Charles Sturt University
Charles Sturt University

Faculty of Business Alumni Newsletter | Issue 1 2014

Faculty of Business Alumni Update

Market Leaders in Information Technology Education

Market Leaders in Information Technology Education

Despite downward trends at other universities, domestic student interest and enrolments in postgraduate Information Technology (IT) courses at Charles Sturt University (CSU) are strong and make CSU the market leader.

Mr Martin Hale, CSU adjunct senior lecturer and CEO of IT Masters Pty Ltd, says recent data for the first 10 years (2001 to 2010) that his organisation has partnered CSU in the provision of domestic postgraduate IT, show that CSU has become the market leader, with 13 per cent of domestic enrolments in 2010, up from 3 per cent in 2001.

In 2010 CSU had 504 domestic postgraduate IT students, while its nearest competitor had 377 students. Enrolments at the other Australian universities and private providers, showed a consistent, declining trend, and some had single figure enrolments.

"I think the main driver behind Charles Sturt University's market position is industry relevance, because IT guys are paid on the basis of their knowledge of today's platforms, not what was in place even three years ago," Mr Hale said.

"IT students want to enrol in courses that cover current technology delivered by lecturers working in the industry, and Charles Sturt University's IT masters courses are still the only postgraduate courses that offer a significant number of subjects that meet this category. Because the average life of IT technologies and platforms has shrunk so much, it is really difficult to keep the courses current within the university course and subject management timeframes."

Mr Jason Howarth, lecturer at the CSU School of Computing and Mathematics says it is vitally important that CSU works hard to keep its postgraduate IT courses current.

"A lot of universities claim to be at the cutting-edge when it comes to their information technology courses, but the IT landscape can change so rapidly that, in practice, they are really several years behind," Mr Howarth said. "But with the Charles Sturt University IT Masters' courses, we work directly with industry vendors to ensure our degrees incorporate the very latest technology. For example, we have previously worked closely with Microsoft to ensure our courseware is based on technology that is completely new to market. In an industry that prides itself on innovation and currency, this gives our students a real edge."

The Chairman of the Australian Computer Society Foundation, Mr John Debrincat, said it is concerning to see that there has been a 56 per cent decline in the number of domestic students enrolled in postgraduate information communication technology courses between 2001 to 2010.

"But there is a glimmer of hope to see that the number of domestic students at Charles Sturt University in these courses has doubled during the same period," Mr Debrincat said.

"I think that part of the success of their courses is the relevance of them to industry's and practitioners' needs. There is the potential for the industry to grow by a factor of eight to ten times, according to the IBISWorld report released June 2012. To achieve that potential there will need to be a substantial and sustained growth in the domestic student and graduate numbers."

What’s new in the Faculty?

What’s new in the Faculty?

If you have recently graduated you will have already benefited from the work we've been doing in the Faculty. If it's been a while since you studied with us there have been many changes and course developments.

Practical experience - Our undergraduate business and accounting courses now include compulsory Workplace Learning subjects, where students seek unpaid work-placement with relevant organisations anywhere in the world. We spoke to industry and they told us how important it is to have graduates with job-ready skills that can step into a role and have the experience to work effectively within the workplace from day one. It gives our students the chance to put theory to practice, build their confidence and skills set, and at the same time establish contacts and potential job opportunities within the industry.

Increased international opportunities – Working in Business often means working in an international market place. CSU Global programs provide Business students with the opportunity to gain international exposure, enhance their academic portfolio and build a competitive edge in the graduate market. 

Students can choose a variety of programs from studying on exchange, participating in short-term programs, attending conferences, volunteering or completing their workplace learning at one of many international destinations.

Increased flexibility – we’re delivering courses with great subject choice and more specialisation areas and giving students the flexibility to study at the pace that suits them, from anywhere in the world.


Health check on the go, with your smartphone

Health check on the go, with your smartphone

Research at Charles Sturt University (CSU) aims to make it possible for a doctor to monitor the heart rate or check the blood pressure of a patient hundreds of kilometres away, using wireless sensors and mobile phone technology.

The research team led by Dr Tanveer Zia from CSU's School of Computing and Mathematics in Wagga Wagga is designing a cloud-based health care monitoring system.

The project will develop the communication pathways to allow health information collected by a network of tiny wireless sensors to be transmitted using smart phones or tablet computers.

The information would be sent to a secure internet cloud storage so that health professionals and carers can access the data regardless of their location.

"The aim is to provide a cost effective and efficient health care service to Australia's ageing population, especially in rural and regional areas," said Dr Zia. "What's new about this project is the combination of technological advancements such as smart phones, wireless sensors and cloud computing."

Dr Zia also hopes to develop a real-time alert system to warn of significant changes in a patient's health.

"For example if an elderly person in a remote area had a fall, the mobile device would send an alert to the doctor, carer and emergency services," he said.

The research is using sensors which are already being used in health care to monitor physiological signals.

Dr Zia and his team have already tested collecting the data and transferring it to an android phone, the next step is developing a web-based platform to store the information.

"Given the confidential nature of the data collected we aim to embed security measures to ensure that information can only be accessed by an authorised person," he said.

