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LBS’s Dr Tarek Rana delivers interactive workshop to local businesses in Moreland City Council

Recently, La Trobe Business School’s Dr Tarek Rana delivered an interactive workshop to local businesses as part of an industry engagement initiative between Moreland City Council and La Trobe Business School.

The budgeting and cash flow workshop aimed to help local business owners and managers with:

  • Setting and managing financial budget
  • Improving cash flow and profits of their businesses
  • Identify key business and financial tools

Dr Tarek Rana’s workshop showed how a business can improve its financial outcomes by linking budget with the business strategies. The workshop was focused on refining the way owners manage budget and cash flow by identifying organisational objectives and developing short-term goals and long-term strategies. Dr Rana has discussed many steps a business owner or manager can do at minimal cost to improve, measure and assess performance, re-evaluate objectives, goals, strategies through budgeting and cash flow management.

These workshops are also an important way in which LBS is strengthening its relationships with local industry and the business community.

Dr Tarek Rana

Dr Tarek Rana is La Trobe Business School Academic Coordinator for Albury-Wodonga Campus and a Lecturer in Management Accounting with La Trobe Business School. Prior to becoming an academic, Tarek was a Principal and senior manager of professional accounting firms in Sydney and Canberra. He has considerable practice experience in the areas of business services, taxation, auditing, and financial planning as well as consulting services including performance measurement and risk management.

Tarek has strong links with professional accounting bodies both in Australia and overseas. He is La Trobe University Albury-Wodonga liaison for CA ANZ, CPA Australia, and CIMA UK. He has served as an executive committee member of the CIMA Australia ACT Branch (July 2013 – June 2016), and now serving as a council member of CPA Australia Albury-Wodonga Branch (February 2017 – Present) and a branch committee member of the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand Albury-Wodonga Group (August 2016 – Present).

How our MBA graduates are giving back

By Kelly Griffin

An MBA can advance your career, increase your earning potential and strengthen your network with fellow business leaders.

The professional advantages of pursuing an MBA are widely reported, but what’s less highlighted is the remarkable way our MBA graduates are using their acquired knowledge and networks to give back to their communities.

Here’s how three MBA graduates are giving back.


Bernie Squire

Bus Manager Wodonga Chamber of Commerce, MBA Grad 2016, Board Member AW Regional Cancer Centre Trust Fund

Why did you decide to study an MBA? 

I was made redundant from a senior management role in the finance industry and I was having difficulty finding another suitable role. After talking with a careers adviser I decided to do an MBA for a couple of reasons; to gain academic credibility and also a better chance of employment at the senior executive/director level. The La Trobe MBA really appealed to me because of the flexible delivery blend of ‘face to face’, ‘block intensive’, and ‘video conference’ unit delivery.

What was one of your greatest learnings or takeaways from your MBA? 

I really benefitted from the cohort network that you develop, including the in-class discussion and debate. I guess for me, however, the biggest takeaways were: a greater appreciation of diversity; the ability to research and reflect on critical issues; and, a heightened awareness of corporate responsibility and sustainability issues.

How did doing your MBA help you give back? 

As the manager of the local Chamber of Commerce, I’ve used my new sustainability knowledge to connect with organisations like ‘The Benefits Corporation’ and ‘Blabs Australia and New Zealand’.  We have run a number of Chamber events focussed around being a Conscious Business and increasing our local businesses awareness of their impact in a global economy.

Angela Kelly angela-kelly

Proposal Manager, Veolia Water. MBA Grad 2016

Why did you decide to study an MBA?

I’ve always really enjoyed learning and was looking for a way to expand my knowledge in a formal way. At the same time, I was looking to progress my career to a higher level.

While I felt that my engineering degree had given me a great technical base, I wanted to develop my business skills and improve my ability to work with others.

What was one of your greatest learnings or takeaways from your MBA?

My greatest learning of the MBA is the understanding that working with people who are different to me is not a problem but is actually a benefit.

Having a diverse team that is open to new ideas provides you with a competitive advantage in the market place. Part of this learning is that constructive conflict can actually be beneficial as it is a sign that people are engaged in their work and that they care about the outcomes.

