While New York battled with snow and freezing temperatures, 40 Sternies headed to sunny Sydney to learn about Australia’s robust business world over two action-packed weeks. Under the guidance of Professor Peter Sheldon at the University of New South Wales’ Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM), students were given access to business leaders across a range of industries, along with government officials and non-profit professional working on various facets of Australia’s economic landscape.
Our diverse group of MBAs stated a number of goals they were hoping to achieve through the course, roughly falling into the following themes: understanding how Australia had managed to generate positive economic growth for 27 straight years while so many other economies suffered multiple recessions; drawing similarities and differences of conducting business in a place outside of the United States, especially relevant for those of us who had only ever worked within the US; realizing the major governmental, socio-political, and geographic factors that impact an economy as uniquely situated as Australia’s; and finally, learning from our business education at Stern may or may not translate in a different culture.
Professor Sheldon’s experiential learning-based curriculum was designed to help us address these goals through three channels: in-class lectures, company treks, and a research-based presentation. Some highlights included being able to climb the Sydney Harbor in small groups, working with three small startups at a government led startup incubator to brainstorm creative solutions to their problems, visiting the Hunter Valley wine region and hearing from 5th-generation growers about the industry. For many, the most memorable event of the two weeks was the day we spent at the Australian North Shore Rowing Company, where we not only had the opportunity to learn how to row, but also learned key leadership and team-building skills easily applicable to business settings.
In an increasingly global economy, opportunities like DBi Australia offer Sternies an incredible view into the trends and challenges facing other markets, and how governments and business leaders are stepping up to build stronger economies. It was an absolute honor to be able to learn about doing business in Australia from a slew of incredible speakers and to hear thoughtful final presentations from fellow Sternies. I believe we all walked away with a much better sense about the differences and similarities of a foreign economy. A special “thank you” to Hillary Hipolito for organizing and keeping us on track!