LBS is delighted to announce that professor Alan Farley has been appointed as Adjunct Professor in the La Trobe Business School. Alan has a long and distinguished career in Australian universities, as diverse as Director of Teaching and Learning and Chief Financial Officer, including PVC (Planning and Finance), Assistant Provost, Executive Dean, Head of Department and Associate Dean (Education).
Alan’s original training is in Economics, Econometrics and Management Science but most of his teaching career was spent in Accounting and Finance departments. His research effort is extensive and diverse. He has published in leading international journals across the fields of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, Accounting, Finance, and Management Science.
His work with industry has supported his research. Alan is the only Australian academic to make the final of an international competition to recognise the world’s best implementation of Management Science in a given year for work done with Kodak Australia. He has held positions outside universities such as president of the Australian Council for Online and Distance Education, member of the Victorian Admission Centre Management Committee, Australian University Quality Authority auditor and member of the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Authority Panel of Experts.
Business Newsroom asked Alan what he is bringing to LBS and how he’ll be approaching his role as adjunct professor:
My key attributes that will benefit the La Trobe Business School are my knowledge of the Australian Higher Education sector and my breadth of expertise, with special emphasis on knowledge in quantitative research methodology. As an Adjunct Professor I will be available for consultation with research students and staff and will present workshops on quantitative research techniques. I will also undertake joint research with staff from the School.
In the last 20 years, do you think that the proportion of people living in extreme poverty worldwide has almost doubled, remained more or less the same, or almost halved? Think you know the answer? Take the gapminder quiz here.
Although the gapminder quiz shows us that a lot of progress has been made, several of us are still rather ignorant about the ‘good news’ facts, and there continues to be a lot of work to be done. About 736 million people still live on less than US $1.90 and day. Many of them lack adequate food, clean drinking water and sanitation. Rapid economic growth in countries such as China and India has lifted millions out of poverty, but progress has been uneven. Women are more likely to live in poverty than men due to unequal paid work opportunities, education and property (UNDP, 2019).
Ending poverty by 2030
SDG 1 sets the ambitious target to end poverty in all its forms by 2030, as part of the UN’s Global Goals/SDG agenda. Poverty eradication is central to the Global Goals, and achievement of all Goals is closely tied to the achievement of Goal 1. Poverty impedes the full participation of people in society and the economy. A society free from poverty is more peaceful, stable, innovative and equal (SDG Knowledge Platform, 2019).
From a Business School perspective, we have a responsibility to ensure that future business leaders take the responsibility to prevent and address human and labour rights violations, and identify and avoid practices that perpetuate poverty traps. All companies are linked to global poverty, particularly through their supply chains, and have a responsibility to work towards eliminating negative impacts to the Goal. A useful tool for assessing such impacts is the UN Global Compact’s Poverty Footprint Tool. The UN Global Compact has also developed a Blueprint for Business Leadership on the SDGs, which serves as a useful guide on how business can engage with and address the SDGs in their principled approach to SDG action.
The first video in the SDG series was produced by our CR3+ Partner Audencia Business School from Nantes, France. In the video, Dr Céline Louche discusses the sustainable development goal in depth, looking at the definition of poverty, the different perspectives to poverty (need-focused and people-focused) and the consequences of poverty; social exclusion, poor mental and physical health, and unfair working conditions. Céline also explains the targets of SDG 1, such as eradicating extreme poverty, implementing social protection systems and building resilience to climate-related extreme events, and the role of businesses in reaching these targets. The video finishes with an interview with Victoria Mandefield, an Audencia student and founder of the social enterprise “Soliguide” – a multimodal platform providing homeless people and refugees with helpful information.
Please enjoy the presentation:
If you would like access to the full video to use in your teaching, please contact Dr Swati Nagpal.
