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La Trobe Business School

Month: January 2017

Get to know your professor: Professor of Practice Michael Wildenauer


We sat down with the Professor of Practice Michael Wildenauer, and asked him what he enjoys most about teaching, what kind of professional experience he has, and how he likes to relax.

Current Role

My current role in the La Trobe Business School is Professor of Practice in the Management and Marketing Department. I teach into masters level courses (MMgmt and MBA) in corporate entrepreneurship, innovation, professional ethics in ICT, and corporate governance, which is a pretty mixed bag really!

After I finished my MBA, I started doctoral studies in business which is when I started to become interested teaching at tertiary level. I did some sessional teaching online and face to face for a couple of universities in areas where I had many years of professional experience before I started at La Trobe. My MBA studies and doctoral research moved me away from ICT towards the dark side (Management Theory and Behavioural Corporate Governance) somewhat.

What subject matter do you most enjoy teaching?

I really enjoy teaching professional ethics in ICT course, which includes lots of content about the societal and legal, as well as ethical, impact of technology in both professional and everyday life. Teaching innovation by getting the class to design thinking activities is also great fun, and its fulfilling to see students come up with interesting ideas to solve tricky problems.

What do you value most about La Trobe University?

I think that access for underserved communities from a very wide range of backgrounds in Melbourne’s north and especially in regional Victoria is really valuable.

Outside of the University, what is your professional experience?

I have had 30+ years of professional experience before coming to teach at La Trobe. I started out in technology roles (first as a programmer, then as a Unix systems administrator and database admin), then moved to supervisory and then management roles in ICT. I was lucky enough to work for some really interesting organizations, especially during my seven years working in Silicon Valley, but also in Australia, the UK and the Netherlands. During this time I also had some stints consulting and then as a senior executive level manager. Immediately prior to LBS, I was a consultant working for myself, which continues today. I am also a non-executive director of a small rural health service in Central Victoria.

What’s one piece of advice you can share for students to get the most out of their uni experience?

Take advantage of all of everything offered! There is guidance on how to write assignments, how to reference etc. etc. Use it. The Library offers a lot. Get involved with things that interest you – students groups and activities, the Big Idea competition, that sort of thing. If you finish university and have only gone to classes and nothing else, you’ve let some great opportunities go by…

How do you like to relax?

Relax? What’s that? I do like to spend time at a local café where I live in the Macedon Ranges, working or (more often) chatting with the regulars which seem to include quite a few authors among their number, which makes for interesting conversations. OK, actually mostly complaining about the weather and tourists…

 

LBS Professors of Practice Profiles – Mark Cloney: “This is the time to open your mind and prosper”

As an LBS Professor of Practice, Mark Cloney brings a wealth of management and government experience to La Trobe Business School. With over twenty years of experience in the public sector and ten in the private sector, Mark Cloney has insights into economics, business and public policy practice that will undoubtedly be invaluable to students.

“I worked in the Commonwealth government for over twenty years.” Mark comments. “First I was in the department of Transport and Regional Development for thirteen years as a Director of Regional Development Policy, and afterwards I was in Senior Executive Service in the Department Agriculture, as the Assistant Secretary of Business Assurance and Risk.”

When asked about the skillset needed to enter the Public Sector, Mark is clear: “For a career in the public sector, people need common sense, a hands-on attitude, analytical skills, and a strong understanding of how government works and to be flexible and adaptable – because things change!. It is also crucial to understand how policy decisions will affect the broader community, and not just the intended target groups of a particular policy.”

A practical attitude is something that Mark is keen to pass on to his students through his teaching. As an assignment, Mark instructs his students to write a two-page brief to the minister after going through a case study about a specific decision or problem. In the assignment, students are asked to give a minister on overview of the options available in a short brief, to help the minister to make an informed decision. To this end, students must provide a brief history on the problem, the context, explain why it’s a problem, as well as policy options for consideration. Mark says. “Ministers usually don’t have a lot of time on their hands, so they need all the key information required, as quickly and succinctly as possible. They can always follow-up if they want more”.

