“WE should focus our mind on the future, not the past,” quipped Chinese President, Xi Jinping, at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, last year.
It’s a quote from an ancient Chinese philosopher, referenced to guide the Asia-Pacific (APAC) in the face of profound changes in the global economy. Xi called for the APAC region to respond with more promotion for an open economy, innovation-driven development and enhanced connectivity between nations. Other country leaders agreed.
Seen within the context of increasingly closed borders elsewhere in the world, the message behind this is clear: the future of business is in APAC.
If remnants of global superpowers still reside in the West, wealth, on the other hand, has rapidly shifted towards the East. Today, the APAC is home to some of the world’s largest economies (China second, Japan third and India seventh), a position it’s unlikely to lose anytime soon.
In 2017, the APAC’s GDP grew 5.6 percent and though this year’s forecast has dropped to 5.5 percent, this is still well above the 3.6 percent projected worldwide.
Similarly, the outlook for Australia in 2018 looks just as strong, with businesses reporting that operating conditions remain elevated near all-time highs.
At Credit Suisse’s annual Asian Investment Conference last year, the bank’s APAC CEO, Helman Sitohang, said :
“Asia has the highest number of first- and second-generation entrepreneurs, which drives the economy.”
“Asia now officially has the highest number of billionaires, millionaires and ultra-high net worths in the world, that shows that growth and wealth creation in the region has proven to be successful and continues.”
So how can young entrepreneurs get a slice of this prosperous pie?
For one, acquiring a business degree at a university located in the region. By planting your roots here early on, you’ll get a foot in the door and can hit the ground running when you start the corporate quest. Important network connections can be cultivated within campus grounds, invaluable to future endeavours which could leverage on such shared experiences in the past.
This is the very same region that hosts a tech hub ecosystem over 500 strong in its emerging markets (and this excludes China), and where funding for Southeast Asian start-ups pulled in a record-breaking US$7.86 billion from investors last year. With such rife opportunities on offer, this is the place to be for business students and graduates looking to jumpstart their career.
Now, any business school leader worth their salt would know that the theory and practice of wealth creation is worth nothing without real-life conditions to apply it.
And what better place for enterprising students to hone these skills than the APAC, tapping into a booming start-up scene that’s hungry for interns, also noting the forecasted high growth and job creation among Australian small businesses?
From work placements in multinationals to internships in a 5-person start-up, business students in APAC universities look set to have their pick. Demand for MBA talent is also strongest here, where 90 percent of employers plan to make MBA hires in 2018, according to the Corporate Recruiters Survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).
Graduating in the most influential region in the world means leaving your campus grounds and stepping directly into a labour market, waiting to absorb the latest cohort of locally-trained, globally-minded business minds.
Here are the top three business schools to jumpstart your APAC business success:
Set in Australia’s secret start-up city of Adelaide is the future-focused Flinders Business School. Here, students are primed for graduate success through a solid education that goes above and beyond, teaching them how to think like worldly entrepreneurs.
At its New Venture Institute, students can specialise in its innovation and enterprise programmes powered by Temple University’s Fox School of Business, a US top ten business school for entrepreneurship (Princeton Review and Entrepreneur Magazine, 2016), as a degree on its own or as an elective in any degree.
Meanwhile, work-integrated learning ensures students gain access to the internships and work placements needed to build coveted relationships and gain valuable industry insight.
From its undergraduate to PhD programmes, it’s hard to argue that a business qualification from Flinders isn’t the first step towards a bright career.
After all, the proof is in the pudding: two Flinders Bachelor of Commerce (Advanced Leadership and Accounting/Finance) degree-holders – Marithe Solis and Caitie Copley – were recently named Accounting Student of the Year and Rising Star of the Year at the Australian Accounting Awards 2018, respectively.
It’s a success Marithe said is due to the “dedicated teaching team at Flinders who challenged and inspired” her. Caitie attributed her award to the Flinders degree that gave her the” strong leadership and work relevant skills” that set her apart from other graduates.
AUT BUSINESS SCHOOL AND THE SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS, AUCKLAND UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY (AUT) – NEW ZEALAND
Business encompasses the art of navigating new and different challenges everyday. To remain competitive, many business figures consider it crucial to surround themselves with a circle that can test their view and expand their thinking.
This is core to the education philosophy at AUT Business School. Skills, knowledge and values are taught with the aim of producing graduates ready to challenge routine thinking, innovate and make positive social change.
This internationally ranked, globally recognised school attracts students from all walks of life, be it Vietnamese students seeking the coveted MBA, former football players from the Solomon Islands looking for a career change or ambitious African women of influence due to give a speech at a TedX event this year.
As final-year student, David Firisua, Jr says: “The programmes are delivered by an excellent team of staff who have enjoyed success in their particular fields and who share a desire to see their students succeed. Where else can you find a lecturer who knows each of the names of their 300 students after only the first week?”
This School of Business (SoB) is where great minds from all over the world go to to experience industry-driven courses. With industry experts as advisors and cutting-edge business labs, the SoB is seen as a launchpad to a successful career in business.
Divided into six departments of teaching, namely Accounting & Finance, Business Law and Taxation, Economics, Econometrics & Business Statistics, Management, and Marketing, the school is staffed by qualified, research-active academics committed to excellence in both teaching and research.
Awards adorn the SoB’s head office, won by students in competitions ranging from data science to stock market trading. Whether it’s the unique opportunity to major in e-business or degrees that provide valuable insight into business environments, students are guaranteed a holistic way of learning that helps groom them into business leaders of tomorrow.
Rishi Raaj Pillai Uvarajan, Bachelor of Business and Commerce (Accounting) and winner of the Best Graduate Award, sums his experience of learning at the SoB as such: “The plethora of knowledge gained throughout my Monash life has given me the opportunity to expand my knowledge far beyond my expectations while simultaneously enhancing my critical way of thinking.”
*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Asian Correspondent