WILLISNEWS Bi-annual newsletter for the Management Consulting program Connecting past and present alumni, students and clients ISSUE 2, JANUARY 2015
WELCOME to the second edition of The Willis News. Once again we had a stellar group of students and clients – 95 students and 19 projects kept us very busy in semester 2, 2014! Thank you once again to everyone for making this program the success that it is. 2015 brings a number of changes. As a result of a University-wide restructure, there are significant changes to the program administration. In addition, we will introduce improvements to the academic curriculum to enhance the experience for both students and industry partners. I will be leaving the Faculty of Business and Economics and the Management Consulting program to take up a role in the School of Engineering. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with such a wide variety of stakeholders over the past five years and I really appreciate
the support and commitment everyone shows to the program – seeing the students grow and learn as they spend 10 weeks with their clients on their projects has been such a rewarding outcome each semester. I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to my colleagues Hayley Wolfert and Amanda Hamilton who will be your new contacts. Hayley will be focusing on industry and employer engagement across a broad range of programs, with Amanda focusing on the Management Consulting program in particular.
Once again, thank you for a wonderful five years. As you also face changes in 2015 I’ll leave you with some wise words from Alan W. Watts: “The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.” Jacqueline Hoare, Capstone Studies Coordinator P.S. Please do keep in touch on LinkedIn: https://au.linkedin.com/ pub/jacqueline-hoare/20/b31/783
PAST STUDENT REFLECTION: DANIEL SIA It’s been over a year now since I completed the subject, but the Management Consulting experience is still vivid as if I had only done my final presentation yesterday. The skills I learned in dealing with ambiguity, the friends and connections I made throughout the project, and the confidence I gained in delivering presentations are still with me today; and growing. The time I spent in the subject has also influenced my plans for the future. It allowed me to have a ‘try-before-you-buy’ experience for a career in consultancy, and it confirmed that it is the path that I wanted to take. I was quite fortunate that I was given the opportunity to intern at the client company in their consultancy arm, and am looking forward to joining them after graduation to build a career in management consulting.
inside this issue
An alternative to the Fair Trade label: WithOneBean
Stepping out of the comfort zone
Where are they now? Su-Kim Macdonald and Amied Shadmaan
The year ahead
An alternative to the Fair Trade label: WithOneBean By Lieanto Agnisetiadi and Bobbi Hu Yue
In contemporary society, Australians have become more socially aware of the products they consume which has led to a boom in social enterprises. One of the fastest growing products stemming from this boom is fair trade labelled goods. The fair trade label is a product certification to meet environmental, labour and developmental standards. Fairtrade International is one of the leading global certification agencies but has received mixed reviews since its inception. Criticisms have tended to embody themes related to the cost and the time-consuming accreditation process required to gain certification.
Some commentators have even suggested that there are unintended consequences associated with the way certifications are conducted as they fail to address core poverty issues as well as creating additional problems.
Further issues may arise from the lack of transparency; especially profit redistributions to the community that compromise the confidence that consumers have towards fair trade labels.
WithOneBean returns 100% of the profits from coffee sales to environmental and educational projects in Timor Leste.
SOCIAL ENTERPRISES: AN ALTERNATIVE Social enterprises are committed to employing commercial strategies to create real social impact in underprivileged communities rather than having a sole focus on profit maximisation for shareholders. In other words, using social enterprises as transactional vehicles, consumers can achieve social outcomes using their purchasing power for the products or services they require. Apart from helping to improve the living standard of impoverished farmers by increasing their income, most coffee-related social enterprises also provide complete financial transparency to show the allocation of cash flows, which many not-for-profit (NFP) organisations do not. This operating model is very different from standard business structures and NFP organisations. The xpand Foundation is a social enterprise with primary aims to promote social and economic participation for disadvantaged communities in Timor Leste through its oversight of various environmental and community empowerment initiatives. WithOneBean is the xpand Foundation’s latest program which seeks to: (1) develop the capability of subsistence farmers in growing premium coffee beans, (2) facilitate commercial arrangements that deliver fairer prices to producers, and (3) establish an end-to-end supply chain model that returns 100% of the profits to the Timor communities.
consumers have sought both quality and competitive pricing within the coffee product market. However, as social awareness increases, many Australians have started to realise the social imperative of fair trade leading to a shift in consumer preferences towards the niche ethical product segments. Social enterprises have identified opportunities to gain a share of the profits for social reinvestment. They strive to achieve this by helping farmers to improve the flavour of their coffee to enhance the competitiveness of their products in the Australian market. Alternate operating models include selling coffee in mass quantities where lower quality is accepted such as for instant coffee production.
TARGET MARKETS FOR STARTUP SOCIAL ENTERPRISES
AUSTRALIAN COFFEE INDUSTRY
As part of our project, we proposed three options for target markets. Firstly, engaging students to sell ethicallysourced coffee offers an alternative to common school fundraisers such as chocolate and confectionary fundraising drives. The benefit of engaging students to sell coffee is that they gain the educational opportunity to connect students with Timor Leste. This encourages high involvement in advancing the social cause, whilst providing a healthier alternative to common school fundraisers.
