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La Trobe Business School

Author: La Trobe Business School (page 1 of 4)

LBS’ involvement with UN’s PRME

CR3+ is a partnership between LBS, Audencia Business School (France), Hanken School of Economics (Finland) and ISAE Brazilian Business School (Brazil). The partnership builds on the schools’ involvement with the UN Principles for Responsible Management Education, also known as PRME.

 

2018 CR3+ conference

From the 12th until the 14th of June the 6th CR3+ conference was held at Audencia Business School. The theme of the conference was “Navigating the Plural Voices of Corporate Responsibility (CR)”, which recognises that CR is situated at the interface of business and society, and as such requires business to draw on a multitude of voices (and in some cases, the voiceless) to reduce their negative impact and/or contribute to society’s wellbeing. The conference had four key areas:

  • Education for sustainably
  • Theoretical voices in Corporate Responsibility research
  • Stakeholder engagement
  • Giving voice to the unheard actors in Corporate Responsibility

 

LBS was well represented with 7 delegates attending the conference; Professor Suzanne Young, Dr Leila Afshari, Dr Nicole El-Haber, Dr Jillian Cavanagh, Dr Swati Nagpal, Dr William Keeton and Ms Patricia Pariona Cabrera. The papers presented by our LBS academics covered wide-ranging topics including community engagement, employee volunteering, corruption, graduate skills for sustainability and workers with intellectual disabilities:

  • Graduate Business Skills for Sustainability: The Nexus of Curriculum and Pedagogy.
  • Beyond CSR: Workers with intellectual disability and their ‘calling’ to further their careers.
  • Corporate responsibility and community engagement: complex decision-making in water organisations in Victoria, Australia.
  • Employee Volunteering: Individual and Organizational Levels of Action.
  • Authentic leaders and corrupt practices: Overshadowing effect of corruption normalization and highly regulated localization.

Why not bulldoze business schools?

There were also expert panel discussions, including one that Professor Suzanne Young was part of entitled “Why not bulldoze business schools”, in response to Martin Parker’s article in The Guardian.

The panel members took opposing points of view with some speaking of the importance of business schools in challenging the status quo and embedding issues of responsibility and sustainability into their ways of working; whereas others spoke of business education cementing the norms of business practices and the focus on profit and self-interest. Professor Young took the former viewpoint and gave examples of La Trobe University and La Trobe Business School’s values and practices. Examples included the university’s gender equality practices, sustainability and responsibility courses and curriculum, hosting of governance and sustainability conferences, as well as Sustainable Development Goals workshops.

10 years a UN PRME signatory

2018 marks LBS’ 10th year as a UN PRME signatory and the CR3+ conference is just one example of our global partnerships in corporate responsibility and sustainability. You can read more about LBS’ involvement with UN PRME and the progress LBS is making in research, curriculum and partnerships in our Sharing of Information on Progress (SIP) report later this year. Watch this space for more information.

2019 CR3+ conference

It’s also exciting to announce that LBS will be hosting the 7th CR3+ conference in late 2019 at our city campus. If you would like to be involved in the conference organising committee or the UN PRME community of practice at LBS, please contact Dr Swati Nagpal.

Basketbrawl

We know what it is, but what do we call it.  Fight. Stoush. Stink. Blue. Donnybrook. Altercation. An exchange of pleasantries. Ruckus. Brouhaha. Bit of Biffo. Fracas. Melee. Free for all.

The whatever-you-want-to-call-it between the Australian and Filipino basketball teams turned an otherwise humdrum game of international basketball into an international incident.

Sports violence

There are as many angles to take on this incident as there were punches thrown.

Sport is a masculine area of social life.  Let’s look at this list of words – physical, assertive, tough, rough, competitive, intense, intimidating, risky, aggressive, destructive, and violent.  None of them look out of place when describing sport, but they are actually from a well-accepted list of theoretical terms commonly associated with definitions of sports violence. Sport and violence are certainly not poles apart.