Dr Zia presented his research at the IEEE Body Sensor Networks conference held at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge in the USA earlier this year.

"Internationally there's a lot of work to develop small, low cost, networked sensors to replace the current, bulky, medical devices," he said.

"What makes our research innovative is that we are using existing telecommunications infrastructure, in this case the 3G network to make the data available over longer distances which will be placed on a secure cloud-based platform to enable medical practitioners to access data from anywhere.

"This breakthrough study will contribute significantly in further advancing research in wireless sensor networks, cloud computing and security in wireless communication from health care perspectives."

Alumni Spotlight - Associate Professor Tom Murphy

Alumni Spotlight - Associate Professor Tom Murphy

Following an extensive career as an applied economist in a of range sectors, Associate Professor Tom Murphy was awarded a Doctor of Business (honoris causa) at a Charles Sturt University (CSU) Faculty of Business graduation ceremony on Friday 20 December.

The University Council had previously resolved to confer this award on Professor Murphy in recognition of his significant contribution to the 'public good' as an outstanding economic leader and teacher who has substantially contributed to education, regional business and the regional communities of Australia.

Professor Murphy's particular expertise in regional economics and labour markets developed after he gained a Bachelor of Economics with first class honours from the University of New England in 1972, and a Master of Science (Economics) from the University of Lancaster in the United Kingdom in 1977.

Prior to becoming the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Western Research Institute (WRI) in Bathurst when it was established in February 1999, Professor Murphy held academic positions as senior lecturer in economics and Director of the Regional Economics Research Unit in the then-Faculty of Commerce at CSU in Bathurst, as well as positions at the University of New England and Macquarie University. As an academic, he was also a member of the NSW Higher School Certificate Economics Syllabus Committee from 1983 until 1993.

As a teacher, Professor Murphy taught a very wide range of subjects at both undergraduate and postgraduate level, including theoretical and applied economics as well as finance and management. He has taught in China for CSU, and has been a guest lecturer at the University of New England, Macquarie University, the University of Technology Sydney, and Chifley Business School. He has also supervised honours and masters degree students, and was a PhD examiner for the University of Queensland and the University of Wollongong.

Before becoming an academic, Professor Murphy had been involved in public sector decision-making as an economic analyst with the Office of National Assessments in Canberra, where he had responsibility for the ASEAN economies. He was reacquainted with public sector decision-making in 2002 when he accepted the role of Chair of the Cox's River Water Management Committee. He also spent time in the private sector as a senior consultant with KPMG Peat Marwick Management Consultants.

Professor Murphy's eclectic background ensured that he would be successful in his role at the WRI. Under his leadership, the WRI rapidly became the leading research and consulting group in regional Australia and completed more than 500 projects for all levels of government, industry groups and businesses including: Australian Pork, the Chicken Meat Federation, the Tourism Taskforce, Delta Electricity, BlueScope Steel, V8 Supercars, Westpac, Perpetual Regional Infrastructure Fund, regional development boards, community groups, and educational institutions including universities, TAFE, and schools in NSW, Victoria and Queensland. Professor Murphy retired from the WRI in 2012.

Professor Murphy has published in a wide range of economic subject areas and established a high media profile in Western NSW for economic and social commentary, featuring regularly on national radio particularly in connection to the quarterly agribusiness survey conducted for Westpac Australia-wide.

Course reboot will take you to the leading edge of the Finance Industry

Course reboot will take you to the leading edge of the Finance Industry

Charles Sturt University (CSU) will be at the leading edge of financial advice industry reforms to protect consumers when it relaunches its Master of Applied Finance in 2014.

The 'future of financial advice' reforms took effect at the start of July 2013 and were designed to more closely align the interests of financial advisers with their clients, while protecting clients from excessive fee arrangements and providing a more competitive advice market.

Dr Adam Steen, Professor in Finance at the CSU School of Accounting and Finance, said the University's new Master of Applied Finance was being redeveloped in light of the reforms to meet the accreditation requirements of the Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Financial Planning Association of Australia.

"The material we're developing for students from 2014 is really at the leading-edge in terms of content, industry application and the delivery of distance education," he said.

"The Masters of Applied Finance is academically rigorous and industry focussed, while retaining enough flexibility in the delivery to allow students to tailor it to suit their own particular circumstance."

Dr Steen said the University's focus on industry consultation would ensure students built real-world skills and expertise they could apply directly to their own work.

"We have a team of very highly qualified academics and outstanding industry people, such as Australia's leading estate planner Michael Perkins, designing the content and delivery of the course," he said.

"We also have an external industry advisory board to help maintain constant communication with the profession and ensure our learning materials and course content are relevant and meet the needs of employers.

"Our interactive, online course material is also backed up by workshops in selected subjects where students can meet each other and their lecturers. These will be held in Sydney and Melbourne, and allow students to exchange information and tips and receive face-to-face tuition in any areas that may be challenging them."

The course also provides students an option to specialise in banking or financial planning, which includes subjects on risk management and insurance, estate planning, superannuation and retirement planning, property investment and taxation strategies.