As a PRME Champion School, LBS has access to several Working Groups made up of a global pool of like-minded researchers on the various SDG themes. There is a PRME Working Group on SDG 1- Poverty, whose aim is to challenge business education to advocate for the integration of poverty-related discussions into all levels of management education worldwide. Their vision is grounded in the belief that:
Poverty is a legitimate topic for discussion and research in schools of business and management.
Business should be a catalyst for innovative, profitable and responsible approaches to poverty reduction.
Multiple stakeholder engagement is needed for innovative curriculum development.
To find out more, or join the working group please visit the UN PRME website (here).
You can also submit a paper on a topic related to SDG 1 to the CR3+ Conference that LBS is hosting from 24-25 October 2019, along with our CR3+ partners.
This blog is part of the SDG Series, a series that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, in the lead up to the CR3+ Conference in October 2019.
The second presentation of the 2019 LBS Innovation Series by Joann Wilkie is on innovation and productivity growth in the Australian agricultural sector. Joann focus is on the aspirational target that the Australian agricultural sector has set itself for 2030 – that is, to reach $100 billion in gross value of production. Her presentation explores the challenges and opportunities this aspirational target implies for Australia’s primary producers.
Joann is the First Assistant Secretary at Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. In her role, Joann is responsible for providing advice on a broad range of policy issues affecting the agriculture industry, overseeing the Research and Development Corporations and managing the R&D for profit program. She is an experienced public servant who has worked on a range of policy issues including energy, deregulation, women’s business taxation and economic policy.
Joann explores the opportunities and challenges for continued innovation in the Australian agricultural sector relating to on-farm productivity, agtech and innovation, transport, regulations, competition, labour markets and workforce, industry structure and governance, and institutions. In addition, she discusses options for government and industry to better facilitate continuous innovation which is the major catalysts to meeting growing global demand.
Please enjoy Joann’s presentation.
This blog is part of the LBS Innovation Series, developed by Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice in Economics at La Trobe Business School.
Besides welcoming (back) students this week, we are also welcoming Helen, Safi, Mary, Elise, Van and Mohammad to LBS.
Dr Helen Yang
Besides her extensive knowledge and experience as an accounting academic, Helen brings a wide knowledge of China as well. Prior to her appointment, Helen held academic positions in Australia and China, including the Head of Accounting & Information Systems at Victoria University, a role that she held until recently.
Dr Md Safiullah
Md Safiullah (Safi) completed his PhD degree at The University of Newcastle in Australia. His research interest is in the areas of banking efficiency, liquidity creation and risk, corporate governance, Islamic banking and finance. He has published research papers in a number of reputed finance journals including the Journal of Corporate Finance (ABDC A*) and Pacific-Basin Finance Journal (ABDC A).
Dr Mary Ma
Mary completed her PhD in May 2018 at Massey University in New Zealand. Her research has been published in internationally respected academic journals, such as the International Review of Financial Analysis and the Pacific-Basin Finance Journal. Mary’s teaching interests include applied econometrics, international finance, microeconomics, investment analysis and business finance.
Dr Elise Lee
Elise earned her PhD degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Elise taught human resource management and management courses at the University of San Francisco and Washington State University as an assistant professor prior to joining LBS. She conducts research in the areas of team processes and conflict, workplace fairness, and strategic human resource management.
Dr Van Vu
Van joins us from the Newcastle Business School (Australia). Her main research interests include issues related to bank loan contracts, bond contracts, and the choice between public and private debt finance. Her other research interests include corporate liquidity management and recently market micro-structure.
Dr Mohammad Al Mamun
Md Al Mamun completed his PhD degree in finance at La Trobe University. His research interests are in empirical corporate finance and capital market research. His recent work focuses on the implication of power structure of top management team and unveiling the implications of culture (corporate and local) in corporate finance.
The first video of the 2019 LBS Innovation Series is by James Fazzino who gives a presentation on how the company he lead, Incitec Pivot, strategically responded to digital disruption in its core businesses.