The circumstances were ripe for a whatever-you-want-to-call-it.  Home team being beaten comfortably. Some niggle. Some sledging. Equal parts nationalism and patriotism. A push, a shove and then a great big whack (by an Australian). The Filipino bench players take a few steps forward, and ‘fly the flag’ in support of their team mates. Somehow the Australian bench players resist the natural instinct to do likewise. And then it was on like Donkey Kong, except they threw chairs rather than barrels. The Australian Five versus…well pretty much everyone else. The court is small, so the pandemonium easy moves off court.  It was a perfect storm.

Sanctions

Authorities will take a dim view of the players actions, providing many with a time out and a very visible naughty seat upon which they can reflect on their behaviours. But these authorities also need to exercise some restraint. Natural justice has a few dimensions and one of them is that the punishment must fit the crime.  It would be easy for FIBA, the International Basketball Federation, to throw the book at the Australian players. For example, should Daniel Kicker be sanctioned more for his elbow to the head of an opposing player simply because of what happened next? Does Thon Maker get some sort of reprieve because his flying kicks missed? Whatever the sanctions, some will say it is too much, others will say it is not enough.  If this criticism occurs, then you can be confident that FIBA got it about right. What is less clear is whether or not FIBA may seek to impose sanctions on Basketball Australia (BA) or Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas, its Filipino equivalent.

Responsibility

So far BA has played its cards well.  There have been some attempts to shift responsibility for the whatever-you-want-to-call-it to the Filipinos, but the BA CEO and Chair were quick to acknowledge some responsibility. The same can be said of the players.  At this stage the less they say the better. The majority of social media comments can be classified into one of two themes – “How good is this?” and “I am outraged”. BA cannot speak to the first group and they will need to placate outraged. Contrition is key to all of their messaging.

So, whatever you want to call it, basketball was not the winner.

 

This blog is written by Dr Geoff Dickson, Associate Professor and Head of Department of Management Sport and Tourism. His teaching and research interests include governance, interorganisational networks, leadership, strategy, risk and law in the sport industry. 

LBS Innovation Series: How can universities strengthen firms’ innovative ability?

The next presentation in the LBS Innovation Series is by Dr Stephan Buse, Deputy Director of the Institute for Technology and Innovation Management (TIM) at Hamburg University of Technology (TUHH). Stephan talks about academia-industry collaboration and engagement, and how universities can strengthen firms’ innovative ability.

Frugal innovation

Stephan argues that to succeed in emerging markets, especially in powerhouses like China and India, many companies from industrialised nations have had to change their established business models. In this environment, to remain competitive, a new way of thinking and acting is required.  Frugal innovation is a strategic approach to deal with these new challenges.

According to Stephan, frugal innovation refers to products and services that seek to minimise the use of material and financial resources across the complete value chain. The objective is to substantially reduce not just price but the complete cost of ownership/usage of a product. By adopting this approach firms can develop products that bring better priced quality goods to the customer both in the Business-to-Consumer and Business-to-Business sectors. He also gives examples of strong university-industry collaboration through the use of ethnography an emerging tool used to better identify habits of consumers.

 

Watch his presentation below:

 

This blog is part of the LBS Innovation Series, developed by Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice in Economics in the La Trobe Business School. The series was developed after the successful National Innovation Forum organised by La Trobe Business School, NORTH Link and Deloitte Consulting P/L.

Other blogs in the LBS Innovation Series:

Does Data Eat Strategy for Breakfast?

Businesses are operating in environments with increasingly large and complex sets of data.  This revolution of data is hitting every industry. Every organisation now has the power to harness large amounts of information that can help inform strategic decisions.

La Trobe University organised a panel discussion among leading industry experts to discuss and explore the synergy between data and strategy, whilst highlighting the importance of developing strategies to become a data-driven organisation.