Coffee sales in Australia have increased steadily as the country’s café culture has gained momentum and popularity. This has resulted in a highly saturated market where
White collar workers are among one of the largest consumers of coffee and hence our second proposal was to establish a stronger rapport with coffee retailers who operate in
corporate offices. WithOneBean’s strength is its ability to induce social procurement — increasing the brand equity of a company by association — as well as its acceptable price, quality, and potential for a long-lasting partnership. Finally, an opportunity that cannot be overlooked is the rising demand for coffee in international markets such as China. The growing middle class in China and their rising preference of coffee over tea presents significant opportunities to establish a brand presence. Given the rise of the social enterprise, WithOneBean is well positioned to grow and become a sustainable project of the xpand Foundation in the long-run. Coffee can be ordered for corporate consumption, community and school fundraising via: http://withonebean.org.au
Stepping out of the comfort zone By Aloysio Rebello Imagine yourself being an exchange student in a class of 100 students, the only one from your country and perhaps even the only one from your continent. To compound this, you are allocated to a team of students you have never met, and a project and client that you know nothing about.
As we started our project, everything seemed to be running smoothly: we got to know each other within the team, we defined a more specific scope for the project and we started to understand each other’s working styles, skills and experience. However, halfway through the semester, an unexpected legislative change took place that significantly impacted our project. As a result we started to question whether we needed to change all the work we had done thus far, as we still need to present an effective solution to our client. At this stage, I felt lost… The whole team felt lost. Fortunately, being part of a dynamic academic environment that supported our growth and was always there to help, made all the difference. Even though I had two previous experiences with internships at management consulting companies, I had never considered the importance of my mindset as a consultant. In our first lecture when our subject coordinator Austin introduced us to this concept, I didn’t pay much attention, but as soon as we realised how our mindset could impact the project, our story started to change and we were able to overcome this challenge. After a meeting with Austin, we realised that all we needed to do was to believe in ourselves and in all the work we had been pulling together. This actually did make a difference and was the driving factor in developing our recommendations and solution for the
client. We realized that we had already gathered all the information we needed and started to connect the dots. Also, some ideas we had previously dismissed due to our fixed mindset turned out to be not only feasible but also the best strategies to recommend to our client. It is unquestionable that my biggest learning and takeaway from this subject was regarding the consultant’s mindset and the cognitive aspects of the role. Looking back now I can easily say that choosing this subject was one of my best choices during my exchange year at the University of Melbourne. Being able to apply all the knowledge obtained in the classroom in a real strategic project was an amazing and unique experience. It was interesting working in teams of five people from three different continents, trying to connect ideas from
completely different trains of thought, to create an effective and interesting solution for our client. We had such a great time together that we even decided to join some business case competitions during the semester to work together again and get a bit more of experience in consulting cases! I believe now more than ever in something that a friend of mine once said: “There’s no difference between personal development and professional development. In the end, your personal choices will be influenced by your professional development and vice-versa”. I can assure you that the Management Consulting subject experience will easily take your life and career to new levels, taking you out of your comfort zone and making you ready for new and bigger challenges.
There’s no difference between personal development and professional development. In the end, your personal choices will be influenced by your professional development and vice-versa.
This is how I felt in my first Management Consulting class at the University of Melbourne in semester 2, 2014. It was a little scary at first, and to be honest, it got even worse in those first weeks. However I knew that getting out of my comfort zone was never supposed to be easy.
Aloysio has been attending the University of Melbourne as an exchange student from Brazil.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
Amied Shadmaan Amied Shadmaan completed the subject in semester 2, 2013, working on a project for Telstra. He graduated mid-2014 with a major in finance. We asked him to reflect on his experience in this subject. What was your most memorable moment in the subject?
So what are you doing with yourself these days?
My most memorable moment would have to be presenting our recommendations to the Retail Finance Division head and twelve other associates. The 20 minute presentation culminated all that we had learnt over the semester – to then impress some senior members of the team with our findings made the experience all the more rewarding.
I am a Financial Management Program (FMP) graduate at GE. The program runs for 2 years and involves rotations through various businesses learning how to run them from a financial perspective. I am enjoying work immensely, much like the Management Consulting course, work provides the challenges of problem solving and the reward of constant learning. To keep balanced, I love doing yoga every day, playing tennis and swimming in the evenings and on weekends.
If you had to describe your experience in the subject in three words, what would they be? Perplexing (at times), gratifying and highly-informative.
Any words of wisdom for new students doing the subject? Network. Build relationships with people by attending events at university, join
Amied with his teammates at the Telstra offices (L-R): Thao To, Lynette Chong, Aidi Zhong, Amied Shadmaan, Tim Rawling
a student organisation and attend employer presentations. All of these activities will not only benefit your interpersonal skills development, but will likely be the source of your future employment opportunities.
