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ISSUE 3, JULY 2015


Willis News Bi-annual newsletter for the Management Consulting program. Connecting past and present alumni, students and clients.



Mariko Tanaka & Madeleine Beard WHERE ARE THEY NOW?

Jacqui Shemer & Lucy Susilo


Amanda Ralph


“I believe this subject is a great way for students to transition from what we learn in the how we would successfully apply and build our knowledge within the team-driven workforce.”

Welcome Welcome to the third edition of The Willis News. This bi-annual newsletter hopes to connect current students and clients of Management Consulting to past clients and alumni of the program. We hope that this newsletter highlights the great achievements that have come out of the program from this semester and past intakes. The most recent Management Consulting group produced some fantastic projects, a couple of which were showcased at our recent thank you function in front of our students and business hosts. We had 60 students participate in the program, working on 14 different projects. Feedback from our students has once again shown that whilst this subject is challenging, the experience of working on a project for a client is invaluable and worthwhile. In this edition, we will be popping in on some past students to see what they are up to post Management Consulting. We have an exciting feature article which highlights the project completed for SecondBite, written by one of the group members. We also caught up with one of our past hosts to find out her thoughts on what the real benefits are of being involved in the program from an industry perspective. To conclude, we would like to recognise the commitment and hard work that students and clients, past and present, have put into making this subject a great success. We look forward to this program continuing and growing our alumni and client network.

Mariko Tanaka Management Consulting has always been a dream career path and so the subject was something I wanted to undertake since the first year of my degree. I am pleased to say that it was one of the best subject experiences I had!

Austin via Subject Director

Amanda Marotta Industry Programs Consultant

One of the greatest challenges, and an area in which I derived the most personal development, was the improvement of my soft skillset. Teamwork is imperative and your interpersonal skills play a significant role in the successful completion of the subject. Unlike the majority of theory heavy subjects offered within my degree, Management Consulting was unique in that communication and the management of relationships was of foremost importance.

autonomy over the end solution and how it was derived. The onus of correspondence was left to the teams, including weekly meetings with clients and staff. I am grateful to have gained exposure to such a process. I believe this subject is a great way for students to transition from what we learn in the classroom – which is predominantly an individual undertaking – to how we would successfully apply and build our knowledge within the team-driven workforce.

We were provided with the general guidelines and concepts of how to solve our client’s proposal. Whilst team coaches were incredibly supportive and ready to help, groups had complete

Undertaking Management Consulting has better equipped me for life after graduation, thus I would highly recommend it to future students.



However the good does not stop here. An often forgotten cost of sending our food waste to landfill is the energy, water and land that have gone into producing the food. Land that could have been used to shelter homeless families is wasted. Water that could have been used to quench the thirst of the impoverished is lost. The energy and manpower put into producing this food has been in vain. Furthermore the greenhouse gases emitted from sending food to landfill are trapped in the atmosphere, slowly destroying our planet.

Take a second look at food waste with SecondBite

By reinjecting ‘would-be waste’ back into the food chain SecondBite is not only feeding hungry mouths, it is also saving the earth’s finite resources, ensuring they are being stretched as far as possible. Elaine Montegriffo; SecondBite CEO, explained in her article Our Food System is Broken – But it can be Fixed that “with every million kilogram of food rescued SecondBite saves 74 million litres of water (enough to fill 40 Olympic sized pools), six million kilojoules of energy (equivalent to leaving a television on for over 1,200 years), and six million kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions (more than 900 flights from Melbourne to Perth).”


Social enterprises

Each year in Australia eight billion dollars of edible food is thrown away. Of the food we purchase each year, 20% is turned into waste and given over to landfill. At the same time, two million Australians identify themselves as ‘food insecure’. Two million Australians; enough to fill the MCG 20 times, are regularly running out of food. With so much waste, and so much want, something must be done. Bridging the gap

Where’s the waste?

Stepping in to bridge the gap between insecurity and excess is SecondBite. Formed 10 years ago SecondBite has rapidly grown to become a household name. Their partnership with Coles and associated ambassadors has enabled them to redistribute over 12.6 million kilograms of surplus food to community programs around Australia that support the homeless, youth at risk, and women and families in crisis. SecondBite is committed to rescuing nutritious food and ensuring that vulnerable Australians have access to healthy food that will improve their wellbeing.