The panel

  • Phil Bolton: Director at PwC Australia, who also leads the Safety Analytics practice. He has been delivering data analytics projects to businesses across a broad range of industries and countries for over 15 years.
  • Edith Cheng: Head of Digital Marketing & Analytics at Lens10, a digital analytics agency. Starting out in digital marketing, she developed an interest in analytics and specifically custom analytics integrations, which enable organisations to unlock the value of their data in innovative ways.
  • David de Garis: Director in Economics, Markets, Corporate & Institutional Banking at NAB. He is a business and financial markets economist and consults with clients ranging from the Bank’s agribusiness and corporate clients, to institutional clients at home and abroad.
  • James Fazzino: Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at La Trobe University. James is an LBS alumnus and recently concluded a highly successful eight-year term as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Incitec Pivot Limited.

 

Many LBS staff and students as well as people from outside the university attended the insightful event. The evening was opened by Professor Jane Hamilton, Dean and Head of the La Trobe Business School who mentioned that the university is excited to be at the forefront of this data revolution.

Watch the video to see how the panellists discuss questions such as: How do you see data influencing strategic decision making? Which business sectors are ‘doing data’ well? And do you have data influence your strategy, or do you use data for hypothesis testing?

 

End of Financial Year: Tax tips for students*

It’s time to prepare and lodge an income tax return with the Australian Taxation Office (the ATO). Taxes are a complicated topic, there is a lot of (sometimes misleading) information, and students might wonder whether they actually need to lodge a return. Mark Morris, Professor of Practice in Taxation here at LBS, sums up the most important tax questions you’ll need to consider as a university student studying in Australia.

First of all, if the income tax deducted from a student’s job exceeds the total income tax payable for the tax year, a student can obtain a refund of overpaid tax by lodging an income tax return. It might also be that students are legally required to lodge a return and pay tax where insufficient income tax been retained from their salary, or where they derive other categories of assessable income on which they owe tax.

Are you an Australian tax resident?

If you were born in Australia and continue to live here, you will be regarded as an Australian resident for income tax purposes.

However, for international students to recognise that being a resident for Australian tax purposes is quite different to being a permanent resident for Australian immigration purposes, and that they may sometimes unknowingly be an Australian tax resident. As a broad rule of thumb, the ATO takes the view that living in Australia for six months is a period which is generally consistent with a person residing here for tax purposes. If you are unsure whether you are an Australian resident for income tax purposes you should contact the ATO or a registered tax agent.

Tip: Remember that being a resident for Australian tax purposes is quite different to being a permanent resident for Australian immigration purposes.

What happens if you’re an Australian tax resident?

On the upside, you’ll be entitled to a tax free threshold. This means you won’t pay any income tax for the year ended 30 June 2018 if your total taxable income is $18,200 or less.

What’s more, you may be eligible for a refund. Say you worked part-time, earned a salary from which income tax was deducted by your employer, and your total taxable income was $18,200 or less, then you’d be able to receive a refund of any tax withheld from your salary income.

On the downside, you’ll be subject to tax on all your assessable income for the year ended 30 June 2018 – regardless of where you earned it. For example, as an international student, you’ll need to include both your Australian salary income and any interest income earned in a bank account held in your home country.

And if insufficient income tax has been withheld from your salary, or if you’ve earnt other assessable income on which you owe tax, you’ll be legally required to lodge a return to pay tax. In addition, Australian residents are subject to a 2 per cent Medicare levy, but only where your taxable income exceed certain thresholds.

Tip: The tax your employer withholds is known as a Pay As You Go (PAYG) withholding. Look for it on your payslip.

What do I need to lodge a tax return?

Everyone who lodges an income tax return needs a tax file number (TFN). If you’ve been employed, you’ve probably already been issued a TFN. If for some reason you’re lodging a return but don’t have a TFN, you’ll need to apply for one from the ATO, either directly or by using a registered tax agent.

Next, you’ll need to collate information to prepare your income tax return. This information includes things like your:

  • payment summary, a statement your employer issues at the end of each financial year to show how much income they paid you and how much tax they withheld
  • bank statements showing any interest you’ve earned
  • dividend slips, to show payments made by companies you have shares in
  • invoices and receipts.

Assuming you have a TFN and your tax return is relatively simple, you can prepare and lodge your income tax return on-line using the ATO’s myTax product. In case your tax return is more complicated, contact a registered tax agent to ensure you identify all your entitlements and to ensure that your income tax return is correctly prepared.