During this process, policy officers must remain politically neutral, and look into solutions from a range of quite often competing perspectives. “In the position of a policy officer, you will have stakeholders coming at you from all sides,” Mark comments. “Often it is your job to find policy options that works for a variety of stakeholders. It is the Minister’s role to choose the options that best suits the political agenda and priorities of the government.”

When asked how being a policy officers differs from his current position, Mark says he is enjoying the change of environment; “As an academic, you can be a lot more independent in your research and teaching away from the daily cut and thrust of politics that senior bureaucrats have to deal with. When you work in policy in government, you’ll quickly discover that there is no silver bullet, or ‘right’ economic or policy theory for a lot of social, environmental or political problems.  Many of the major of problems of today are ‘wicked’ in nature i.e. climate change, pollution, or indigenous disadvantage etc. and not easily resolvable.  And, as government’s and ministers change so do their priorities and political agendas and consequently their appetite to address some problems and not others.”

So, how do you solve big problems as a policy officer? “You apply as many different lenses (tools, frameworks and approaches) to look at problems and take into account different stakeholder views,” Mark reckons. “When dealing with a problem on a large scale, you will need a range of solutions to address different symptoms caused by the problem and you need to work across jurisdictions and government agencies. No one agency or level of government has the answer or capacity to address the wicked problems. As a Policy Advisor, you will need to be able to think out of the box and apply innovation to your thinking. This is why broad based course such as political economy and economics are very useful for students try to understand global issues and public policy approaches.”

When it comes to forming students who are ready for the work-force, Mark Cloney is positive. He is encouraging when it comes to industry placements. As a Professor of Practice, Mark has been a strong advocate for pushing industry partnerships, collaboration, and blended learning. “A lot of the tools students need today come down to having a broader skillset rather than narrow knowledge gained from a particular discipline or course.  It is about how they use the knowledge obtained through their degree to collaborate, problem solve and innovate more broadly. This is what is demanded in a knowledge based global economy”.

Mark says, “Universities are great places to explore your interests, and try out new things. Students should take advantage of that but always with an eye to future employment.”

Meet your Teachers – Daniel Nguyen

Daniel is a PhD candidate at La Trobe, and also lectures in finance and economics and has taught at La Trobe since 2012. Originally from Vietnam, Daniel graduated from Foreign Trade University  in Ho Chi Minh City, studying a Bachelor of Business Administration with Honours. In the final six months of his degree, Daniel got a job with HSBC in Vietnam. Daniel then moved over to work at HSBC in Hong Kong before getting a scholarship to study his Masters in Financial Analysis at La Trobe. After finishing his Masters, Daniel was afforded the opportunity to be a research assistant at La Trobe. He would then receive a scholarship to complete a PhD at La Trobe, which he will complete in 2017.

During his teaching time at La Trobe, Daniel has lectured and tutored in multiple subjects in the finance and economics disciplines. As of late, Daniel has been a lecturer in the subjects ‘Modelling Econometrics’ and ‘Computational Finance’. As a teacher, Daniel believes that blending of practical examples and theory are the best way of teaching students.

“I just want to make it practical and interesting to my students. (Looking at) what will happen in their life and how we can apply the theory and the knowledge that you have learnt in university to measure something in the real world,” Daniel says.

Daniel has recently been recognised for his outstanding teaching. In July, Daniel won an award from the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the College of ASSC, for “embracing the lecturing role with great enthusiasm, effort and providing a great learning experience”. More precious to Daniel, however, was a teaching award given to him by the La Trobe Student Union.

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Daniel at the La Trobe Student Union Awards

“To me the La Trobe Student Union teaching award is the most precious one because it’s voted by my students. This means they realise and appreciate my assistance and my teaching is good to them,” Daniel says.

Exam Advice

Daniel’s advice for students during exams is to stay focused throughout the whole semester. This, he believes, will help students when we come to final exams.

