Welcome to the final Faculty of Economics and Business Postgraduate e-newsletter for 2010.
In this edition, we will be highlighting our revitalised Master of Commerce degree. As our flagship postgraduate program, studying a Master of Commerce will allow you to either fast-track your current career or take it in a new direction entirely. Developed in close consultation with industry leaders, graduate recruiters, current students and alumni; the program is an excellent example of the faculty's active engagement with business and government.
The Master of Commerce is a highly relevant and professional program of study, which will allow you to take your career to the next level in virtually any field of your choosing. In this issue, you will see first-hand how two of our outstanding students - Freya Smith and Michael Higgins, are utilising their studies to achieve exactly that. Visit our website to find out more about the Master of Commerce and how it can be of benefit to you.
We also showcase one of our outstanding alumni, Dr Zoë Lester, who recently completed her PhD in Business Law while working full-time. I hope you find reading about her research in monitoring and regulating financial crime as interesting as I did. Her ability to balance work, study and life should be a great motivator for all students.
When you study in the Faculty of Economics and Business, you will have access to one of the largest networks of business and professional educators in Australia. You will also be well-supported through the range of services that we've established to assist you with your studies. In addition, many of our postgraduate programs allow you to study full-time or part-time, giving you the flexibility to combine your study with other commitments.
It was a pleasure meeting many of you who attended the Postgraduate Information Evening which was held on Wednesday 13 October. I would encourage you to finalise your applications soon, as the 30 November deadline is fast-approaching. For those still considering their study options, our next Postgraduate Information Evening will be held in April 2011.
I look forward to welcoming you to the University of Sydney in the near future.
Associate Professor John Shields
- Our Students
An Interview with Freya Smith
Michael Higgins - Taking a new Direction!
- Our alumni: Dr Zoë Lester
- Event Profile: Postgraduate Information Evening
- Rewarding teaching excellence
After successfully entering a graduate recruitment program with one of the Big Four banks, Freya Smith realised that the Master of Commerce at the University of Sydney held the key to enhancing both her skills and career opportunities.
Why did you decide to complete a Master's degree?
In 2009 after completing my Bachelor of Business, I started as a graduate at one of the Big Four banks. The rotating nature of the graduate program enabled me to work in various areas of the company, which was a great learning experience but highlighted the need for me to further my education in my chosen field of Change Management. I therefore began the Master of Commerce whilst working full-time as a Change Manager.
What made you choose a postgraduate degree from the University of Sydney?
Sydney University has a fantastic international reputation. Also, the option to attend night classes helped cement my decision that it was the right place for me.
Do you have any advice for students who are working and considering postgraduate study?
Juggling full-time work and part-time study is challenging but definitely worthwhile. I would recommend it to anyone who is keen to add another layer to their personal development and fast-track their career.
What do you hope to achieve professionally?
I would like to one day become a leading Change Manager in the finance industry.
Michael Higgins commenced an undergraduate degree in engineering but soon realised that he had a passion for finance. While some would have felt that a career change was not a feasible option, Michael seized the opportunity to shift his career through the Master of Commerce at Sydney.
After growing up in the nation's capital, Michael Higgins made the big move from Canberra to study a Bachelor of Engineering (Civil) at the University of Sydney. As an outstanding student and athlete, Michael gained admission through the Sydney Uni Sport & Fitness Elite Athlete Program. Michael balanced his study with extra-curricular activities, such as playing AFL with the Sydney University Football Club and successfully winning a first grade premiership. He also represented the University as a Student Ambassador.
But despite his successes, Michael soon realised that there was more that he wanted to achieve: "When I was about half way through my engineering degree, I discovered that I was interested in finance." After attending the Faculty of Economics and Business Postgraduate Information Evening, Michael was convinced that the Master of Commerce would allow him to achieve his goal. The flexibility of the program to suit students from a wide range of backgrounds, particularly appealed to Michael as he could complete his engineering degree and then commence the Master of Commerce with confidence.
While changing career direction can be a little daunting, if you follow your interests it can be a rewarding and exciting journey. As Michael explains, "The opportunity to develop skills synonymous with a background in engineering and utilise them in the world of finance has been as invaluable experience. Making some lifelong friends along the way has made it even more worthwhile."
Looking to the future, Michael is grateful for the flexibility and versatile skills that his study at the University of Sydney has provided him with, to pursue a career of his choosing. "I haven't decided which specific area of finance I would like to work in long-term. However, my short-term goal is to complete my graduate program with Morningstar and become an equity analyst."
For more information on the Master of Commerce and the wide range of postgraduate programs on offer, visit the Postgraduate Coursework Studies page.
Dr Zoë Lester has a penchant for money laundering, terrorism financing and other criminal activities. That is, she's passionate about helping catch the bad guys rather than getting involved with illegal behaviour herself.
Zoë’s interest in this highly specialised area has lead her to complete a PhD in Business Law on anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing (or AML/CTF as it is commonly referred to in the industry) and risk. And, there's no doubt her research has been particularly timely.