How did doing your MBA help you give back?

The things I learned during the MBA provided me with the courage to provide support and guidance to less experienced colleagues to improve their outcomes. The MBA also raised my awareness of how important equality is for our community.  Women’s education is the best way to improve the lifestyles of communities and their future generations.

Knowing that in Australia the Indigenous community is the most disadvantaged, I used my MBA skills to organise a fundraiser to raise over $3,000 for Indigenous literacy.

Hodi Beauliv low resHodi Beauliv

Executive Management Business Development Sunraysia Community Health, MBA Grad 2015, on Board of Mallee Track Health and Community Services

Why did you decide to study an MBA?

It’d been over 15 years since I’d completed my first degree at La Trobe, so I knew I needed to do something to bring my skills up to date.

I spoke to a staff member at the La Trobe Bendigo Open Day about my passion for social justice and my management aspirations. She recommended La Trobe’s MBA given its focus on sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility.

The ability to complete some semester long units by teleconference in Bendigo, but also the opportunity to meet face-to-face with people from all over the State when completing block units, really appealed to me.

How did doing your MBA help you give back?

After completing my MBA I was exhausted, but passionate to do something to give back to the community.

I am now an Executive Manager in a rural Community Health Service in Mildura. In this role I help drive change to develop services that meet the needs of our local community. I am able to raise new and innovative ideas of how this can be done, with a focus on sustainability of the service, not just short term outcomes, by bringing a corporate social responsibility management focus to my work.

On a personal level, I have also joined the Mallee Track Health & Community Services Board.  Mallee Track covers a large number of small rural communities. By participating on the Board I am able to contribute to the sustainability of the organisation, by ensuring appropriate governance practices are in place for the successful long-term operation of the Health Service.

La Trobe University’s founding Vice-Chancellor, Professor David Myers, once said: ‘The true measure of a university’s greatness is the total effect it has on human welfare and progress’.

We’re extremely proud that our MBA graduates have been able to succeed in their chosen profession while also using their acquired skills to help out others and strengthen their community.

Find out more about studying an MBA or book a one-to-one consultation to discuss your study options.

This article was originally published on The Knowledge Blog.

La Trobe Business School Sport Management student Rebecca Privitelli ready to tackle on and off-field career

La Trobe Business School Sport Management student, Rebecca Privitelli, is rising to prominence throughout Melbourne’s Northern suburbs by cashing in on a huge month in women’s sport.

The 21 year old will be competing in the inaugural AFLW competition in 2017, after being selected by Carlton with pick 142 in the national draft on October 12th this year.

She rounded out her exciting month by being named the first ever head coach of the Northern Knights Football Club women’s team on October 21st.

During this busy period Privitelli still found the time to continue her studies and complete her 120 hours placement at Ikon Park through La Trobe’s partnership with the Carlton Football club.

Speaking to La Trobe Sport earlier this year, Privitelli said growing up ‘she always had a passion for the sport’.

“My biggest dream was to become one of the first women to play in the AFL,” she said. “My love for the sport developed as I started playing and coaching, however I felt like there was an aspect of the game I was yet to be involved in.”

For Privitelli, this turned out to be working in the code she loved and getting vital exposure to the sport industry through her internship at Carlton.

Privitelli gets active during placement.

“Once I completed high school, I received my first job in football which primarily focused on development of the game at the grassroots level.  It was through this opportunity that I realised that a degree in Sports Management was a way I could transform my passion for AFL into a career in the industry.”

Choosing where to complete that Sports Management degree was not a decision Privitelli took lightly, hoping to balance her busy lifestyle while maximising her opportunities to become career-ready post degree.

“La Trobe stood out to me as the clear choice as they had the most extensive options for Sports Management.  The university also appealed to me as they were able to support my commitments as a footballer through the La Trobe Elite Athlete Program.”

“As I neared the end of my second year at La Trobe, placement options were at the forefront of my mind and when I was given the chance to undertake my placement at the Carlton Football Club I knew it was the moment I had been waiting for.”

“I was lucky to be offered a role at the club as a Community Outreach Officer along with nine other La Trobe students.”