Tip: If you expect to receive a tax refund, you’ll also need to have your bank account details on-hand to nominate where your refund will be deposited.

What types of income need to be included in your return?

When you prepare your tax return, you’ll need to declare all the assessable income you’ve earned this financial year. Income is more than just ‘money’ – it can come from a range of sources, such as:

  • Salary and wages, as a full-time, part-time or casual employee
  • Allowances and bonuses
  • Tips and gratuities, such as those earned while working in hospitality jobs
  • Fees received as an independent contractor
  • Business income (but not income earned from a hobby)
  • Government payments and allowances like Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Austudy payments and others
  • Income from bank interest
  • Dividend income
  • Distributions received from a family trust or as a partner in a partnership, and
  • Capital gains on the sale of assets – a highly complex area requiring specialist expertise.

What type of work-related deductions can you claim?

Your total assessable income can be reduced by what the ATO calls ‘deductions’. Deductions are amounts you can claim for any expenses you’ve incurred to make that income. They come in three main forms: work-related deductions, self-education expenses and personal deductions.

You can also claim an amount for the decline in value over time (‘depreciation’) of certain assets, like a computer, in relation to how much it’s been used to help earn your assessable income.

Some of the more common types of deductions you might be able to claim are:

  • Work-related subscription and union fees
  • Protective clothing and compulsory work uniforms
  • Home office expenses (if you’re required to work at home after hours, and you keep a diary listing the hours you worked at home, for a minimum of four weeks)
  • Work-related phone and internet costs, and
  • Travel expenses between worksites (but not for travel between home and work).

You might also be entitled to claim a deduction for the cost of tools of trade, briefcases and calculators costing less than $300, to the extent that you use them for work.

Tip: Take care when claiming deductions for work-related expenses, as this is an area that’s closely scrutinised by the ATO. You can’t claim an expense that your employer reimbursed you for. And you’ll need written records of the expenses you’ve incurred (such as invoices, receipts and bank statements).

When are self-education costs allowed?

If you’re studying a course that will maintain or improve your skills in your current occupation, you can claim the costs of study as a self-education expense. You can also claim the costs of course fees, textbooks, stationary, travel costs and the depreciation of items like laptops, tablets and printers. Accordingly, you can’t claim study costs if you’ve not yet started a particular career. For example, as an undergraduate student, you can’t claim costs associated with obtaining your initial academic qualification. The same logic applies if you’ve decided to change careers – you can’t claim the costs of studying a new area of expertise. You also can’t claim Higher Education Loan Program (HELP) repayments.

Tip: To see some specific examples of when you can and can’t claim self-education expenses, check out Taxation Ruling TR98/9.

What personal deductions can you claim?

You can claim donations of $2 dollars or more to a deductible gift recipient (for instance, a charity like the Australian Red Cross) provided you’ve kept copies of receipts for any gifts made. You can also claim a deduction for any fee paid to a registered tax agent during the year ended 30 June 2018 for the cost of managing your tax affairs. However, in a unique twist, this deduction is held over until the following year – a good incentive to do your tax return in the financial year ending 30 June 2019!

Tip: For gold-coin donations (like those you drop into a collection bucket), you can claim a deduction equal to your contribution up to $10 without a receipt.

What tax offsets can you claim?

Tax offsets are different to deductions. While deductions can reduce your assessable income, tax offsets are directly applied as a credit to reduce your tax payable. And sometimes, for certain tax offsets, the tax credit received might be more than your tax payable – which could even result in a refund!

The most common tax offsets you can claim:

  • Beneficiary tax offset: may be available if you receive Newstart Allowance, Youth Allowance, Austudy payments or certain other Commonwealth education or training programs.
  • Franking credit tax offset: If you’re a shareholder in an Australian company, you might be eligible for the franking credit tax offset. When a company pays you a franked dividend, the company may pass on a tax credit for tax it’s paid on its income. Such a tax credit can be claimed as a franking credit tax offset.
  • Small business income tax offset: if you’re a student who’s also running a business, you might be entitled to the small business income tax offset. This equates to 8 per cent of the income tax payable on the portion of your taxable income that’s ‘total net small business income’, provided the aggregated turnover of the business is less than $5 million.