James is a La Trobe alumnus, holding a Bachelor of Economics (Honours) from the University, he is an Adjunct Professor in the La Trobe Business School and a Vice Chancellor’s Fellow. James was honoured with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018. He is a respected ASX 50 business leader and currently the Chair of Manufacturing Australia.
James has had a successful career in the international chemicals industry after concluding a highly successful eight-year term as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Incitec Pivot Limited. He also served as the Chief Financial Officer and Finance Director at Incitec and had senior finance roles in ICI/Orica including CFO Chemicals Group, Assistant Treasurer and Head of Investor Relations.
Incitec Pivot Limited
Under James’ leadership, Incitec transformed from a fertiliser co-operative, operating in four Australian states with an enterprise value of $400 million, to a Global Diversified Industrial Chemicals company, operating in 13 countries and with an enterprise value of $8 billion. Incitec is now the world’s second largest supplier of commercial explosives and Australia’s largest manufacturer and supplier of fertilisers.
Responding to digital disruption
James provides a case study in management on how the company grew from a southern Australian fertiliser co-op to a global ASX 50 diversified industrial chemicals and fertiliser company over 14 years. Industrial chemicals and fertilisers are key inputs to soil health and nutritional needs, helping food producers maximise productivity and remain globally competitive. James elaborates on Incitec Pivot’s strategic journey and describes how his executive team drove a ‘gap to perfect’ strategy across the business – where any identified gaps (against international best practice) meet with goals and actions to improve daily performance.
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.
You’ve probably heard about the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in your work and across the media. They are a collection of 17 global goals set by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015, which they hope will be achieved by 2030. These goals are a call for action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity and overall transformative action towards sustainability.
Attainment of the goals within the timeframe (by 2030) necessitates urgent, innovative, and far-reaching action from different actors – business, states, civil society, and individual citizens. As insurmountable as they may seem, they present a huge opportunity for all the actors to rethink business, development and growth and stead us all towards sustainable and inclusive world.
2018 PRME report analysis
In our role as a PRME Champion Institution, LBS has committed to embedding the SDGs into our research, teaching, partnerships and operations. In our 2018 PRME report, we undertook and analysis of LBS research outputs and found that 34% of our research is aligned with at least one of the 17 SDGs. In our analysis, we also identified the achievements, research projects and other activities LBS is involved with that are linked to the SDGs. These linkages are created through efforts including informing our understanding of the SDGs, and contributing to the development of solutions in achieving the SDGs.
Outlined below are some examples of significant activities being undertaken by LBS and LTU, linked to the 17 SDGs:
Seventh CR3+ conference
As part of our broader commitment to PRME and the SDGs, we are hosting the 7th CR3+ conference on the topic ‘Using dialogue to build partnerships for sustainability’ from the 24th to 25th October 2019.
In addition to the conference, all CR3+ partners have collaborated on a series of videos on the SDGs, bringing their unique geographical and business perspectives in developing content for four of the SDGs each. The objectives of the videos are to:
Introduce the Agenda 2030 framework and Sustainable Development Goals (along with insight into concepts and history of sustainable development).
Explain all 17 SDGs and their targets.
Present real-life cases demonstrating contribution towards different SDGs in different geographical regions.
Critical perspectives on the SDGs.
We have developed a blog series where we will highlight one Sustainable Development Goal every fortnight based on the videos in the lead up to the CR3+ conference in October. Watch this space for the first upcoming video!
La Trobe’s MBA students gain practical experience, deeper perspectives on business challenges and valuable contacts through a new subject that was launched in July 2018.
The Business School worked with local economic development organisation NORTH Link and other partners to identify businesses in Melbourne’s north that would benefit from a semester-long MBA consultancy. The result was a broad range of projects that will make a positive impact and directly benefit priority industry sectors in the region.
Dr Geraldine Kennett, MBA director and subject coordinator, explained that the subject has a positive impact on both students and businesses.
“Companies in our region get real assistance in solving a business challenge, which contributes to local economic development. At the same time, our MBA students use their expertise to gain real-world consultancy experience, with individual mentoring from their lecturers throughout the project. It’s a genuine win–win.”