The students’ responsibilities as Community Outreach Officers included being responsible for creating authentic experiences for fans and creating a sense of belonging for the community by delivering the Community and Diversity programs.

Privitelli (front left) with fellow students, Carlton Staff and Sport Management co-ordinator Pam Kappelides at Ikon Park.

“I’ve had the opportunity to assist a range of people both internal and external to the club, building my network of industry professionals in the process.”

This network includes students and teachers within the Northern corridor, people within communities from different cultural backgrounds and people involved in the women’s AFL academy.”

Privitelli feels that the experience gained throughout the internship, along with the knowledge gained from her degree has equipped her to to start a successful career in the sport industry.

“The experience gained throughout my placement has significantly enhanced my communication and leadership skills.”

“Everything I have learnt throughout my placement in conjunction with the knowledge gained from my degree at La Trobe University leaves me feeling like I can enter the workforce with confidence.”

“I can now complete my degree with the belief that I am well positioned to tackle any challenge that comes my way.”

This article was originally published on the La Trobe University internships blog.

The Big Idea Competition: La Trobe University with two teams in the Grand final


La Trobe University has not only made the finals of the prestigious The Big Idea Competition, but is the only university in Australia to have two teams come through the semi-final round and into the 2016 grand final of the nationwide competition.

Social Entrepreneurship program

For several years now, La Trobe Business School has offered participation in The Big Idea Competition to students from all over the university as an elective part of their undergraduate curriculum. The competition, initiated by The Big Issue, aims to find and deliver solutions to help homeless, marginalised and disadvantaged people to positively change their lives. In 2016, more than 100 business plans from students were submitted from more than 11 universities throughout Australia and this year La Trobe had 17 teams and 66 undergraduate students enter the competition.

Embedded in a La Trobe Business School subject, Social Entrepreneurship: The Big Idea, the competition sees students collaborate in multi-disciplinary teams to design their own social enterprise – a commercial enterprise which creates social value – with strong support from teaching and professional staff across the university. The best project is then chosen via a round of internal judging, before being formally submitted to the Big Idea competition. In 2016 La Trobe University got the added advantage of having one further team selected as a wild card entry based on merit by the Big Idea judges.

Free Moora Moora & HomeMore 

The 2016 teams from La Trobe University that have made the final are Free Moora Moora (FMM) and HomeMore.

After seeing the disturbing footage of the treatment of imprisoned children from the Don Dale Detention Centre on Four Corners, two LBS event management students Teagan Giggins and Keeliah Frost developed FMM to help lower recidivism rates among young Indigenous people, and reduce the overrepresentation of Indigenous youth in jails and detention centres.

The students were inspired by recent research conducted on emotional intelligence in aged care facilities at La Trobe University. The research focussed on equipping nursing staff with the right tools to manage emotional labour and stress through training. Encouraged by the positive results of this initiative, both students saw an opportunity for providing emotional intelligence and cultural competency training for corrections staff as a way of improving conditions for Indigenous juveniles in detention. The team also aimed to provide employment pathways, skills development and healing support for indigenous young people within Australia’s justice system.

Similarly to FMM, the students from HomeMore drew on their diverse backgrounds, strengths and degree knowledge to develop an ambitious initiative – the project aims to address property affordability levels for single women, while simultaneously reducing Australia’s carbon foot print.

Team members Michael Hutchison, Yianni Polydorou and Marrissa Garner discovered that a carbon-positive SOLCER (Smart Operation for a Low Carbon Energy Region) House can be constructed in under sixteen weeks. Studying Business (Michael and Yianna are both Business students in La Trobe Business School, majoring in leadership and marketing respectively), and Psychology (Marissa is currently completing a BA in Psychological Science), they brought their different perspectives together to see how the Solcer Houses can create renewable energy and save Victorian families up to $140 in energy bills, while putting profits towards helping single disadvantaged parents to purchase their own Solcer house via a rent-to-buy scheme.

The competition finals will take place on 29 November 2016. We wish both teams the best of luck!

