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SCU business students take on the nation


23 September 2003
They won the Queensland heat against the top universities in the State, now six Tweed Gold Coast students from Southern Cross University’s Graduate College of Management are off to Sydney where they will take on the best in the nation in the finals of Australia’s most prestigious business contest, the Boston Consulting Business Strategy Competition, at the University of New South Wales on Friday, 3 October.

In July, the SCU students defeated teams from Bond University, University of Queensland, Southern and Central Queensland Universities and the Queensland University of Technology in the Queensland. Now they face four other regional winners, including one from New Zealand.

The six Master of Business Administration (MBA) students reflect SCU’s international student profile. They are: Kerry Weale (Australia), Andre Coetze (South Africa), Graeme Dustow (New Zealand), Masoud Kolahdouzan (Iran), Paul Schatzle (USA) and Carmen Windhaber (Austria).

“SCU fielded the most internationalised team in the State heats, an indication of the university’s diversity and growing international reputation,” MBA student and team member Graeme Dustow said. “We all bring different abilities and background to the team. We have a Doctor of Laws, a professional accountant, a construction person, a hardware retail person, and a marketing person. It’s this diversity that’s giving us coverage of all the appropriate areas for business strategy.”

The Boston Consulting competition involves teams being locked in a room with any three text-books of choice, one calculator and about forty pages of a tricky business problem nominated by BCG from an actual case study. Three hours later they have to produce a written report and deliver a ten minute verbal report, including visual presentations of slides. They are judged by professors from business schools from around Australia and representatives from BCG.

“We’ve been working hard to further develop our skills for the higher intensity of the national competition,” Mr Dustow said. “We believe we’ve come this far because of both the quality of the students and the education provided at SCU’s Tweed Gold Coast campus. The consistent linkage of proven and innovative theoretical frameworks with practical application presented by our SCU lecturers in all the study units we have undertaken has enabled this result.”

The six students have been meeting twice weekly to hone their skills for the October showdown, using simulations and business case studies.

“Now the pressure is on!” Mr Dustow said. “Even in practice sessions we’re feeling a sense of greater urgency. We want to do our very best and we acknowledge we’re up against the best universities in Australia.”

SCU’s Graduate College of Management has one of Australia’s largest enrolments of business graduates.

The MBA program currently has 900 students on campus, off shore and via distance education, while there are 195 students enrolled in the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program, with over 30 supervisors in a variety of business research areas.

“Ninety per cent of our students are already employed, but an MBA or DBA enhances employment prospects,” said GCM Director, Professor Sandra Speedy.

“While we are a smaller college than some city-based business schools, we offer specialised supervision and hands-on professional courses. Our completion rates are high and we are attracting students from around Australia and the world who are switching from business degrees in other institutions to ours,” Professor Speedy said.

Photo opportunities: The students are doing another practice run at 12.15pm on Wednesday 24th September at the SCU Tweed Gold Coast campus with Professor Alex Kouzmin, doing the critique. Alternatively, the Tweed Gold Coast GCM staff are holding a farewell afternoon tea at 4 pm on 1 October in the Harvard breakout area on the second floor of the campus.

Media contact: Sara Crowe or Kath Duncan: 6620 3144 or M: 0439 858 057.