In Australia, the majority of food wastage occurs at the consumer end of the food supply chain. When food is deemed ‘unfit for sale’, but not unfit for human consumption, SecondBite is the first port of call for major supermarkets and farmers. Predominantly working with a volunteer base, SecondBite members tirelessly filter through daily deliveries to identify appropriate items for the food insecure. This is then redistributed to relevant programs, meaning hungry mouths can be fed on a daily basis.


The Student Nicholas Kalfas is a third year Bachelor of Commerce student majoring in accounting and management. He completed the subject in Semester 1 2015, working on a project for SecondBite along with team-members Julia Rambaldi, Samantha Khin and Sylvia Jahn. The Project SecondBite directed the Management Consulting student group to develop a social enterprise idea that could provide a longterm sustainable income to support the operational costs of SecondBite’s core work.

As a result of their rapid growth SecondBite is faced with the challenge of funding their expanding operations. Whilst donations are often generous in nature, and volunteers sacrifice much of their time, this cannot be solely relied upon if SecondBite is to continue driving nationwide change. SecondBite is therefore seeking to align themselves with a social enterprise that reflects their core purpose of saving wasted food.

“...with every million kilogram of food rescued SecondBite saves 74 million litres of water...” Currently SecondBite is saving food from land-fill at the retail end of the food supply chain. But what about the food that never makes it to our shelves? The food that does not meet our cosmetic standards yet, nutritionally, has nothing wrong with it. This waste is now the target of SecondBite’s social enterprise, as they seek to create a unique juice brand from unsightly fruit and vegetables through the medium of a juice truck. Fruit and vegetables that have ‘a blemish here’ or ‘a spot there’ will be turned into a nutritional product with proceeds reinvested into SecondBite in order to enable them to continue aiding the food insecure. Changing perceptions: the emergence of food trucks

SecondBite has identified this trend and are seeking to take advantage of it for the greater good of all Australians. When you couple this with the fact that Australians are seeking to eat healthier, it becomes clear that a gap in the market has appeared. Mix in the fact that Australians are amongst the most generous people in the world and are seeking to purchase socially responsible products, and a legitimate business model has been produced. Moving forward Whilst operating a food truck may appear simple there are countless challenges associated with running a successful enterprise. Operating a juice truck is highly seasonal and dependent upon the climate. Questions arise such as what if we encounter another drought or severe flooding affects crops? What do you do during the winter months? Whilst competitors are limited, their existence and market share may drive away sales. What happens if it takes longer to build a customer base than earlier anticipated? In a market so full of uncertainty and doubt can anyone succeed? Many would say no, but an organisation that has provided hungry Australians with 25 million meals might have something to say about that.

In 2009 Melbourne’s first food truck tentatively rolled into Australia’s food capital. Now, six years later, 117 different trucks have firmly parked themselves in the middle of Melbourne’s food scene. They are here and they are here to stay, with many critics now considering them an integral part of Melbourne’s culinary culture. The ease and convenience of operating a food truck has attracted many different vendors to attempt this new business model. A food truck offers unparalleled mobility and accessibility as vendors invert the traditional method of dining – now the food goes where it is demanded.

“...has enabled them to redistribute over 12.6 million kilograms of surplus food...” 4


Madeleine Beard In our first lecture we were told that having the right mindset and remaining in a positive headspace would be critical to achieving success in Management Consulting. This piece of advice was spot on. Management Consulting would go on to confront myself and my team with an array of challenges that we had largely never experienced before, however with the right mindset our team never saw any challenge as too difficult to overcome.

My team was made up of other students I had never met; it was a unique experience to be part of a team where all members were new to each other. I initially felt daunted about whether we would be able to collaborate successfully. Nevertheless, we established relationships that allowed for our discussions throughout the semester to be marked by a sense of openness. Whilst this meant that there were differences of opinion, this was a benefit as it led to rational decision making. The experience challenged me to work with individuals who approached tasks differently from me. In one of the final class workshops we reflected on each other’s skills and I realised how the diverse contributions and strengths of each team member had been crucial to the overall success of our project. Our team was commissioned to complete a consulting project for Incogo; a start-up firm which had recently launched a social media platform. When we received the brief we were excited at the idea of working with a start-up firm on a new marketing plan but also overwhelmed by the task we had been set. After all, did we have the skills required to complete this project successfully for Incogo? At that exact point in time, probably not! However, the lectures and workshops were a learning opportunity to discover those skills, and guided us throughout the process of consulting. The consultations with the team coaches allowed us to gain direct constructive feedback on our work, and when I felt tense about the ambiguous tasks that lay ahead, the consultations would provide me with greater certainty. Before attending the first client meeting at Incogo I remember feeling apprehensive about the smallest of things, such as whether I was wearing