Su-Kim Macdonald Su-Kim Macdonald completed the subject in semester 1, 2014, working on a project for Beeline. She has just completed her final semester and will graduate with a double major in management and economics. We asked her to reflect on her experience in this subject. What was your most memorable moment in the subject? My most memorable moment in the subject was presenting our research to the Beeline team at the end of our placement. I was incredibly surprised and proud of our ability to answer questions that the Beeline staff asked regarding our research and our presentation, and it really proved how all of our hard work had come together and paid off! It was great to see that the work that we did was actually relevant and useful to Beeline, and I am incredibly lucky to have shared this experience with such an amazing group of people! So what are you doing with yourself these days? I’ve just finished my final semester of a Bachelor of Commerce, and
Su-Kim with her teammates and Beeline client facilitators (L-R): Jessica Taylor (Beeline), Elizabeth Hughes (Beeline), Yijeng Chen, Dung Ly, Su-Kim Macdonald and Benjamin Lee. Missing: Ning Xia.
hopefully I’ll be moving into a Master of Commerce (Management) in 2015 with hopes to complete a PhD at the Melbourne Business School looking into optimal organisational responses to different climate change policies across to the world. Any words of wisdom for new students doing the subject? Be organised, sit down with your team early on and set expectations. Map out all your assessment tasks in your first meeting and set some basic deadlines for your team, allowing extra time at the end to edit. Take the progress notes seriously – they are incredibly useful and are in the subject for a reason! Be ambitious with the deadlines that you
If you had to describe your experience in the subject in three words, what would they be? Beneficial, challenging and educational! set for yourself – you can always cut back if you need to later, but if you push yourself, you won’t regret it. Make sure you play to each of your team member’s strengths while still allowing them the opportunity to develop their weaknesses. Above all, look after your group mates! Communication is key, and as long as you support each other through the process, you’ll have an amazingly positive experience!
THE YEAR AHEAD
2015 marks the beginning of some exciting new changes in the Management Consulting program. There will be some new faces, new clients and a new curriculum; all designed and aligned to reflect the changing requirements of our industry partners and the learning needs of our students. On the teaching front I am pleased to be introducing Mr Andrew Zur and Mr Paul Wiseman who will be joining the teaching team as coaches and will be working directly with students on their projects and their professional and learning development. This new layer of direct learning support will ensure that students are given every opportunity to master critical consulting skills, translate existing knowledge to practice, build their confidence and to fully realise the multitude of benefits offered in this innovative industry-based program. On a sadder note, it is with mixed feeling that I bid farewell to Ms Jacqui Hoare who has been a pillar of professional integrity and administrative efficiency in the program over the last five years. As she steps into her new role with the
School of Engineering, she leaves the Management Consulting program in fantastic shape. We have more student applications, stronger client relationships and more proactive alumni outreach than ever before; achievements that are testament to Jacquiâ€™s tireless efforts over the years. We are thrilled to be joined by Hayley Wolfert and Amanda Hamilton who will be taking over from Jacqui. Finally, I would like to congratulate the students last semester for their stellar efforts. For many (if not all) students, Iâ€™m sure that your Management Consulting experience will stand out as one of the highlights of your time at university. I look forward to an exciting year ahead and working with our clients and our new intake of students in the upcoming semester.
Austin Chia Subject Director of Management Consulting, Lecturer in Management
OUR SUPPORTERS Semester 2, 2014 clients: Australasian Retail Credit Association
LOOKING TO HOST A STUDENT TEAM? The Management Consulting subject runs twice a year: Ĺ—4FNFTUFSFBSMZ.BSDIUPMBUF.BZ Ĺ—4FNFTUFSFBSMZ"VHVTUUPMBUF0DUPCFS Confirmation of projects is sought approximately three months before each offering commences. To get involved, please contact: Hayley Wolfert, Employment and Enrichment Services Consultant Email: email@example.com Phone: (03) 9035 6707
Benetas Channel 31 Deloitte ESH Group Grant Thornton Great Australian Mushroom Company Kikki.K Medibank Melbourne Rebels The Ranelagh Club The Difference Incubator
We are pleased to announce Silvia Nuccio as the inaugural winner of the A.T. Kearney Australia Prize for Management Consulting for 2014. Silvia completed the subject in semester 1, 2014 working on a project for Deloitte. The prize is awarded to the student with the highest grade in the subject across the year. Silvia graduated in 2014 with a Bachelor of Commerce with majors economics and finance, as well as a Diploma of Mathematical Sciences. She is currently working as a graduate at Deloitte. Congratulations Silvia!
The Mind Room Telstra Victorian Rugby Union xpand Foundation
ARE YOU A BACHELOR OF COMMERCE STUDENT LOOKING TO DO THIS SUBJECT? Students are selected for this subject via a competitive application process. Applications open in Week 9 of the preceding semester. For more information: http://fbe.unimelb.edu.au/ csc/experience/capstone/ management_consulting fbe-capstonestudies@unimelb. edu.au