La Trobe University & Carlton Football Club join forces for a unique partnership


La Trobe University is pleased to announce a partnership with Carlton Football Club, focusing on a range of initiatives including collaborative research, student internships, professional development, and school and community outreach programs. Professor Russell Hoye, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Development) & Director, La Trobe Sport, and Professor in La Trobe Business School, signed the paperwork with Carlton CEO Steven Trigg last week.

“This partnership is a wonderful opportunity for us to share our sporting research knowledge in a practical, ongoing way,” Professor Hoye said

To read the full announcement, please refer to official Carlton Football Club website.

Donna Burnett reflects on the Women’s Leadership Program – 2016 (Leadership Victoria)

Donna Burnett

By Donna Burnett

Not another ‘training program’ on how to be an effective leader” I said to myself as I was reading the invitation to attend this this three-day residential intensive.

Having spent the past 10 years in the Tertiary sector, the past 8 in supervisory/Management roles, I was closed minded to the idea that I could actually learn anything from attending yet another one of these ‘soft skills’ programs.

With a ‘prisoner’ closed minded attitude, I reluctantly signed up and made the journey to Chateau Yering in the Yarra Valley. (I know – woe is me!)

The purpose of the program was to draw on the experience of expert facilitators, dynamic guest speakers and a diverse group of peers in the room, to explore self-awareness, empowerment, activation, profiling and networks.

Within 30 minutes of the program commencing, I was no longer a ‘prisoner’ but an active, captivated and energized ‘Woman in Leadership’.

Never before had a program been so personal in its approach and design, nor had I ever attended a program that would have a profound impact on everything I do and hold dear.

The program highlights included:

  • High-profile speakers – honest, inspiring, personal stories of leadership from industry trail-blazers, including:
  • Kate Jenkins, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission
  • Bronwyn King, Radiation Oncologist at The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Epworth Healthcare; Founder/CEO of Tobacco Free Portfolios
  • Melissa Lewis, Founder / Personal Brand And Image Specialist, Style Confidante
  • Jacqui Cooper, Olympic Aerial Skier
  • Carmel Arthur, Victoria Police and Victorian Parole Board
  • One-on-one coaching
  • Psychometric assessment and debriefing
  • Harvard peer consultation method, focused on individual workplace challenges
  • Improvisation exercises and hands-on, scenario-based learning activities – assisting with overcoming the fear of improvising, building confidence and teaching how to listen actively, enabling reaction, adaptation and the ability to act gracefully with the unexpected.
  • Deep-dive into complex leadership issues
  • Focus on gender
  • Building networks with peers across sectors

At the conclusion of Day 1, I was an emotional wreck. I was exhausted by the mind blowing personal stories of success and failures and inspired by the resilience these amazing individuals have shown, not only in the face of adversity, but in their everyday world.

Mid-way through Day 2, I was lost for words – something that doesn’t happen to me all that often!

Through the experiential learning activities, psychometric profiling and feedback and coaching, I was beginning to develop an understanding of values, motivation and ethics; authentic leadership and identifying my authentic self. The concept of personal branding and building a courageous sense of self was something I had not considered as part of my daily life (although the understanding the need was more profound than ever expected)

Leadership and management as we know, are two very different things. The ability to develop skills in influencing, negotiation, positioning, effective communication, assertiveness and stepping up, power of intentional impact, and resilience or “bouncing forward” are not skills we are born with. They are not traits like so many people assume come naturally.

How much weight do we give to our circles of moral concern? Are we focusing too much on family, community, other? Perhaps the shift needs to be made to focus on our self and ‘doing our best better’ before we can truly lead others.

Being exposed to these real life scenarios and workplace challenges was an incredible way to expose these skills (or lack thereof) in a safe ‘falling softly’ environment and challenge the way in which we think, behave and act.

By the end of Day 3, I had a new found respect for not only the leaders I work with and for, but a new found respect for myself.

Building one’s capability in strategy, networking and connectedness, utilizing the power of collaboration and being able to design my own individual activation pathway has challenged me, forced me out of my comfort zone, made me rethink what is important (and what is not) but most of all, what I can do as a leader, and what I want to be doing moving forward.