“...our final client meeting concluded with a presentation to their team of founders and directors. This experience was the highlight...� the appropriate dress attire. However these feelings were quickly eased after meeting the Incogo team, who were welcoming and keen to tell us all about their business venture. Together we defined a clear project scope, which proved extremely important as it provided focus and direction. The Incogo team imparted their expertise and experiences, and provided us with feedback. I believe that working with such passionate individuals made my desire to complete the project to the best of my abilities even stronger. After meeting with the Incogo team weekly, our final client meeting concluded with a presentation to their team of founders and directors. This experience was the highlight of Management Consulting as it demonstrated how far both my team and I had come. Firstly, I had learnt so much about the area of consulting, from the importance of gathering sufficient data to how to create a consulting presentation with impact. Secondly, the success of our presentation signified that we had overcome the hurdles that occurred during the project, and were now in a position to deliver findings and recommendations to Incogo with conviction. Furthermore, our final presentation symbolised to me the personal growth I had gained from this experience. In particular, I realised that my confidence had grown as I thoroughly enjoyed presenting to our client. Participating in Management Consulting has by far been the greatest challenge yet in my commerce degree. It was an invaluable experience that has developed my professional and personal skillset, better equipped me for the future, and shown me the importance of a strong mindset when working on challenging tasks.



Jacqui Shemer Jacqui Shemer completed the subject in Semester 2 2013, working on a project for SHK. She graduated in 2013 with a double major in management and marketing. We asked her to reflect on her experience in this subject. What was your most memorable moment in the subject?

So what are you doing with yourself these days?

My team had never met before, so we were essentially a group of strangers joining forces to solve a problem of commercial significance. We were overwhelmed by the task ahead. The first couple of months were perplexing - and then one day, it just clicked! All of the information started to make sense. I will never forget the triumphant feeling of realising that it was all coming together in a very meaningful way.

I am working for Lion Co. in the Milk Based Beverages team. I started as a graduate 16 months ago. I worked across the re-launch of our flavoured milk brands nationally, including the development of new packaging and advertising. I am now Assistant Brand Manager for Masters and Moove, and I absolutely love it!

Our team became closer and the project really flourished. We spent weekends working through our responses, eating pizza and hanging out. Presenting at the final lecture was the perfect culmination to an unforgettable semester of Management Consulting.

Jacqui now works for Lion Co. and personal comfort zones. Think of logical yet creative solutions and deliver the best presentation you can (start practising early if you dislike public speaking!) Management Consulting is a rigorous yet exhilarating subject.

Any words of wisdom for new students doing the subject? Create opportunities for yourself. Be proactive and seek mentorship. Immerse yourself in the subject, and find ways to make your research relevant to society at large so that it is meaningful to you as you start your career. Don’t be afraid to take risks, step outside of your academic

If you had to describe your experience in the subject in three words, what would they be? Enlightening. Thought-provoking. Fulfilling.

Amanda Ralph

Lucy Susilo Lucy Susilo completed the subject in Semester 2 2013, working on a project for Deloitte. She graduated in 2013 with a double major in accounting and marketing. We asked her to reflect on her experience in this subject. What was your most memorable moment in the subject?

So what are you doing with yourself these days?

When we received positive feedback from our client that the presentation exceeded their expectations, that the team was knowledgeable, and that we had managed to propose a solution that solved the problem we had been presented. After hearing this I was ecstatic and relieved. All of our hard work had paid off.

I am the Product Sales Lead at a technology start-up in Singapore called Rainmaker Labs, where I lead the sales team and product team. I am focussing on improving a Rainmaker Labs platform ‘Beacon Management System’ and I am also working to push the quality of our revenue. I have worked in project management, product life-cycle, IT infrastructure and mobile technology.

I am also very interested in the entertainment industry, so I’m busy preparing to apply to business schools which will hopefully pave my way into this sector. Any words of wisdom for new students doing the subject? Pay attention and put the lessons from the lectures into practice. In particular, the taught frameworks are very useful when dealing with business problems and pitching your product or solution to a client. Build connections not only with your client, but also with your teammates and teachers. Own your presentation and the report, you can talk about it during job interviews and impress your interviewers.

