Business students from Monash University are using their study time to help solve business and management challenges faced by community and non-government organisations (NGOs).
As part of the University’s Master of Business Administration (MBA), students are required to undertake community corporate projects with MBA students from other business schools around the world.
MBA Director Associate Professor Amanda Pyman said the community corporate project component allowed the students to apply the analytical skills they had learnt throughout the degree in a real workplace situation as well as assist the NGOs find business solutions to difficult issues.
“Traditional management skills are no longer enough. To truly make a difference, corporate leaders must also have a deep understanding of their social responsibility and the impact this has on their business,” Associate Professor Pyman said.
“The community corporate projects provide the students with core consultancy and investigative skills, as well as an opportunity to explore in-depth a real business or management problem in the Not for Profit or community sector.
“The project therefore provides the students with a valuable and unique opportunity to apply academic knowledge to professional management and business practice and make a valuable contribution to the sector.”
Monash MBA student Ashish Sharma and his fellow team members Anna Baggaley and Dr Liadi Mudashiru from the Newcastle University Business School (UK) worked with the management team at SIDS and Kids Australia to improve the operational and financial position of the charity’s online store.
“SIDS and Kids do very noble work so the team was very passionate and motivated to successfully complete the project we were given,” Sharma said.
“Through research and consultation with all key stakeholders in the organisation we were able to provide direction on future projects to improve the revenue generated by the charity’s website.”
The students also recommended enhancing the visual appeal of the website and that the SIDS and Kids national office should work more closely with its state offices to increase the revenue of the website.
Ashish said the project helped him better understand the complexities of decision making involving the interest of many stakeholder groups, especially when they were sometimes conflicting, and that businesses have a significant power to make a positive impact to the community.
“It is important we consider the long term implications of our business decisions in the broader context in which we live and work. This learning will enable me to make informed decisions in my professional career,” Ashish said.
Partner organisations involved in the corporate project include Cricket Australia, Destination Melbourne, Royal District Nursing Service, SIDS and Kids Australia, National Disability Services and Wyndham Community and Education Centre.