La Trobe Business School

Month: April 2016

LBS’s A/Professor Suzanne Young featured on ABC Radio’s Victoria Country Hour

Dr Suzanne Young La Trobe Business School La trobe Management Head of Department Marketing Management

On 29 April 2016, Associate Professor Suzanne Young, Head of LBS’s Department of Management and Marketing, was featured on ABC Rural Radio’s Victoria Country Hour. She spoke to the programme’s host about the class action Slater and Gordon is considering taking against Murray Goulburn, whether it would be possible for the entire board of Murray Goulburn to resign at once, and where the responsibility for a profit downgrade would ultimately lie.

Listen to the complete fragment on ABC Rural Radio’s website.

Succeeding in LBS’s Bachelor of Business at Shepparton, and LTU’s Graduate Program: Testimonial from Cameron Fletcher

Cameron Fletcher-0342
By Cameron Fletcher

I studied La Trobe Business School’s Bachelor of Business with a double major in Management and Marketing at the Shepparton Campus of La Trobe University. I chose La Trobe University because I felt that I identify with the LTU Mission statement very strongly, especially in regards to global citizenship and sustainability. I have always been interested in environmental issues and advanced technology. I think we’re living in a very interesting and important point in time. You look around and see all the issues we face in regards to climate change and wonder where we are heading. But also watching the rise of green energy and all the new things people are doing to try to lower our impact and reverse the damage is quite astounding. The car industry in particular I find amazing with the rise of Tesla & Formula E with electric cars and with Formula 1 and Le Mans prototypes now running Hybrids at the same speeds as before. It’s very captivating and I was glad that I had several teachers at La Trobe University who were driven and interested in new ideas, and who also made an effort to include these issues in their teaching content.

I feel like it was this drive that also motivated me and my fellow students to take part in the LTU graduate program as well. I was lucky enough to be in a class that had the right mix of ambitious youngsters looking to start careers and mature age professionals coming back to further their career. In my view, this combination was essential in my learning experience, being able to work in conjunction with people who had industry experience. It definitely led me to meet with the program coordinator, which in turn led to an interview.

So far, the graduate position has been great. I have just finished my first placement in the Digital, ASSC College and Media & Communications team in La Trobe University’s marketing department, and I have just started my second rotation. The way it works is that we spend four months in three departments of La Trobe University, getting a chance to work in several areas which interest us. I have learnt a lot in my first four months working in the programme. I learned technical skills around using Content Management Systems (CMS) during my time in digital marketing, and I refined skills to develop original content and learned how to use a brand writing style when writing for different audiences. Through this, I also became aware of what stakeholder management involves and how I would handle situations where there are a lot of expectations from different parties.

In each team I had an opportunity to work on interesting projects with great people. Some projects I’ve been a part of in my current rotation include the redevelopment of the MBA page, implementation of new content and design for the website, and assisting in the organisation of media projects such as the new Bold Thinking Series. It was fascinating to see these initiatives from a behind-the-scenes perspective, and I have learned a lot about project planning by seeing projects pass through different department before being finalised. It made me realise how important it is to take things slowly. Often you see people fresh into the workforce trying to rush everything, which leads to a lot of unnecessary mistakes. Taking your time, and learning to do things properly, will save you a lot of preventable extra work down the track. It is good to learn the essential skills you need in the position and, over time, the pace you can efficiently work at will increase. My grandfather, who was a builder for most of his life, always used the motto “measure twice, cut one”. This piece of advice has been invaluable to me, and it is something I have always remembered when accessing my work.

I think what’s important in a fulfilling a job is that you don’t feel overwhelmed, and that you have a good team around. A positive environment and having work which provides meaning to you, can make a huge difference in my eyes. If you have these things, I think work can be quite enjoyable, which encourages you to do better.

LBS Associate Professor Buly Cardak receives prestigious NCSEHE research grant

Buly Cardak La Trobe Business School
LBS Associate Professor Buly Cardak has been awarded a research grant by the National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education. The NCSEHE grant funding of $39,000 is for the project “Factors influencing participation and migration of regional higher education students”, and is a collaboration with Mr Matt Brett, Senior Manager – Higher Education Policy at La Trobe University and Dr Mark Bowden, Senior Lecturer at Swinburne University of Technology.

The National Centre for Student Equity in Higher Education

The NCSEHE’s purpose is to inform public policy design and implementation, and institutional practice, in order to improve higher education participation and success for marginalised and disadvantaged people. The centre strives to close the gap between Equity Policy, Research & Practice.