Tip: The small business income tax offset is quite complex, so seek specialist advice if you intend to claim them.

Where do I go for help?

If you think you need to lodge an income tax return, get in touch with the ATO or take a look at their valuable information for individuals. If you’d prefer to get independent tax advice, find an accountant who’s not only a tax expert, but also a registered tax agent, to ensure they’re legally authorised to provide such services.

And if you’re entitled to a tax refund – go get what is yours!

 

Mark Morris La Trobe Business School Professor of Practice

Mark Morris is Professor of Practice in taxation at LBS. Prior to this role Mark held various senior roles in chartered accounting and industry, and has been a frequent speaker and author on tax matters. Mark has degrees in Law and Commerce and majored in Accounting. He is a registered tax agent, a member of CPA Australia and the Taxation Institute and has been admitted to practice as a solicitor in Victoria.

 

This blog post was originally published on NEST. Read the original article.

*Disclaimer: La Trobe University has used reasonable care and skill in compiling the content of this general commentary. However, it should not be relied upon as advice in any circumstances, and no warranty is provided by either the University or the author concerning the accuracy and completeness of these materials. Accordingly, we disclaim all and any liability to any person in respect of reliance on any of the matters raised in these materials, and professional advice should be sought from an appropriately qualified registered tax agent where required.

 

Great PhD success in the La Trobe Business School

Congratulations to Shalinka Jayatilleke, Nick Dejkovski, Tariq Halimi, Teddy Kwakye, Stephen Sim, Joni Vendi, Minh Phong Nguyen and Thi Hoa Nhai Pham on passing their PhD thesis examination and being awarded their PhD’s. Read about their PhD topics below, and check out some of the great graduation pictures.

Dr Shalinka Jayatilleke

Dr Jayatilleke investigated the issue of managing software requirements changes in the Information Technology industry which often result in problems like cost overruns and project delays.  She has developed a method each for; (i) change specification and classification; (ii) change analysis; and (iii) rework assessment, in order to help alleviate the problems.

 

Dr Teddy Ossei Kwakye

Dr Kwakye examined the effect of business strategy on the cost of external financing. The findings show that innovative-oriented firms have higher cost of equity than their efficiency-oriented counterparts due to their greater non-diversifiable business risk and lower quality of financial reports. The research advances business strategy as a direct antecedent of firms cost of equity capital.

 

Dr Tariq Halimi

Dr Halimi examined the influence of political relations between countries on the consumer purchase decision. It was found that positive relations between countries can provide a competitive advantage for their international companies when marketing their products. This thesis contributes to theory development in consumer purchase decision-making and develops a conceptual model that has implications for marketers.

 

Dr Stephen Sim

Dr Sim explored the ethical HRM of workers with a range of mental and intellectual disabilities at two Australian social enterprises. To better support workers with disabilities with inclusive practises, organisational management should not only focus on policies and practises, but also provide innovative and positive workplace experiences.

 

LBS Innovation Series: Welcome to the 4th industrial revolution

The next presentation in the LBS Innovation Series is from Craig Scroggie, the CEO of NEXTDC, Australia’s leading Data-Centre-as-a-Service provider. Craig challenges us to think about and imagine the future through the lens of ever expanding data analytic possibilities.

Theoretical influences

Craig’s presentation is grounded in four major theoretical influences: Moore’s Law (the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits will double every year); Schumpeter Economics (i.e. the notion of creative destruction) and the books, The Lean Start-up by Eric Ries; and, The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab.