Following the enactment of new AML/CTF laws several years ago, Australian financial institutions have necessarily had to reconsider the role they play in helping government authorities detect and prevent certain types of crime. Whilst money laundering and terrorism financing have long posed risks to financial institutions, such risks have been exacerbated during the past decade due to rapid advances in technology, the further globalisation of the financial services industry, heightened levels of regulation, and increased penalties for non-compliance with legislation.
In her role as Executive Manager, AML/CTF & Sanctions at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Zoë is involved in the bank’s day-to-day management of AML/CTF and is currently helping to oversee a multi-million dollar sanctions project.
“The last few years have really seen a significant number of changes in the Australian AML/CTF regulatory landscape. Due to the introduction of broader obligations and the advent of tighter government regulation, most financial institutions have now invested substantially in tightening their internal controls. Fundamentally, they've had to improve their ability to assess, monitor, mitigate and manage their risk exposures.”
Whilst there are no reliable figures available with respect to the scale of international money laundering activities, figures suggest that organised crime has become an industry and money laundering has become a business – capable of challenging multinational corporations as an economic power.
There's no doubt that Zoë stands out from the crowd. Not only did she complete her PhD in record time, but she is currently one of very few female executives working in the male-dominated world of monitoring and regulating financial crime.
In addition to this, she also finds time to mentor disadvantaged youth, and will soon be participating in the University of Sydney's mentoring program for young women in investment banking/finance. “To me, mentoring is not at all about directing another person; it's simply about providing them with the guidance, support and encouragement they need to make their own decisions.”
Not to mention she's also the lead singer of a soul/hip hop band. “I've always loved music and singing, and playing in a band throughout the duration of my studies helped me to stay sane.”
During her undergraduate studies, she worked and undertook a clerkship at a leading Australian-based international law firm, before leaving to gain some experience in criminal law. “I really loved criminal law but also wanted to do something that drew on my business background.”
To that end, she left criminal law to work in forensic consulting at a professional services firm. It was here where she got her first real taste of fraud/corruption investigations, AML and CTF, and became inspired to complete a PhD. Understandably; she says it is her greatest accomplishment to date.
“It was really a test of endurance to complete my PhD whilst working full-time. When you're not on campus and surrounded by other PhD students, you really have to be very disciplined. That said, I built my studies into my daily routine and, through my work, was lucky to have access to a lot of real-life cases and a host of fantastic industry mentors.”
She said there is a common misconception in the corporate world that a PhD won't help your career but her experience couldn't be further from that. “I've definitely been able to directly apply concepts I have learned and many new doors have opened for me as a result of the research I've done.”
Now that she’s finished her research a number of regulatory officials have asked to read her work. “They might not like all of my research findings but I don't think anyone in my industry can be in the business of telling others just what they want to hear.”
* Story originally appeared in Issue 11 of E&B Connect magazine.
Strong interest in postgraduate programs at info night
Those looking to advance their knowledge and careers were among the 200 guests who attended the Faculty of Economics and Business Postgraduate Information Evening on October 13 at the Hilton Hotel, Sydney.
Fifty faculty academic and administrative staff were on hand to provide one-on-one advice to prospective students.
Associate Dean (Postgraduate), Professor John Shields, who presented at the event, observed: “The level of interest shown in existing and new programs was very promising and we are looking forward to welcoming many of the attendees to the faculty as enrolled students in 2011.”
There was particularly strong interest in the Global Executive MBA and the revitalised Master of Commerce program. Prospective students were also keen to hear the showcase presentation from Dr Pennie Frow, Program Director of the Master of Marketing.
In addition, guests heard from Master of Commerce student Andrew Knevitt who gave up a career in hospitality to pursue a career in Business Information Systems; and Radha Sharma who gave an insightful perspective on what it's like to be a student in the faculty.
Rewarding teaching excellence
A number of the faculty's most outstanding academic staff have been recognised with a Dean's Citation for their teaching contributions in Summer School and Semester 1, 2010.
These citations are awarded to Unit of Study Coordinators and their teaching teams who score very highly on three key indicators of teaching performance in the Unit of Study Evaluation (USE): good teaching, generic skills or graduate attributes and overall satisfaction. The following academic staff were recognised:
- Gareth Jude for Retail Logistics Management, from the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies
- Peter Lok for International Logistics, from the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies
- Matthew Beck and Geoffrey Clifton for Analysis Tools for Transport and Logistics, from the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies
- Thomas Wilkins and Minako Ichikawa-Smart for Strategy & Security in the Asia-Pacific, from the Centre for International Security Studies
- Hamish Malloch for Financial Modelling, from the Discipline of Finance
- Dan Lovallo and Ronny Mounarath, for Business Negotiations, from the Discipline of International Business
- Paul Priday for Creative Communications in Marketing, from the Discipline of Marketing
- Rae Cooper for IR/HR Practice, from the Discipline of Work and Organisational Studies
- Giuseppe Carabetta, Mary Ip, Amanda Porter, Tom Lai and Alex Evans for Foundations of Business Law, from the Discipline of Business Law
Associate Dean (Learning and Teaching) and Director of the Office of Learning and Teaching, Michele Scoufis said: “I am truly grateful to all of these recipients for their ongoing commitment to providing a quality educational environment for our students.”