Project Abstract

Students of regional origin in Australia continue to experience inferior educational outcomes to the rest of the population and are under-represented in higher education. Associate Professor Buly Cardak’s project (in collaboration with Mr Matt Brett and Dr Mark Bowden) will improve our understanding of the factors affecting regional student university participation and completion. The project will focus on two issues, repeatedly raised as key factors driving the decisions of regional students: (i) higher education costs; and (ii) the need relocate to pursue some programs of study. The project will be data driven and will draw on the Longitudinal Survey of Australian Youth and higher education administrative data collection in order to undertake the analysis.

LBS’s Jan Libich and Liam Lenten talk gerontocracies: what does it mean for the future?

Recently, La Trobe Business School academics Jan Libich and Liam Lenten were featured in the Australian Financial Review speaking about gerontocracies. The idea that society is moving towards a gerontocracy – meaning a society where older people exercise control, or dominate – is real, thanks to the baby boomer generation. In European countries like Belgium and Germany, the government is struggling to finance public pension expenditures, and to provide healthcare to an increasingly aging population.

So what measures can a country take to combat this dynamic? In the article the two researchers published together, Jan Libich and Liam Lenten argue for making voting optional after voters have hit the retirement age: “Making voting optional for elderly Australians can be seen as a democratic way of correcting the political implications of demographic skews. By better balancing the intergenerational contract, the proposed arrangement would lead to public policies that are fairer, more sustainable, and conducive to future economic growth.”

Read the complete article on the Australian Financial Review’s website.

Changing the course of your career


Changing careers can feel intimidating, but it’s not impossible. As American entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said, ‘If you don’t like where you are then change it. You are not a tree.’

In fact, you don’t even have to dislike your current job to want a change. Whatever your reason for seeking a new career path, postgraduate study is a good way to go about it, as demonstrated by two people who told us their stories.

From agronomist to lobbyist

Former agronomist Sam Birrell is now the CEO of a major regional lobbying organisation, the Committee for Greater Shepparton. He was encouraged to apply for that position while working in irrigated agriculture.

The move was a big change from a technical profession to CEO, and the transition wasn’t easy. ‘I enjoyed my previous job and felt a real connection to the company. You also analyse ‘what is the worst that could happen?’ – that you’ll fail in the job and have to re-start.’

Although Sam enjoyed his job, he had ambitions beyond that technical role. He’d already begun to study an MBA and the prospect of the lobbying position was exciting.

‘I just needed the confidence to take the leap and an understanding that I would need to learn and understand concepts outside my comfortable areas of knowledge.’

Was the hard work worth it? ‘Of course,’ says Sam, adding that he feels even more confident and excited by his new role, with ‘a sense of obligation to those who have selected me in this position and the region I represent.’

From butcher to teacher

Teacher Brock Chapman made a huge shift, too. Nine years ago, he was a butcher in Bundoora, managing the local supermarket’s meat department. When his wife Louise graduated from La Trobe University with a degree in environmental science and biology, they moved to Mildura, where she’d landed a job.

Mildura, it turned out, was all full up with meat managers. Brock had to find a new career.

‘I didn’t want to go back to being a butcher and wanted to continue pushing myself, so I had to try something different. I ended up in employment services through the job service network.’

Brock still wasn’t satisfied. He’d long been drawn to teaching, but the idea of pursuing that dream was daunting.

‘It took three years to get the courage to go back to study. It was a really big step for someone who didn’t complete secondary school; going back to school was very foreign to me. But teaching was a passion I had.’

Nevertheless, it took some firm encouragement from his Louise to get him moving. With that encouragement and help from a friend who was a teacher, Brock prepared for a life of essays and tertiary study. Further support came from the head of the faculty, who could see that Brock had the skills and mindset to succeed as a teacher.

Brock believes he would have succeeded through working hard anyway, but is certainly grateful for the support he had. ‘Every little bit counts. It really does,’ he says.

‘Even just to back yourself – we’re all our own worst enemy, so when other people have confidence in you, you gain that confidence in yourself.’

Facing the challenges

Confidence and support are important, but there were other challenges too. Studying meant taking a step back from earning a full time wage.

‘That was a concern, wondering how we were going to pay our mortgage,’ says Brock. ‘I actually returned to a storeman position because it was more flexible with the hours. This was enough financially to just get by. Over the four years, you have to sacrifice a lot of things, but the sacrifice was well worth the gain that I now have.’

The return to academia wasn’t easy, but the habits of working long, hard hours as a butcher paid off.