Internet of Things

As Craig explains, data is the electricity of our age and the amount is doubling every two years, yet we analyse less than 1% of current global data. He tells us global internet traffic will nearly triple over the next five years, driving billions of dollars of investment in the construction of new data centres and communications networks to enable our digital lives. With the Internet of Things we’re entering a whole new era of technology with – machine learning, self-driving cars, drones, 3D printed body parts, robotics, and artificial intelligence etc. We will have new opportunities for solutions to challenges such as digital disruption, which affects areas such as medical research, sustainability, energy, education and transport. Craig suggests that more opportunities will also emerge from the convergence of technologies over time. His advice for start-ups and entrepreneurs is to develop products and services using lean methods and platforms aimed at the mobile market (not desktop computers).

 

Watch his presentation:

 

This blog is part of the LBS Innovation Series, developed by Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice in Economics in the La Trobe Business School. The series was developed after the successful National Innovation Forum organised by La Trobe Business School, NORTH Link and Deloitte Consulting P/L.

Other blogs in the LBS Innovation Series:

Meet the new Dean and Head of LBS

Jane Hamilton is the new Dean & Head of the La Trobe Business School.  Business Newsroom sat down with her to ask her some questions about her long-standing relationship with LBS, her new role, taking on challenges, how she relaxes, and more.

 

 

Where do you come from and what brings you to La Trobe University?

I was a student at La Trobe University, at the Bendigo campus. Back then it was still the Bendigo College of Advanced Education, which became part of La Trobe in the 1990s. After finishing my degree I joined the staff as a tutor, and gradually worked my way up. I have been associated with La Trobe for about 30 years. I took an opportunity to work at the University of Technology in Sydney from 2000 to 2005 because I wanted more experience and exposure with my research. But after that, I came back to La Trobe because it is a great place to work.

 

How will you be approaching your new role as Head of School?

Being part of the LBS for nearly 30 years means that I’m very familiar with what we do. However, this is a new role for me so it gives me the opportunity to help LBS find a new direction for the future, and we’re working on a strategy to help us do that. We want to keep everything that’s good about LBS and build upon that. This means providing education that meets students’ expectations for the new world of work, help students get interesting jobs and prepare them for anything that might come to them in the future. I want all LBS students to have a fantastic experience with us.

In terms of research, LBS has great strengths in several areas. We have a number of research centres, and we would like to see them flourish. In particular, the two largest ones, the Centre for Sport and Social Impact and the Research Centre for Data Analytics & Cognition, are well connected with outside parties. We also have many academics that are experts in their fields and very highly rated internationally. Several of our research disciplines are rated above world standard and I would like to support them to keep continuing their good work.

Several of our staff come in as early career researchers. I would like to help them develop their skills in research so that they too can have a career in research. I would like them to have a satisfying career, feel connected within the school, have the possibility to engage with business and the community around them and allow them to produce research that is meaningful in a variety of ways. Their work might impact the way people do business, it might impact on the academic research field, or impact on people’s personal lives. There is a wide range of research happening within LBS and we need to support that to make our research output even stronger.

 

What do you know now that you wished you knew when you were a student at university?

I just loved being a student. Up until then, it was the most interesting thing that I had done, it was a joy to challenge myself and learn new things.

I wish I would have had a little bit more self-belief. When I started doing research I was so nervous about standing up in front of people and presenting my ideas. I didn’t know whether I had done a good job or not. Looking back, I did a good job and I just wish I had more confidence and more belief in myself.

 

Have you always been ambitious?

Yes and no. It’s not so much about ambition. I never thought I would be in a particular position, I wasn’t ambitious in that sense, but I do enjoy taking on new things and I think all ambitious people do. I think ambitious people enjoy the process of learning. Taking on a new position like this is where I get that joy of learning. When you’re a student all is new, and then when you’re in a job for too long it can get a bit stale, so you need to give yourself a new challenge and that’s what I like to do. You take on a challenge, you master that, and take on another challenge and you master that, and that constant stretching helps you develop.

I didn’t know that I was going to end up in this position, going from an LBS student to becoming the Dean & Head of School for LBS. It was quite a journey and I probably didn’t know what I was going to do, but every step of the way I challenged myself and took on that stretch, and it was very rewarding. I learnt this process over the years so probably if I knew this back then I would have taken more steps earlier, but that’s life.

 

What do you do to get rid of stress?

