope to gain related working experience, develop my interpersonal and other soft skills, and know Australian organisation culture.

How do you think this experience will enhance your future career?
Xu: The internship experiences along with other skills I have developed will equip me with more potential in my future career.

Marilyn: To me, this is the starting point of my accounting career. No matter what kind of job I end up in, this experience will help me identify which accounting field I want to explore further and the soft skills trained in the internship will apply to my future life.

5 December 2017

7 Must Read Business Books of 2017

Do you need a little light reading over the summer? We’ve got you covered with a curated list of the top business books to read, with a little help from the likes of Business Insider’s recommended, McKinsey’s finalists and the Financial Times’ Best books of 2017: Business. There’s a little bit of everything here to peak your curiosity – big data and AI, Apple’s dominance in the smartphone market, and one of the greatest scams to hit Wall Street since the GFC. 


The One Device: The Secret History of the iPhone 

By Brain Merchant 
Merchant delves into the history of the device that has transformed the way people interact with technology and each other. It examines the cultural impact of the iPhone and the developments and breakthroughs in the manufacturing process.

"'The One Device' is a road map for design and engineering genius, an anthropology of the modern age and an unprecedented view into one of the most secretive companies in history. This is the untold account, ten years in the making, of the device that changed everything," the Financial Times says.

The Captain Class: The Hidden Force that Creates the World’s Greatest Teams 

By Sam Walker 
Deputy editor for enterprise at WSJ and former sports columnist, Walker developed a process to determine the 16 greatest professional sports dynasties from around the world from the last century. An in-depth analysis of each influential captain was conducted to identify the commonalities – to identify what it takes to be an elite leader in any field.

"This wonderfully written and wildly entertaining study of the most winning sports teams in history has more to say about leadership, engagement, and the chemistry that sparks and sustains extraordinary achievement than a decade's worth of leadership books," says Strategy + Business reviewer Sally Helgesen.

Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future 

By Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson 
The authors from MIT's Sloan School of Management explain how businesses can best use artificial intelligence and crowd wisdom and how leaders should manage amid these massive technological changes.

"Beneath all the concrete problems it raises, an intriguing question lies at the heart of the book: Given the rise of algorithmic decision making, the ability to outsource tasks to the crowd, and such technologies as blockchain, will the corporation as we know it become obsolete?" writes Strategy + Business reviewer James Surowiecki.


The Spider Network 

By David Enrich 
Here’s the inside scoop into the Libor scandal, the deliberate manipulation of the key banking interest rates, and its spectacular demise.

"'The Spider Network' is the almost-unbelievable and darkly entertaining inside account of the Libor scandal – one of history's biggest, farthest-reaching scams to hit Wall Street since the global financial crisis, written by the only journalist with access to Tom Hayes before he was imprisoned for 14 years," the Financial Times says of its top pick.

Everybody Lies 

By Seth Stephens-Davidowitz 
Harvard-trained economist and former Google data scientist, Stephens-Davidowitz explores the myriad uses of big data and the Internet, and how the very definition of ‘data’ is constantly expanding. Sometimes the new data will deeply disturb you.

"Freakonomics on steroids – this book shows how big data can give us surprising new answers to important and interesting questions. Seth Stephens-Davidowitz brings data analysis alive in a crisp, witty manner, providing a terrific introduction to how big data is shaping social science." writes Raj Chetty, Professor of Economics at Stanford University.

Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change 

By Ellen Pao 
This is Pao’s story of suing Silicon Valley venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for discrimination and a culture of bias. Despite losing the suit, the litigation brought attention to the overwhelmingly white, male culture of Silicon Valley.

"Ellen K. Pao's Reset is a rallying cry – the story of a whistleblower who aims to empower everyone struggling to be heard, in Silicon Valley and beyond," the Financial Times says of its selection.


The Great Leveler 

By Walter Scheidel
Stanford historian, Schediel attempts to trace the history of income inequality throughout the entirety of man’s existence. He argues that the only effective means of closing vast income gaps has been through violent movements.

"Mr. Scheidel's depressing view is bound to upset [those] who quite naturally might prefer to live in a world in which events might move political and social systems to figure out a more equitable way to distribute the fruits of growth without the plague, the guillotine or state collapse."--Eduardo Porter, New York Times

Written by Cindy Ngo.
Current Bachelor of Commerce student at the University of Sydney Business School.