Some points from my own action plan:

  • Ask for what you want if you think it is right
  • Ask for help
  • When people don’t agree with you – keep talking
  • Do your homework
  • Say yes to every opportunity
  • Be patient, bold and savvy
  • Empower others to make the decision
  • Have faith in yourself – believe in your capability
  • Get someone in your corner to support and champion you
  • Be consistent
  • Don’t let adversity define you – acknowledge it
  • Timing – get it right (don’t react), Stop – think – reflect
  • Own your own career – make connections
  • Be realistic – don’t try to obtain the unattainable
  • Biggest risk is not taking a risk
  • Engage with people you have an AUTHENTIC interest in
  • Be conscious of how you make others feel
  • Prepare for difficult conversations
  • Listen to the wisdom of others
  • Wear a ‘Shit Shield’ – to bounce off the negativity
  • Take your shoes off – You can’t walk a mile in someone else’s shoes if you still have yours on

As a woman in a leadership role, I do not need to be confident, I simply need to be brave.

To learn more about the Women’s Leadership Program, visit the Leadership Victoria website.

LBS Professor of Practice Profiles – Dr Geraldine Kennett: Empowering leaders

GK with Terry and Andrew

Being one of the first Professors of Practice appointed at La Trobe Business School early in 2015, Geraldine Kennett has extensive high level industry experience. Having worked at Myer for more than twelve years, rising from an on floor supervisor to Human Resource Manager, Geraldine then moved on to the Central Metropolitan College of TAFE, before working at the Australian Human Resources Institute and the Australian Industry Group. Reflecting on this time, Geraldine comments: “I was always very conscious of how people interacted on the shop floor at Myer, and I was always involved in training staff members. So when I started teaching at TAFE, teaching came very natural to me.”

Working as a HR Manager at Myer, Geraldine implemented a new strategy that allowed teams to set up a self-sustaining process with rotating leadership: “We strived for tight-knit teams without a static supervisor,” Geraldine says, “so the limiting sense of hierarchy in teams was removed.” Geraldine then took her experience to the Australian Human Resources Institute, where she set up the AHRI accreditation framework, using the research for her Master’s thesis as a guide for the emerging capabilities of the profession.

But her real passion wasn’t awakened until she joined The Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA), where she initially worked as the Director of Programmes, organising large-scale events and running formal courses on working in the public sector, before being appointed as the institute’s CEO. “Through my role as director of programmes, I learned a lot about how event management worked at IPAA. When I started as a CEO, I really spotted the opportunity for growth and structural improvement; I expanded the staff from 8 to 26 members, and opened a number of regional offices,” Geraldine comments. “But what I was most passionate about as the IPAA CEO, was Indigenous participation in public administration.”

Together with La Trobe Business School, Geraldine initiated the Graduate Certificate in Management (Public Sector) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public servants. Reflecting on this process, Geraldine notes: “This project was the first instance where I was exposed to La Trobe University and its values. We started this project to give Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the Victorian Public Sector the chance to advance their careers. It’s often said that women experience the effects of a glass ceiling, but when you’re Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander these disadvantages hit you twice as hard.” According to Geraldine, the issue for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in the public sector is that they can’t progress professionally due to their limited access to education, and thus they have no way of competing with the broader community at the same level. “A lot of Indigenous communities were indirectly denied the leap in entrepreneurship, leadership, and education that other cultures experienced in a stronger way. By starting this programme, we hope that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Victoria have a chance to sharpen these skills, so they can access a broader range of career opportunities or have the entrepreneurial skills to start a business of their own.”

When the Professor of Practice positions were announced at La Trobe University, Geraldine saw this as a stepping stone to make a difference in society. “My values when it comes to equity and diversity, sustainability, responsible leadership and the community, align strongly with those of La Trobe Business School. I had recognised this when I started working with LBS staff members through IPAA. So for me, the choice was clear. I didn’t even consider other universities.”

