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Business Leaders Reveal Survival Strategies

20 Apr 2012

A panel discussion featuring some of Australia's most astute corporate minds has unearthed key strategies for conducting business in uncertain economic times.

A highlight of the University of Sydney Business School's corporate engagement agenda, the latest Master of Management (CEMS) networking event (held on Wednesday April 18 at the Holme Building) enabled 100 students and academic staff to interact with select business representatives and learn how they and their organisations are currently managing risk and opportunity.

Keynote speaker Gerhard Vorster, Chief of Strategy at CEMS corporate partner Deloitte Australia, commenced proceedings by identifying uncertainty as a business constant.

"The message he left us with centred on the importance of identifying strategies and responses that allow that uncertainty to be leveraged as opportunity," says event moderator Professor John Shields. "He drew very heavily on the Deloitte approach, which is built around what they call design thinking - a formula for blue water strategic thinking based on critical, constructive analysis and the willingness to identify appropriate risks and to take them in the context of the possibility of failure. It was quite an inspiring address and seemed to resonate very well with the audience."

Mr Vorster's address was followed by a Q and A panel discussion featuring Alec Bashinksy (Deloitte Australia), Kristie Brown (Life Without Barriers), Ray Kloss (SAP) and Daryl Sisson (Thomson Reuters).

"Surprisingly, all panel members had very compatible takes on the current business environment," says Professor Shields. "They conceded that yes, there is risk and uncertainty, but also opportunity for those who are prepared to look for it. They also spoke about the professional opportunities currently available for graduate students looking to commence their careers, with all panelists offering fantastic tips and advice in relation to what employers are looking for. Top of the list was a well-rounded set of attributes including leadership and critical thinking abilities, effective communication skills, and a strong sense of ethical and social responsibility."