Lately I have been going for runs and I have been really enjoying it. If I don’t feel like running, I’ll go for a walk. I enjoy getting up early and going out. It helps me to get into work fresh and feel prepared for a long day ahead.

During my weekends I like to go outside and work on our bush block, walk around in nature, something like that. I don’t do very ambitious things, I like to do something that is out of work and outside. Just get basic, not having to talk to people or think about things too much. It gives me that contrast with my job.

I like to take at least one day during my weekend where I turn everything off so that I can just have that break. I work quite long days during the week, and sometimes you need to do some work on the weekend to get ready on Monday, but I do try and work really hard during the week so that I can have a bit of space on the weekend. Taking a break is important.

 

Last question, if people come across you at the coffee-machine, what’s a good conversation starter?

“Can I get you a coffee?” and I will always say yes! A simple “how are you today?” is also fine, ask me what I think of the cricket, or the footy. That will get me engaged in a conversation.

 

Professor Jane Hamilton was appointed as Dean and Head of La Trobe Business School in April 2018 and brings a wealth of experience and expertise to this important leadership position. Jane is a Professor of Accounting and holds a PhD from Monash University and a Masters of Accountancy from the University of New England, having completed her undergraduate studies in Bendigo. She brings a unique perspective to the role of Head of School, having worked at La Trobe’s Bendigo campus since 1989. Jane was Associate Head of the Business School from 2015 to 2018 and had responsibility for regional campus operations, international partnerships, and third-party teaching. As well as her experience in senior management positions, Jane has a distinguished record of teaching, research and partnership engagement at both La Trobe University and the University of Technology, Sydney.

A Dutchie on exchange at La Trobe

Business Newsroom brings you a blog written by a Dutch exchange student who studied a semester at La Trobe Business School.

 

 

Hi! My name is Pieter Siemonsma and I’m a 22-year-old exchange student from The Netherlands.

In the Netherlands I study Sports, Health and Management at Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen (only a 1.5 hour from Amsterdam!). As part of my degree I could apply for a semester abroad and so I did. I wanted to improve my English language skills and broaden my Western perception further than the ideals of European countries. La Trobe University gave me both those opportunities.

At La Trobe I have been able to make so many friends and experience so many things through living on campus in one of the colleges. I attended sporting matches, went to parties and got to know Melbourne at its finest.

Through La Trobe Business School I was also able to achieve the personal goals I set before coming to Melbourne.

 

The school’s facilities were great and the teachers were always available to help.

 

Unfortunately, this chapter of my life has almost come to an end and I have to leave La Trobe after this semester.  Before heading home, I’m going to travel through this country and explore more of its beauty.

 

Coming to Australia and being part of the La Trobe community has been an unforgettable experience.

 

I will always look back at my time here with a smile and I am very thankful to La Trobe for that!

Going to Kuala Lumpur with the New Colombo Plan

Business Newsroom sat down with Associate Professor Alison Parkes, Head of Department of Accounting & Data Analytics, to talk about her visit to Kuala Lumpur where she visited New Colombo Plan students.

 

What is the New Colombo Plan?

The New Colombo Plan (NCP) is an Australian Government initiative to increase knowledge of the Indo Pacific region by supporting undergraduates to study and undertake internships. Essentially the original Colombo Plan in the 1960s & 70s brought students from South-East Asia to Australia, while the New Colombo Plan takes Australian students to South-East Asia.

The Department of Accounting & Data Analytics applied for places in the first round of funding for this program and were awarded 6 places in 2016, 8 places in 2017 and 10 places in 2018. The places are only available to high achieving Accounting students who hold Australian citizenship.

The funding involves $3000 per student to go on placement in Malaysia for 4-6 weeks. The aim is to broaden students’ view of the world and to give them a taste of living and working in Asia.

 

Alison Parkes in Kuala Lumpur with New Colombo Plan students and alumni

 

Who are the students that went to Kuala Lumpur?

The eight students were all Accounting scholars, five from Melbourne and three from regional campuses. Scholarships seem to be taken up primarily by students from the larger campus in Melbourne but I wanted to ensure regional applicants were considered. Two of the regional students were from Shepparton and one from Bendigo, and for some of them it was their first time in Asia.