“Education is a lifelong process. (That) means do not wait until the last minute to ask questions because in the last minute, you will be very confused and you will get lost,” Daniel explains.

Daniel says that we should try to go over the final few lectures to prepare for exams.

“Go to the last recorded lecture. I think most lecturers will give you some hints and some guidance for subject revision and especially for the final exam,” Daniel says.

“Usually the final exam just replicates what you’ve learnt during the semester in tutorial exercises and lecture examples so go back over those,” Daniel continues.

This post was originally published on the ‘Wise ASSC’ student blog.

Hanoi: Values, Ethics and Diversity

By Catherine Ordway

I was visiting the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) yesterday for a meeting, and I was struck by the beauty of the sculpture (pictured above). The female paralympic basketballer is reaching for the ball – and the clear blue Canberra sky. I reflected on what “diversity” now means for organisations, and how that might translate into workplace practices for the students I am about to meet in Hanoi, Vietnam later this week.

I am teaching the subject “Values, Ethics and Diversity in Organisations” as part of the Master of Management. This subject is: “designed to develop students’ critical thinking and research skills to contribute to an informed analysis of the role of values, ethics and diversity in contemporary organisations. Through the use of ethical theories, the subject aims to develop students’ abilities to re- frame organisational practices and to include ethical considerations in organisational decision-making. The concept of workplace diversity is introduced and evaluated in Australian and global contexts. Frameworks and tools for managing business ethics and diversity are introduced and critically evaluated. The subject is designed to meet principles 1-4 of the PRME principles.”

The United Nations (UN) Principles for Responsible Management Education (PRME) initiative of the UN Global Compact seeks to inspire and champion responsible management education, research, and thought leadership globally. As set out in La Trobe’s most recent UNPRME report, I am pleased to be one of the: “11 Professors of Practice with significant and ongoing industry experience to ensure our teaching and curriculum keep step with industry practice.

The Professor of Practice title also seeks to highlight what industry can contribute to academia and while many Australian business schools offer industry experts positions as casual or adjunct staff, La Trobe is the first university in Australia to formally employ them and integrate them into the day-to-day operations of the school. The Professors of Practice contribute practical advice and industry networks and connections to our students, while improving curriculum design by ensuring it is relevant and up-to-date with industry standards and trends. As well as contributing to research and teaching, our Professors of Practice facilitate meaningful engagement with leaders in business, government policy making and the not-for-profit sector”.

The cooperation with Hanoi University is a very exciting initiative, and am very happy to be a part of it.

LBS Professor of Practice Antony Jacobson: “My business philosophy has always been to think 51% with your heart, and 49% with your brain.”

As one of the Professors of Practice appointed by La Trobe Business School, after it introduced this concept as one of the first universities to do so in Australia, Antony Jacobson has plenty of international experience to bring to the table.

Hailed as an innovator and global success-story, Antony Jacobson is an Australian entrepreneur who seizes an opportunity when he sees it. In the early 2000’s, Antony Jacobson started Tibet Authentic, the company that popularised Goji berries globally and presented one of the first foods to the global market that would later become part of the global ‘Superfoods’-trend.

Although always contemplating his next entrepreneurial venture, Antony says “I wasn’t looking to revolutionize the global health food market at the time, I had been running my own franchise and licensing business in Melbourne and globally, and I could feel that I was overworked. That’s why I decided to travel to Tibet, in the Himalayas”. When Antony Jacobson arrived in Tibet, one of the things that he was captivated by were Goji berries. “While I was living in the Tibetan mountains, I saw women and children eating these little wild pink berries, and smearing them on their skin and hair as well. I wondered about the effects of this, since the lifespan of people living there seems to be a lot greater than the lifespan of people living in the West.”

After doing some research, he discovered that these fruits were Goji berries, and that they can have an enormous positive impact on things like healthy skin and hair, as well as being a valuable source of vitamins and minerals for anyone consuming them.