MBA student Abdul Majeed Mohammed undertook a consultancy with the Brunswick Business Incubator (BBI), which provides premises, advice, services and support to new and emerging businesses. His client needed a marketing campaign. Abdul worked on the premises one day a week, got to know the tenant businesses and produced a detailed report that included recommendations on how BBI could remain self-sustainable in the future.
“The project gave me a unique opportunity, because you don’t normally get to do an internship in consulting. People don’t open their business to you so you can practise,” said Abdul.
“With this subject I learned a lot – how to write a consulting report was a challenge at first – and I learned how to operate on a tight timeline.Ultimately, I hope my recommendations help the incubator to succeed and grow long term. The subject was definitely a great experience.”
Abdul was invited to present his report to the BBI Board of Directors, leading to him making valuable contacts in his career field.
This new subject is a great example of how the La Trobe MBA assists students to accelerate their careers through a practical, industry-focused approach.
Welcome back to the LBS Innovation Series, developed in 2018 by Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice in Economics at the La Trobe Business School. We kick-off this year’s series with a Summary Report by Mark discussing the key take-aways from the LBS/NORTHLink Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum. Please access the full report below.
The LBS Innovation Series is based on the annual LBS forums that promote two-way knowledge transfer and opportunities for direct dialogue between cutting science and technology researches and business leaders. The LBS Forums provide insights as to how La Trobe University can contribute to best help businesses to innovate and deal with disruption.
In 2018, the LBS Innovation Series explored how to create sustainable bonds between universities and industry with a view towards creating a more mature innovation culture and ecosystem. The blogs were based on the successful LBS/NORTHLink National Innovation Forum (NIF) held at the end of 2017. More information and last year’s blogs on this event can be found here.
In 2019, the LBS Innovation Series will focus on innovation in the food production and agribusiness sector in Australia. The blogs are based on the successful LBS/NORTHLink Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum (IFAF), held at the end of 2018. We explore the role innovation plays in food production and agribusiness and how to succeed globally in an era of increased disruption.
Introduction to the 2019 LBS Innovation Series
In the video below, Mark gives an overview of the LBS/NORTHLink Innovation in Food and Agribusiness Forum and provides an introduction to the 2019 LBS Innovation Series.
Challenges and gaps for Australian food and agribusiness
The overall discussion during the 2018 forum was very positive in terms of the opportunities for Australian food and agribusiness to meet increasing global demand for food and fibre. However, several challenges and gaps were noted that need to be addressed to maximise the sector’s productivity potential.
The gaps include:
Gap to Perfect’ – that is driving strategic management of firms to address the gaps between Australian business performance across the value chain and international best business practice.
Gaps between farm technology (farmers and their ‘ecosystem’) and the investment and finance community, tech developers, urban based research institutions and the agri-political community.
Gaps between agriculture and health scientists and researchers.
Gaps in youth education and training for this sector (i.e. data analytics, AgTech, robotics, computer and science literacy).
Gaps in expectations across customers (demand), producers (supply) and researchers (R&D).
Gaps in telecommunications and transport infrastructure holding back agriculture’s supply chain productivity.
Gaps in accurate data and agronomic insights for forecasting and risk assessment.
Gaps in the application of vision assisted capability in farm and manufacturing robotics.
Gaps in Australia’s current AgTech and agricultural science research funding models.
Gaps in the use of agriculture big data use driven by legal, privacy and cultural concerns.
The generally agreed view by delegates and speakers at the forum was that these gaps are not insurmountable but in the Australian context require greater private and public collaboration and investment to effectively bridge.
We will present each of the speaker presentations at the 2018 IFAF as part of the LBS Innovation Series throughout 2019.
Dr Mark Cloney is Professor of Practice in economics at LBS. Prior to joining La Trobe University, Mark was the Senior Executive Service officer responsible for enterprises risk management, business planning, audit and protective security in the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture and Water. Mark teaches in the economics discipline in which he holds a PhD and in risk management practice.