‘You know this isn’t something that’s going to come naturally. You can’t just kick back and get by – you’re going to have to work hard. My grades in the first year were Cs and Ds, and by the time I was in my third year I was getting As and Bs. So the progression was there, from doing the study. You have a goal that you want to achieve, and that was my driving factor – I wanted to do something that I was passionate about.’

Brock graduated two years ago and found work at St Joseph’s College, originally as a casual teacher but now under contract.

‘I love what I do. There were some trying times, times during my studies where I was second guessing, have I made the right choice? But it was well worth the effort.’

Advice from those who’ve been there

We asked Sam Birrell and Brock Chapman what advice they have for people wanting to change their career direction.

Says Sam: ‘First understand yourself. Get feedback on what you’re good at and your weaknesses. Make an informed decision of the direction in which you want to go. Then, take a strategic approach – find out the qualifications required and the key players in the industry. Get to know people, make yourself visible in the structures of the industry you want to enter.

‘Don’t think you are ‘starting again’ – you learn a lot of skills and knowledge from your current career which may be very useful in the career you change to.’

Brock advises you to work hard and keep driving towards your passion: ‘Because if you love what you do, a job’s not a job; it’s just easier. There are going to be hurdles, there’s no lying about that. It’s very daunting – as I said, it took me three years to get the confidence to do it.

‘But it’s been six years now since I started, and I have no regrets – whereas I believe that if I didn’t do it, I would have regretted not doing it for the rest of my life.’


Are you thinking of changing your career through postgraduate study? Book a one on one consultation and discuss your options with an expert.

This post was originally published on La Trobe University’s Knowledge Blog.

Starting out at La Trobe: the experiences of a first year LBS Aspire student and La Trobe Student Ambassador

By James Alvarez

            I am a first year business student at La Trobe Business School who came straight out of high school and jumped head first into university. My university journey started before I had even begun my year 12 final exams, searching through endless course guides and attending so many Open Days I found myself dreaming of La Trobe University. The colourful and natural environment of the Melbourne campus was so inviting, and La Trobe quickly became my first choice. After going to Experience La Trobe days, Aspire, an amazing early admission program, became a clear and easy to follow way of getting into university.

            Before entering my VCE exam period I filled out the online Aspire application, in which I highlighted the community work I have done for my school and the fundraisers I have organised, one being for the Royal Children’s Hospital. To my excited surprise, my Aspire offer came through in September for the Bachelor of Business in La Trobe Business School. This took a lot of weight off my mind before I sat my exams!

            After my high school life had come to an end, my uni life had already begun and, attending all the ‘days’ La Trobe offered, I quickly became friends with both students and staff.. I must have been smiling nicely and shaking the right hands because before the academic year had begun I was offered a role in the Student Ambassador program. Just recently I was assigned to a photoshoot with the Vice Chancellor, Professor John Dewar, for a brochure and I made the cover! Amazing networking and great fun and a pleasure to be involved in.

            The 2nd and 3rd year ambassadors became like older brothers and sisters to me, helping me to understand a range of university jargon such as referencing and the LMS. If truth were to be told, this made university seem larger than life. But I was quickly brought back to earth when an ambassador told me where the best coffee was on campus.

            And then the academic year began. Attending my first ever university seminar in Business Foundations I was warmly welcomed and given detailed explanations on anything I needed to know. I found that business students at La Trobe are very like-minded people, all very keen to help one another and being open to group work activities.

            Feeling alone at La Trobe University and within LBS has not been an issue for me. The support liaison team were an amazing help when they noticed I had accidentally enrolled myself into a 2nd year subject in my first semester! They emailed me outlining the problem and then took the time to call me and guide me through my StudentOnline to get the issue rectified. After the problem was sorted, they gave me their contact details for any future questions I have. This is a huge helping hand for a first year with no prior knowledge on such matters, like myself! Similarly, the Ask La Trobe team have always been quick and easy to talk to. Want to know how to print? Ask La Trobe. Don’t know how to get your student ID? Ask La Trobe. Don’t know who to ask about a problem with a specific subject? Ask La Trobe.

            So far my academic year has been driving along a very smooth road. The LMS makes this possible by giving me metaphorical road signs that point me to my destination, such as assignments, readings for that week and awesome online lectures I can do from the comfort of my own bed if I please! In my two weeks at university I have already built a note taking system and handed in my first short writing diagnostics take through TurinItIn which a 3rd year commerce student helped me through.

            This is only the beginning of my university journey and it has already been an amazing one! I hope to continue my study and to continue to have a great time with all the new and amazing people here at La Trobe. Now I am going to continue my online lectures!

James Alvarez is a first year La Trobe Business School student who is involved in La Trobe University’s ASPIRE programme.

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