If you had to describe your experience in the subject in three words, what would they be? Enriching. Practical. Best subject. Grace Fong, Daniel Sia, Brian Sebastian, Lucy Susilo, Eliza Pearce, Junting Lee and Stephanie Tanti


“I’m impressed by students who have not been afraid to probe and ask questions – respectfully and professionally.”

Amanda Ralph is Head of Product at Kinetic Super. She has personally hosted three Management Consulting teams whilst working as Head of Corporate Portfolio at Medibank and as Head of Strategic Market Planning (Director) at KPMG.

A successful team also needs balance; someone who can communicate and take the lead with the client, and some who are more comfortable with the analytics. They should collaborate and work together.

What are the benefits of being involved in Management Consulting from an industry perspective?

What kind of personal qualities do students need in order to be successful in Management Consulting?

Any words of wisdom for new students considering Management Consulting?

The students are incredibly bright and have a lot of energy. They are intelligent and well connected within their own peer groups. They bring a fresh perspective and approach, which is very valuable.

Students need to have an open mind; the program is based around solving business problems for clients, and so the client expectation is that the students will bring with them a framework with which to solve, analyse and understand that problem. We provide context and information but the students need the core skills to analyse and frame-up possible solutions and options.

At Medibank, the Management Consulting students provided a management opportunity for junior managers who didn’t have direct reports. It helped the junior managers to understand how to set expectations and communicate requirements clearly, how to give feedback, guide, steer and coach – skills you need as a people leader. Opportunities to directly manage people can be limited as organisations are flatter. Management Consulting provides an opportunity for our staff to develop skills in that space.

I’m impressed by students who have not been afraid to probe and ask questions – respectfully and professionally. In a real life context when you employ consultants you are paying them a substantial fee, so as a client I expect that when a consultant leaves the room they know exactly what they are expected to deliver, and will go away and do it. The onus is on the students to make sure they know and understand what they’re expected to do.

Management Consulting is a great subject; it gives you a taste of the real world of business, which is really important. Even if you don’t go into management consulting, you’re still an ‘internal consultant’ - expected to do different things across the business you’re in. I’ve seen some teams work better than others. The better teams embrace each other’s differences to the advantage of the group. This is the reality of work; you don’t know who your workmates will be but you have to work together to get things done. The students also learn to manage and navigate ambiguity. I still keep in touch with some Management Consulting students, from my first team in particular. We’re connected on LinkedIn, I’ve provided references, and I enjoy watching how their careers progress.



Key Staff

Our supporters




Austin Chia

Amanda Marotta

> Deloitte

Subject Director of Management Consulting, Lecturer in Management

Industry Programs Consultant

> Disney > Grant Thornton > Incogo

Paul Wiseman

Hayley Wolfert

> Kikki-K

Academic Coach

Employment and Enrichment Services Consultant

> Medibank > Melbourne Rebels > Neit Corporation

Andrew Zur

Clementine Bendle-Thompson

Academic Coach

Employment and Enrichment Support Officer

> Papercloud > SecondBite > Telstra > The Mind Room

Looking to host a student team? The Management Consulting subject runs twice a year: > SEMESTER 1: Early March to late May

> SEMESTER 2: Early August to late October

Confirmation of projects is sought approximately three months before each offering commences. To get involved, please contact: Hayley Wolfert Employment and Enrichment Services Consultant


Phone: (03) 9035 6707

We are pleased to continue to partner with respected global management consulting firm A.T. Kearney.


From 2014, the A.T. Kearney Australia Prize will be awarded to the student with the highest mark in this subject each year. A number of our program alumni have gone onto successful consulting careers at A.T. Kearney and we look forward to an ongoing relationship in the years to come.

Students are selected for this subject via a competitive entry process. Applications open in Week 9 of the preceding semester. For more information: csc/experience/capstone/ management_consulting fbe-capstonestudies@unimelb.

The Willis News [Issue 3, 2015]  

Issue 3, July 2015. The bi-annual newsletter for the Management Consulting program run by the Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) at the...

The Willis News [Issue 3, 2015]  

Issue 3, July 2015. The bi-annual newsletter for the Management Consulting program run by the Faculty of Business and Economics (FBE) at the...