Emily Clymo, an agribusiness student from Bendigo, was selected for an internship at BASF at their Mt Gambier site. BASF is the largest chemicals producer in the world focusing on creating chemistry for a sustainable future. Not only was it a paid internship, BASF also provided Emily with accommodation and a work vehicle during her stay at Mt Gambier. LBS Newsroom sat down with Emily to hear more about her internship experience.
Congratulations on getting selected and then successfully completing the internship! Could you tell us a bit more about yourself?
Growing up in a farming community I had always had a keen interest in the agriculture sector, coupled with an interest in business lead me to begin studying the agribusiness degree at La Trobe in 2017. Shortly thereafter I was giving the opportunity to work as a student ambassador for the university providing information to potential future students about life at La Trobe and more specifically about the agribusiness degree. This gave me the opportunity to represent La Trobe at the Australian Sheep & Wool Show in both 2017 and 2018. This began to open my eyes as to the vast job prospects available, developing a keen interest to understand the various application of agribusiness to all areas of agriculture after growing up in a predominately dairy farming town.
The position for the BASF internship was offered to all agricultural science and agribusiness students and I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to undertake the 14-week summer program breeding hybrid canola.
What did you have to do to get an internship?
To get the internship at BASF I was required to submit a cover letter outlining my suitability to the position and a resume. The candidates were then shortlisted and interview times for the following week were arranged. A formal interview took place at the La Trobe University campus in Bundoora. I received a phone call in the following weeks to inform me that I had been successful in attaining the internship.
What did the internship involve?
The internship was in Mount Gambier, South Australia, working on canola breeding sites to produce experimental hybrid canola lines for Australian and Canadian breeding programs. I worked alongside field agronomists to learn the process of growing unique hybrid canola that has the potential to be released into the commercial market if proven to be successful in further trials. It was a very hands-on internship involving seeding, crop care and site maintenance, erecting pollination tents, handling pollinators (flies and bees), harvest and the supervising of casual labour workers.
How did the internship enrich your student experience?
The internship has enabled me to gain an understanding of real-world application of agricultural and management skills learnt in the agribusiness degree. It has allowed me ‘test out’ the industry and determine if it is the best fit for me going into the future and expand my knowledge as to the available positions within the agriculture and agribusiness sectors. BASF has provided me with a large range of networking opportunities working with professionals from the Canadian breeding program increasing my connections not only nationally but internationally within the organisation.
My student experience at LTU has been enriched by having a practical knowledge of the industry to support the theory learnt at La Trobe. The internship has provided me with more clarity going into the future about which subjects I should enrol in to learn the necessary skills that are required to succeed in the agribusiness industry. Undertaking the BASF internship program has complimented my studies at La Trobe to build a competitive advantage and a solid foundation to develop a career in the industry.
What is your next step study/career-wise?
Going into the future I still have one remaining year of my agribusiness degree, which I will complete at the Bendigo campus. Once I have graduated from the degree I’m currently looking into various graduate programs within the industry to continue gaining a greater understanding of all areas within agribusiness to expand my knowledge and career options.
LBS was recently fortunate to host an interesting presentation by a distinguished visiting scholar, Professor Steven Johnson from Sheffield Business School where he is Assistant Dean Research.
Steven shared research, collaboration and engagement initiatives currently being developed at Sheffield Business School. Some of these initiatives will be in collaboration with LBS, which brings opportunities to our students and staff.
Steven gave a presentation for the Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Marketing (EIM) Department on the entrepreneurial ecosystem of the city of Hull. He will further share his research findings with the LBS entrepreneurship team at the upcoming Australian Centre for Entrepreneurship Research Exchange (ACERE) Conference in Sydney, an annual conference co-sponsored by LBS. We will soon share more news about this conference. For any queries, please contact Professor Alex Maritz.