“Seeing the huge effect these berries had on people living in Tibet, I was keen to share these fruits with the rest of the world,” Antony says. “If you pilot a good business idea, the idea needs to be rational and profitable sure, but most importantly, it should also make a positive impact on the community around you.”

Antony approached the Tibet government about setting up a framework to produce berries, making sure that the country would benefit from exporting Goji berries as well. Soon after, he was selling authentic Tibetan Goji berries on a global market, with prestigious stockists and stores in Australia and countries such as the UK, USA, Spain, The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. The brand Antony set up received enormous international press and was hailed as a true pioneer of the global superfruits market, now a billion dollar industry.

Aside from setting up successful global businesses, Antony Jacobson has commercialised significant technology and internet related intellectual property like breakingnews.com.au. Having seen the potential in the early nineties, with the rise of the internet, Antony decided to secure significant internet related domains and I.P that are worth significant amounts today. “I’ve always been an avid fan of technology. When the internet was developed, I saw the potential in it as a huge communication tool, which made me secure intellectual property back in the early 1990’s, like breakingnews.com.au, Breakingnews.eu and many others.”

When asked whether he has any tips for beginning entrepreneurs, Antony’s passionate nature shines through: “Be bold, take risks, but do so in an intelligent informed manner, use you passionate heart and intelligent mind in all that you do.” Antony says “If you believe, you can achieve. I have also strived to always make the community a factor in my decision-making process. Because of this, I was attracted to the position at La Trobe Business School: the values La Trobe Business School holds when it comes to community and sustainability, align closely with my own perspective on what constitutes a good entrepreneur,” Antony says. “After all, my business philosophy has always been to think 51% with your heart, and 49% with your brain.”

Dr Jasvir Nachatar Singh receives SOTL grant

Recently, LBS lecturer Dr Jasvir Nachatar Singh was awarded a grant from the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) fund.

La Trobe University is committed to ensuring high quality learning experiences for students and a culture that recognises and rewards great teaching. Pedagogical practices that enhance the student learning experience are strongly valued. La Trobe Learning and Teaching (LTLT) the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SOTL) Fund scholarships were created to support these evidence-based practices.

The SOTL Fund consists of a pool of funds supporting:

  • Category A: grants up to $100,000: Projects that will result in significant change across La Trobe and address one of more of the University’s strategic targets in student retention, success, satisfaction and graduate outcomes.
  • Category B: grants of up to $20,000: Proof of concept that could lead to a larger, more significant project; or a small project that will address one or more of the University’s strategic targets in students retention, success, satisfaction and graduate outcomes, within a School or College.
  • Professional development grants: Funding will only be allocated to teaching focussed staff for professional development opportunities. Applicants can apply for up to $3,000.

Dr Jasvir Nachatar Singh’s project is titled ‘Undergraduate International Students Engagement Experiences in a Blended Learning Environment: An Exploratory Study at La Trobe University’. It was selected among large number of applications and is awarded the Category B grant for $20,000.

Dr Sajad Fayezi receives La Trobe Social Research Assistance Platform Grant

Dr Sajad Fayezi has recently received a La Trobe Social Research Assistance Platform Grant to the value of $9,199.14. This grant is given out by La Trobe University’s Office of Research Infrastructure.

The La Trobe Social Research Assistance Platform provides individual researchers and teams who are engaged in research projects with specific and specialised research support to facilitate effective completion. The Platform’s Grants aim to optimise the use of research infrastructure, accelerate research outcomes and in turn, enhance the University’s capacity to engage with industry and build research collaborations.

Successful grant applicants will have access to:

  • a manager who will identify and arrange appropriate sessional or contract personnel to provide research support in a timely manner,
  • a needs-assessed grant to cover costs relating to the payment and travel expenses of research assistants.

