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University of Sydney Business School Alumnus launches spontaneous Philippines relief mission

03 Dec 2013

Business School Alumnus launches spontaneous Philippines relief mission

When Typhoon Haiyan swept across the Central Philippines leaving behind a path of destruction and death, the University of Sydney Business School alumnus, Michael Go was in Shanghai on business.

Like millions of others around the world, Michael was stunned by the devastation and the appalling loss of life.

"After listening to a couple of bankers drown on all day, I was having a drink with a mate, Trevor Jarrett, and we got talking about the typhoon," said Michael. "We decided to do something positive and in just three hours $45,000 was raised via WhatsApp from a small network of people in Hong Kong."

Within days, the money had been spent on relief supplies - food, water and first aid essentials. The next task was to deliver these supplies into the heart of the typhoon induced chaos in the Philippines hundreds of kilometres to the south east.

To the rescue came another Hong Kong based mate who owned what Michael described as an "old but beautiful Beechcraft airplane".

"The much needed freight was delivered and the pilot and his wife are now heroes in those parts of the Philippines," he said.

Michael completed the Business School's Global Executive MBA program in 2012 and is now involved in a number of start-up enterprises in the finance sector. He is currently working as an international advisor to the central regulators in Shanghai on a strategy to internationalise and open up elements of the China market.

"We did what we did to help the people of the Philippines and to show that people in the finance sector could do more than just talk," Michael said.

"I'm humbled that a small group of caring individuals was able to achieve this and hope it makes us all think about how hard others have it, "he said of the impromptu and informal relief mission. "Our problems aren't really that bad at all."