Currently, aside from being an LBS Professor of Practice, Geraldine Kennett is also working with the Vice Chancellor of La Trobe University, Professor John Dewar, and Paul Briggs, the Executive Chair of the Kaiela Institute, on an economic development plan for Aboriginal people in the Goulburn Murray region. A key outcome from this project is an agreement by local businesses and government agencies in the region to employ Aboriginal people. Says Geraldine, “This coming May, there will actually be an agreement signed in Shepparton, where local businesses, government and universities (including La Trobe University) agree to include 2% Aboriginal people among their employees. So we are currently creating the demand for Aboriginal employees, and are hoping to widen the supply by providing these communities with extensive training programmes.”

Through her projects and her teaching, Geraldine uses a philosophy of the Four E’s: Envisage, Enable, Empower and Engage. She created this philosophy after seeing how leadership has changed: “There are more stakeholders than ever, and responsible leadership is crucial. Through the four E’s, I want to create an environment where people develop confidence, step out of their comfort zone and bring values in as core behaviour, while developing their own leadership model.” Geraldine says. “It’s also important to me that people step away from my courses feeling confident, and valued.”

Through her passion for Indigenous economic development, Geraldine Kennett is hoping to generate 140 Indigenous business owners before she retires. “If I can see 140 proud Aboriginal people empowered through this programme before I die, it would be the biggest honour to know I made a difference in these peoples’ lives.”

LBS Associate Professor Cardak quoted in The Age on wealth and access to higher education

Buly Cardak La Trobe Business School
On 18 January 2016, La Trobe Business School economics researcher Dr Buly Cardak was quoted in The Age article ‘University offers benefit wealthy and realistic students’.

In the article, A/Professor Cardak comments on his recent research findings showing that wealthier school leavers with a realistic worldview and ongoing forms of support access higher education at greater rates compared with students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Dr Cardak is a specialist in the economics of education, and has been researching factors influencing students’ university studies since early 2006. Read the full article on The Age’s website.

For more information on Dr Cardak’s research, see his website.

Can Economics Improve People’s Wellbeing?

jan Libich La Trobe Business

jan Libich La Trobe BusinessLBS economist Jan Libich has a mission. He has been determined to show that economics, often referred to as the dismal science, can be very useful in helping us improve our lives. His newly published book ‘Real-World Economic Policy: Insights from Leading Australian Economists’ is a culmination of his effort so far. It bridges the gap between academic economists, policymakers, students and the general public by exploring how influential economists – including four former central bank Governors/Board members, an ACCC Commissioner, and a current member of the federal parliament and Shadow Minister – use economic research to develop and evaluate policy.

When asked what constitutes this gap between economists and the general public, Jan Libich’s passion for economics shows: “Economics is often portrayed as divorced from the real world; it is criticized for being about boring curve-shifting, equations and heartless definitions. The book attempts to show that such image is not accurate, that economics can help people and policymakers to make better decisions and thus improve their prosperity.”

Real-World Economic Policy: Insights from Leading Australian Economists is based on a series of one-hour video-interviews the author recorded from 2011–2014 , aiming to help the reader identify welfare-improving policies in areas including healthcare, education, retirement financing, monetary and fiscal policies, banking regulation and climate change. Libich explains: “We all make hundreds of decisions every day. Economics attempts to understand how we make them, and whether we can perhaps improve on our decision making to achieve our goals (whatever they may be: economics does not prescribe that money is all we should care about). The same is true at the country level, whereby the quality of public policies can have a major impact on people’s wellbeing.”

In Jan Libich’s eyes, research in economics has been getting more mathematical over time to enable a more rigorous and objective examination of the economy: “It is about discipline, it is easier to see a flaw in logic when one has to clearly state all the assumptions rather than just use verbal arguments. Together with improvements in computing power this enabled exploration of more complicated models and environments.”

However, these developments have also created a gap between what academic research can teach us and what policymakers in government and the general public can understand. “To me, this implies that academic economists need to pay more attention to communicating their findings and recommendations in an understandable and convincing fashion. And to be honest, we have not done that as well as we should have,” Libich says. “My book is a humble attempt in this direction.”

More information on ‘Real-World Economic Policy: Insights from Leading Australian Economists’ can be obtained here.

ISBN: 9780170364386, Published by Cengage Learning Australia, Pub Date: November 2015, © 2016

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