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MBA Students Win Prestigious 2014 Case for Change Challenge

13 Aug 2014

A team of Business School MBA students have won the prestigious PricewaterhouseCoopers Case for Change Challenge - a consulting competition which requires participants to solve a real-life problem facing an organisation.

In a field of 48 teams from 6 universities, the Business School's Team "Blue Sky" took joint first place (with a team from the Macquarie School of Graduate Management), for its exceptional business and consulting expertise.

The Business School team included current MBA students Thommy Arena, Willis Gray, Jessica Hughes and Christopher Murphy.

"The challenge was a fantastic opportunity to develop ourselves and deliver in a space in which we didn't have any previous professional experience," said Willis. "We brought to the challenge our life experiences and many of the lessons we've learnt through the MBA units such as, 'Leadership Practice and Development' and 'Critical Analysis and Thought Leadership'."

The Case for Change Challenge offers participants insight into the world of consulting, including primary research and client interviews; the opportunity to network with professionals in the industry and the chance to have a direct impact on a pressing social issue.

This year, teams offered solutions to challenges facing Tranby Aboriginal College, Australia's oldest, independent Indigenous education provider.

Five teams were selected as finalists, presenting before a panel of judges including: Belinda Russon, CEO, Tranby College, and senior representatives of the college's teaching staff; senior members of PwC's Pacific Strategy Consulting group, including the Director, Chris Paxton and senior members of PwC's Indigenous Consulting group.

"These brilliant ideas will help Tranby immensely," commented Belinda. "It's been very powerful to have this many people thinking and caring as much about our community and college as we do."

A key feature of the Sydney MBA is its focus on developing the personal skills, in addition to the professional skills, of emerging leaders.

"One of the most rewarding parts of the experience was the chance to meet with staff and students from Tranby College," said Willis. "By listening and coming to understand their experiences, challenges, motivations and drivers, we were able to offer clear and thought-out solutions".

Lisa Tarry, MBA Careers and Corporate Relations Manager, mentored and supported the students throughout the competition. "This win demonstrates a core element of the Sydney MBA," said Lisa, "that is the principle of experiential learning and the ability to learn by doing. The solution presented by team 'Blue Sky' was judged on the practicality of its implementation and its ability to achieve realistic outcomes now and in the future. We are very proud of their accomplishments."