Dr Sajad Fajezi received the grant for his project titled ‘Assessing Agency Theory: After 40 Years, Lost in the Wilderness or Promising Integrated Theory’. This project is an international collaboration with researchers from University of Pittsburgh and University of Minnesota. The La Trobe Social Research Assistance Platform Grants optimise the use of research infrastructure, accelerate research outcomes and enhance the University’s capacity to engage with industry and build research collaborations.

LBS Sport Management students hit goals at International Festival of Hockey

By Emma Sherry

La Trobe University is proud to be the number one University for sport in Australia. Two key undergraduate programs within the La Trobe sport course offerings are delivered by LBS, and are the Bachelor of Business (Sport Management) at our Melbourne campus and the Bachelor of Business (Sport Development and Management) at our Bendigo campus.  A third key program, at the postgraduate level and delivered by LBS, is the Master of Management (Sport Management).

Sport is a rapidly growing and significant global industry offering a range of career opportunities. Our degrees are designed and delivered in collaboration with industry professionals. These courses combine business foundations with essential sport-specific knowledge and skills. We offer valuable placement and network opportunities and exposure to potential areas of employment.

In the undergraduate degrees, in addition to work integrated learning experiences through our Sport Practicum subject, sport management students at both campuses are provided with opportunities to volunteer at a variety of sport and active recreation events and activities during their time as a student. Students have volunteered at Melbourne City, Melbourne Rebels and most recently with Hockey Australia for the International Festival of Hockey. Students are required to apply formally for these opportunities and through this process develop their CV writing and interview experience. This process also ensures that the sport organisations receive the very best student candidates for these valuable volunteer placements.

Two students, Tianna (Bendigo) and Sam (Bundoora) (pictured above) have been volunteering with Hockey Australia this year, culminating in the festival held in Bendigo on November 19th. Ben Hartung, the General Manager – Hockey, noted that “Sam and Tianna, our two brilliant interns, are working at the International Festival of Hockey … They are both playing keys roles in the organisation of the Festival components in Melbourne and Bendigo and they have been embraced by the entire Hockey Australia team. We are very lucky to have them as part of our team”.

The International Festival of Hockey is a fun-filled family event that saw Australia’s home favourites, the iconic Kookaburras and Hockeyroos, take on some of their biggest international rivals, India, Malaysia and New Zealand. Hot off the back of their Olympic Games campaign, the Australian men’s team – the Kookaburras – host India, Malaysia and New Zealand in a four nations competition in Melbourne before taking on India in two further test matches in Bendigo. Also playing in Australia for the first time since the Olympics, the Hockeyroos – the women’s team – go head-to-head against India in three test matches in Melbourne.

The sport management programs at La Trobe University pride ourselves on creating engaged and work-ready graduates. By providing more opportunities for students, outside of their formal education, the program ensure that our students are best placed to build their CV during their time with us and to gain employment on completion of their studies.

 

La Trobe Business School Enrichment and Advancement workshop

By Suzanne O’Keefe

What does the ideal lecturer look like? What important attributes and skills does she possess? How does he motivate and engage students?   Around 60 LBS teaching staff- continuing and sessional, engaged with these questions at a workshop run by Dr Phil Kim from Babson College, Boston on 5th and 6th December.

Babson College is a global authority in entrepreneurship education and aspires to increase an institution’s capacity and capability to deliver high-quality, action-based learning. Their Professional Development is anchored by Babson’s Entrepreneurial Thought & Action framework, which seeks to empower staff to embrace a mindset for experimentation and constant pedagogical innovation in their own professional development.

In the LEAP workshop, participants built a prototype of the ideal lecturer and spent two days examining various ways to improve student engagement in our classrooms.  This involved understanding the challenges we face in our classes, and then working on techniques to improve the learning outcomes for our students.  The workshop was very fast paced and hands on, with participants working in small groups on various challenges.  Dr Kim was a very skilled facilitator who kept us all engaged.  It was particularly refreshing for continuing to work with our sessional and teaching team colleagues to be able to work together in this learning environment.  As a result, many participants are now working to include some of the innovations into their teaching in 2017.

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