 

Where do NCP students go and how is it organised?

Once students have been accepted into the NCP program we provide workshops to upskill them in software use and the soft skills we know employers highly value. We also do some acculturation, providing them with information on living and working in Malaysia.

The placement details are arranged by a third party placement provider in conjunction with La Trobe staff. When students arrive in Kuala Lumpur, they are welcomed by Global Student, the third party placement agency. Global Student arranges the student’s placement and accommodation but also organises cultural and tourist activities. Several students went to the Australian High Commission for an event but there are also informal things like visits to Penang or a daytrip into the city. It’s a whole cultural and educational package and generally the scholarship funding ($3,000) covers most of these costs.

Global Student places students in a range of places, some go to the Big 4, like KPMG, while others experience working in smaller firms.

 

NCP students’ orientation in KL

 

What are the kind of tasks NCP students do?

The subject LBS students are enrolled in is the Accounting Workplace Program (ACC3AWP) which is a fairly standard Work Integrated Learning (WIL) subject. Out of the 23 students enrolled in the Accounting Workplace Program last summer 8 were NCP students and the other 15 were students doing local placements. The subject runs exactly the same whether you are in Melbourne or in KL.

The Accounting Work Placement includes several assessment pieces. Students write a reflective report that looks back on their experience. They write and submit a short journal entry each week talking about what happened that week, what they learned and the tasks they did. This is also useful to me as the Subject Coordinator, I can see how the placement is progressing and offer support and mentoring if any issues arise along the way. At the end of the program they put those entries together in a report and it provides them with a document they can look back at and reflect on what they learned. Students also write a placement report focused on the accounting work they did; this could be either a pre-defined project with a deliverable outcome or an operational role. We have had students asked to check whether data was correct, another group wrote an audit report including recommendations following up on stock that was disappearing within a company. We even had one student who went to a smaller organisation, whose accounting system wasn’t very well set up, so she re-built their accounting system from scratch. It really depends on the placement needs and the skills of the student.

 

What were you doing in Kuala Lumpur?

It is important to make sure our students have an instructive and enjoyable experience, so I went over to KL to see how everybody was getting on. I checked-in with Global Student staff and met with all the students, we had dinner together and I spent time making sure everybody was progressing okay. It is a sort of pastoral care-check combined with a review of the academic rigour attached to the placements. We need to make sure our students are undertaking meaningful work and are being supported appropriately in all our work placement programs.

The NCP is a really good program, we have 10 places available next year, but experience some difficulty finding the right students to partake. As already said, many of our students have not travelled much and going on an adventure like this requires an element of trust. We prefer to select students who are confident in their ability to survive and thrive in a totally different environment as the NCP takes students well outside their comfort zone.

For students who do take this opportunity you can see the difference when they come back. Their confidence, their work-readiness, they know better now what they are studying for, it just opens their eyes. There is something very brave about going to Asia for 6 weeks. They come back and can say to themselves “It went well, I did that, I made that happen!”

 

 

Associate Professor Alison Parkes is a researcher, educator, consultant, and author whose expertise relates to optimising information quality and decision outcomes via better design and control of accounting systems and processes. In her professional career prior to entering academia she held positions at Queensland Rail, Rio Tinto, and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Her academic career has included positions at Massey University New Zealand (Associate Lecturer) The University of Melbourne (Lecturer, Senior Lecturer) and Taylor’s University Malaysia (Associate Professor and MBA Program Director). Alison’s research consists of two primary themes; (1) The task-technology-individual fit implications of accounting systems design choices, and (2) Strategic investment decision-making. Her research has been published in journals including Decision Support Systems, Behaviour & IT, the Business Process Management Journal, and the Australian Journal of Information Systems. She authors a leading Australian accounting information systems textbook and also designs and delivers specialised executive education and consulting. Alison has consulted internationally to the Governments of Malaysia and Iraq, and completed a variety of management accounting consulting jobs in the Australian not for profit sector.

 

 

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