La Trobe Business School

Tag: NORTH Link

MBA student’s achievement recognised

La Trobe Business School MBA graduate/student Gopal Agarwal was named NISPP Student of the Year at the 2019 Northern Business Achievement Awards, held in December.

Gopal Agarwal was named NISPP Student of the Year


The Northern Industry Student Placement Program (NISPP), managed by NORTH Link, sources placements and projects across the region for students from La Trobe University, RMIT University, Kangan Institute and Melbourne Polytechnic. In 2019, over 300 students from the four tertiary institutions participated.

The NISPP Placement Student of the Year and Placement Employer of the Year awards were sponsored by Unitemps.

Consultant for Floridia Cheese

Gopal worked as a consultant with Floridia Cheese for a semester as part of his
Experiential Learning Project (BUA5ELP) elective. His task involved investigating the viability of a new cheese variety for the Australian and export markets.

Viv Banner, Floridia’s ERP Project Manager, was enthusiastic about the results of his consultancy:

“Gopal was highly engaged and motivated from the start, taking the task well beyond the project brief. He grasped what we wanted straight away and worked hard to ensure he met all our requirements.

Personally, we found Gopal a delight to work with. He demonstrated professionalism and abilities beyond our expectations. We know he’ll have a great future in the corporate world and we’d strongly recommend him to any future employer.”

NBAA Finale 2019

Associate Professor Geraldine Kennett, Director of La Trobe’s MBA Program, highlighted the benefits to students of undertaking a consultancy project as part of their MBA studies.

“Our ELP students apply the skills they gained throughout their MBA in a real-life business setting, identifying, negotiating and delivering an enterprise project that provides them with significant learning opportunities.

NORTH Link has been instrumental in linking our MBA students to projects that are of real benefit to local industry. Gopal has an excellent academic record and we are very pleased that his professional competence has been acknowledged in this way.”

The Northern Business Achievement Awards

The Northern Business Achievement Awards (NBAAs) are a partnership of industry, education, local and state government and decision makers across Melbourne’s north. They recognise local business achievements and excellence, growth and competitiveness.

Read more about the Northern Business Achievement Awards and LBS’ involvement here

MBA students contribute to economic development in Melbourne’s North

With more than eight years professional experience and at least three years in a management position, MBA students use their knowledge and expertise gained through business education to work as management consultants for La Trobe University’s Industry Partners and their affiliated organisations, particularly in Melbourne’s North.

Experiential Learning Project

The subject that facilitates students to work as management consultants is called Experiential Learning Project (BUA5ELP). Students enrolled in 2019 have contributed to the economic development in Melbourne’s North by:

  • Creating a new model for recruiting and training vocational education and training (VET) teachers for the Northern College of Arts and technology (NCAT).
  • Recommending strategies to improve young women’s access to investment opportunities for the Women’s Investment Network Forum (WIN).
  • Developing a growth strategy for the Carlton Respects program.
  • Presenting a comparative analysis and strategy options for Melbourne Innovation Centre.
  • Creating new job opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities to work in the digital economy.

The Experiential Learning Project was a crucial experience in my MBA journey. It gave me the opportunity to practically experience the inner workings of a SME and help the organisation resolve an identified business blockage. The consulting project helped me practically utilize my learnings from the MBA into a real business scenario. The ELP was an incredible learning opportunity that helped me get industry ready post the MBA.

Mahima Chaudhary (International MBA Advanced Student)

MBA Study Tour with NORTH Link

NORTH Link is a regional partnership of industry, education and government and one of Victoria’s key economic development organisations. As part of its interest in food security and reinventing the industrial focus of Melbourne’s northern suburbs, NORTH Link is facilitating new export markets for agricultural products and food manufacturing.

Supported by the La Trobe International and prestigious Chongqing University, this study tour invited MBA students to accompany the NORTH Link delegation on this important business venture to China.

Six MBA students learnt first-hand how businesses in Melbourne’s North are working together to develop new commercial opportunities for the region. Students expanded their knowledge of international trade in the Chinese market and built professional networks.

The MBA Study Tour with NORTH Link provided an opportunity for me to experience China and international trade like no other. Incredibly grateful to have been part of the delegation, receiving in-depth learning of culture, business interactions and opportunities within Chongqing and Chengdu. The friendships and networks made were invaluable and enhanced my MBA experience exponentially. 

Alana Pendrick (OnLine La Trobe MBA student)
The NORTH Link and La Trobe MBA Delegation at Chongqing University
The NORTH Link and La Trobe MBA Delegation at Chongqing University

What happens when an MBA student combines an Experiential Learning Project with an International Study Tour?

