What does a thriving fine wine export business, the biggest online drugstore in China and one of South Australia’s leading social enterprises have in common? An entrepreneurial spirit, yes. But also, they’re all headed by alums of Flinders Business School.
Aaron (Yalin) Zhou is Chairman of Australia Morish Wines (China) Co Ltd, a company that imports bottles of original Australian wine from seven excellent wineries to China. He’s part of the Flinders Bachelor of Commerce 2009 class.
Junling Liu, who holds an MBA in International Business Management earned and received at Flinders, is now an e-commerce billionaire from the success of founding 111.
Flinders class of ’15 MBA graduate Amy Orange, who started social enterprise Harvest Fair Australia, was recognised this year by online publisher InDaily in its inaugural 40 Under 40 awards.
They say entrepreneurs are born. But in the case of Flinders, the opposite is true.
Zhou, Liu and Orange demonstrate the breadth and range of skills a qualification from Flinders Business holds. Here’s how the South Australian school achieves such enviable feats:
Work integrated learning: An early launchpad to real-world experience and network building
Internships, externships, industry placements – call it what you want, but these real-world experience now ranks highly among the list of traits potential employers look for in job candidates. At Flinders Business, the comprehensive Work Integrated Learning (WIL) program takes care of this need.
As a key element of its education philosophy, business students have the opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of their undergraduate or postgraduate degree. More than 200 industry hosts collaborate with Flinders, including one of the Big Four accounting firms, internationally-recognised FMCG brands, banking and finance institutions and South Australian state and local government departments. Key partners include Price Water House Coopers, McDonalds Bank SA, EY, Hudson, BT, Hudson and Bendigo Bank.
Richard Timmins is in his third year of a Bachelor of Information Technology (Honours) and also studying a Bachelor of Letters (Innovation and Enterprise). It’s a course designed for the jobs of the future, teaching students how to come up with entrepreneurial solutions in a world disrupted by constant and rapid change.
For practical experience, students participate in WIL or immerse themselves in live industry projects with the New Venture Institute. Timmins believes such experiences, combined with technological and entrepreneurial skills, are vital in the current job market.
“I want to learn more about entrepreneurship, new ventures and start-ups because the world of work and the scope of jobs is changing rapidly. It’s an important time to be at the forefront of change,” he says.
What can a person achieve in 12 weeks?
If you’re a Flinders Business student, the answer to that question is: a lot.
Offered to students via the New Venture Institute, the Venture Dorm is a practical 12-week program in which students pair up with local business mentors and learn how entrepreneurs build new ventures. Then, they create one by themselves within a 12-week time frame.
Much has been made about college drop-outs forming the archetype of entrepreneurial success. That’s a myth. The bulk of successful entrepreneurs are those with a solid foundation in business studies; those who have received consistent guidance on how to apply theory they have learned.
That’s the aim of the activities planned under Venture Dorm. Students receive guided one-on-ones each week with experienced individuals, testing their start-up concept in the real world while learning key entrepreneurship principles, including Lean Startup and the Business Model Canvas.
Houssam Abiad, Councillor and Former Deputy Lord Mayor at Adelaide City Council thinks the program is successful because it incorporates practical elements.
“It’s not just about what you learn, it’s not about the theory – it’s really about getting out there and putting it into action,” he says.
Sharpen your innovation and creativity at Flinders Business
Preparing students for the future is a constant task, forcing us to keep pace with the rapid changes happening around us. Pause for a second and business schools stands to miss out on the relevant and significant developments crucial to their students’ education.
Understanding this urgency, Flinders has developed a suite of innovation and enterprise electives and courses to prepare students for the careers of tomorrow.
It’s powered by the Fox School of Business, a US top ten business school for entrepreneurship*, and its very own New Venture Institute (NVI). These electives aim to develop ‘personal enterprise skills’ in students.
“Innovation and creativity – those characteristics that underpin entrepreneurial thinking – are a critical part of the picture for all industries,” says Matt Salier, Director of the NVI at Flinders.
“Next time someone asks you what job you’d like, challenge yourself by reframing the question as, ‘What problem would you like to solve?’ Our partnership with the Fox School of Business brings the best in global education methods and content to help our students answer this question.”
At NVI, these programs and courses cater to all levels, with the Professional Certificate in Innovation for Transformation being tailored to the working professional, plus the Graduate Certificate in Innovation and Enterprise and Graduate Diploma in Innovation and Enterprise that are perfectly suited to postgraduates. Prospective students can look forward to its forthcoming Master of Innovation and Enterprise, launching next year.
From critical thinking, to problem solving and creativity, to fully understanding how disruptive technologies impact the world – these capabilities ensure every Flinders Business student can adapt to whatever life throws at them, personally and professionally.
NVI’s stats show a promising future. So far, there have been 382 student projects, 3,357 individuals trained, AU$ 2,925,000 in lifetime cash injections and 273 startups created since its foundation. It has also been named ‘Top Challenger: Asia-Pacific’ in the UBI World Benchmark Study – the world’s most extensive ranking exercise for university-linked business incubators and accelerators.
As Salier concludes: “The NVI is open to any student at the university with an idea or a goal to be able to make change because we understand that some of the best ideas come from the most unlikely places.”
“These embedded business experiences ensure Flinders graduates are equipped to be future
employees or future employers for the growth businesses of tomorrow.”