Bhrigu worked on a growth strategy and business plan for Juanita’s Kitchen, a food manufacturing business in Coburg. Then he seized the opportunity to take Juanita’s hot sauces and spices to the Sichuan province of China on an MBA-NORTH Link Business Study Tour.

Study Tour 2019 – China proved to be one of the best experience I have had during my MBA journey so far. It was one in the lifetime opportunity for me which helped me gain deep insights about China’s culture, history, city planning, local businesses and foreign trade by being a part of a prestige delegation from Melbourne’s North which included NORTH Link and prominent government officials. Moreover, it opened pathways for networking and helped me in making some precious business networks and friends. I would like to thank the MBA Director, Dr Geraldine Kennett for providing MBA students with this wonderful opportunity which significantly and undoubtedly added value to our degree.

Bhrigu Dutt Sharma (MBA Student)

LBS recognises outstanding youth in local business

For a number of years, LBS has been sponsoring the Young Business Achiever Awards as part of the Northern Business Achievement Awards (NBAAs).

The Young Business Achiever Awards identify businesses and leaders in their fields that have made a major contribution to the economy, community and development of employment skills for the next generation in Melbourne’s northern region.

What are the NBAAs?

The NBAAs occur through a partnership of industry, education, local and state government and decision makers across Melbourne’s north, including the local government areas of Banyule, Darebin, Hume, Moreland, Nillumbik and Whittlesea. The awards recognise the business achievements of small and medium-sized enterprises and encourage business excellence, growth and competitiveness. The NBAAs are managed by NORTH Link, a regional partnership of industry, education and government, and partner of La Trobe University

Young Business Achievers Awards

LBS sponsorship of the Young Business Achiever Awards is part of our ongoing commitment to the local community, and local youth in particular. The Awards recognise the achievements of young people (25 years or under) working in local businesses who display an outstanding attitude, endeavour and contribution to their company and fellow employees.

LBS sponsorship of the Young Business Achiever Awards aims to develop and strengthen the links between businesses, the local community and the School. The LBS mission is to improve the education standards of the business leaders of tomorrow, and to up-skill today’s business leaders to help them better navigate the challenges and opportunities associated with business disruption. So we are delighted to partner with NORTH Link in these awards that recognise local business excellence and innovation.

Professor Jane Hamilton (Dean and Head of the La Trobe Business School)

Recipients 2019

The awards are presented during the quarterly NBAA breakfasts, where recipients receive a certificate and small prize in recognition of their achievement. There have been two NBAA breakfasts in 2019 with four Young Business Achiever Awards recipients: Shima Rahmatizadeh, Ellie Dunstan, Ella Brothers and Sharnie Robinson. The awards were presented by Dr Mark Cloney, Professor of Practice in Economics at La Trobe Business School.

Shima Rahmatizadeh received her award for establishing EngJunior. Shima has just completed a PhD in Engineering, with a focus on geographical information systems. Shima worked and studied mostly with men, and her dream has been to encourage more women into engineering and science. So she established her own initiative, EngJunior, which brings engineering and science into the classroom and aftercare, showing primary age children how much fun engineering can be. Shima introduces practical activities where children learn and apply the concepts of engineering. It’s enjoyable, educational and a great way to encourage more girls into the career that Shima is so passionate about.

Young Business Achiever Awards: Shima Rahmatizadeh
Shima Rahmatizadeh

Ellie Dunstan received the award for her company Dress Hire AU, founded in 2015. The company supplies Australian women with an affordable alternative to wearing a new outfit for each event. Dress Hire AU services women Australia wide via a delivery service and was one of the first Australian dress hire businesses to automate through a website and booking app. Shoppers can also visit the Eltham warehouse to try on and walk away with a valuable garment at a fraction of the price.

Young Business Achiever Awards: Ellie Dunstan
Ellie Dunstan

Ella Brothers received her award for her outstanding work as Dispatch Officer at Combo, a provider of business IT solutions. Ella has great quality customer service skills, with a focus on the professional technical services that Combo delivers and ensures that customers get the right tech on their doorstep at the right time.

Young Business Achiever Awards: Ella Brothers
Ella Brothers

Sharnie Robinson received her award for her longstanding contribution to Ferguson Plarre, a family owned and operated bakery business. Sharnie’s first job, at the age of 15, was with Ferguson Plarre and she worked her way up from washing dishes to managing the shop in Mernda during Year 12. From there she managed the shop for two years before she became a business partner and opened her own store. Within 18 months of opening, the store won an award for excellence in retail and Sharnie was nominated for the Telstra Small Businesswoman of the Year award.

Young Business Achiever Awards: Sharnie Robinson
Sharnie Robinson

LBS congratulates all these young business achievers on their awards!

La Trobe MBA – Practical consulting skills for the future

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.

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