CSU signs Memorandum of Understanding with Australian Taxation Office

CSU signs Memorandum of Understanding with Australian Taxation Office

Charles Sturt University (CSU) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a pilot program to enhance the training of selected accounting students.

The MoU will allow up to five accounting students from the CSU School of Accounting and Finance in the Faculty of Business the opportunity to complete a mutually beneficial work placement at the ATO in Albury each semester.

"I'm delighted this MoU with the ATO will enhance the practical work experience options for our accounting students, and it is recognition by the ATO of Charles Sturt University's important role in training professionals to work in regional Australia," Professor Vann said.

The Executive Dean of the CSU Faculty of Business, Professor Lesley White, said, "This is good news for our students as they will gain valuable experience with a major government department which could lead to possible future employment there, and will give the successful candidates a very strong addition to their CVs."

ATO Assistant Commissioner, Ms Debra Unsworth said the office was pleased to be entering into this partnership arrangement with CSU.

"We value the opportunity to provide leadership in the training of future professionals and to help students to consolidate theory with practical experience," Ms Unsworth said.

Students will complete specific projects as well as professional and administrative tasks, and will be evaluated for professional skills, team work, problem-solving, initiative, planning and organising, self management, and technology use.

The pilot program commenced in late 2013.

What makes Chinese consumers tick?

What makes Chinese consumers tick?

Understanding why Chinese consumers purchase Western goods is vital for Australian businesses looking to expand their exports to one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, according Charles Sturt University (CSU) Professor of Marketing, Steve D'Alessandro.

He said culture is an important factor influencing decisions when Chinese buyers select their purchases.

"Culture influences many decisions made by individuals worldwide. We have considered how three features of traditional Chinese culture – maintaining 'face', harmony and connections with others in their immediate group of friends, relatives and business connections, also called guanxi – influence the purchase of luxury Western goods by Chinese buyers," said Professor D' Alessandro, who is based at CSU in Bathurst with the Faculty of Business.

Professor D' Alessandro was part of a research team from Australia and China that also studied the influence of two recent political ideologies still prevailing in Chinese society: Maoist communism and Deng's theory of pragmatism.

"Both ideologies have profoundly affected the national Chinese psyche, but they appear to have differing perspectives on materialism and the pursuit of consumer goods," he said.

The research team surveyed 425 people from the emerging middle class in the major city of Shanghai, whose residents have a much higher disposable average income than elsewhere in China and who historically have a strong appetite for Western goods, culture and lifestyle.

"The most important drivers for purchasing decisions were being seen to be successful by the possessions you had and acquiring possessions as a central goal for life, while acquiring possessions for happiness was not as important," Professor D' Alessandro said.

"Interestingly, we found that parts of Chinese society still hold dear political beliefs like Maoism and traditional cultural values like harmony. These work against materialism and hence luxury good consumption in the survey region."

The team will soon publish more results from their research in China.

CSU signs Memorandum of Understanding with National Australia Bank

CSU signs Memorandum of Understanding with National Australia Bank

The training and employment prospects for Charles Sturt University (CSU) students in the Faculty of Business were enhanced when representatives of the University and the National Australia Bank (NAB) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in Bathurst on Thursday 27 June, 2013.

The MoU allows selected CSU students the opportunity to complete a work placement at NAB Banking Business Centres in Bathurst, Dubbo, Griffith, Orange and Wagga Wagga.

CSU Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Andrew Vann, has welcomed the initiative.

"This is the sort of work-ready professional training that the University prides itself on being able to offer our students," Professor Vann said. "It ensures they have real-world experience when they graduate and it enhances their career options and prospects."

The Executive Dean of the CSU Faculty of Business, Professor Lesley White, said, "This agreement provides a wonderful opportunity for Charles Sturt University business students and will be available to both internal and distance education students.

"Ideally, the students will be studying banking, finance, management, or business studies as their major, and will be either an undergraduate student in their second year, who is required to complete a 70-hour work placement, or an undergraduate student in their third year, who is required to complete a 120-hour work placement."

CSU worked in conjunction with NAB to select suitable candidates (one per session per NAB Banking Business Centre) for the initiative, which commenced in Session Two last year (July 2013).

NAB Business Banking Executive in Orange, Mr Will Armstrong, said, "All placements are structured around a well-developed itinerary which includes orientation to the Business Banking Centre, completing NAB online training (both face-to-face and in a virtual classroom with other staff members), attending meetings and shadowing a variety of managers to learn and assist in many aspects of the banking and financial industry.

"NAB is also keen to explore the idea of consecutive placements for the right students; that is, the development of a graduate program offering full-time, paid employment. It's a win-win for all concerned."

Welcome

Welcome

Welcome to the Charles Sturt University, Faculty of Business, Alumni Newsletter.

If this is your first time visiting our Alumni site – Welcome! I hope you find it exciting and informative. If you're popping back to see what's happening in the Faculty of Business, then I hope you enjoy the following news stories.

The Faculty of Business is focussed on aligning our courses with current and future industry needs, and conducting and sharing research in relevant areas. We are also strongly committed to making improvements to students' experiences, ensuring present and future students have a positive and rewarding learning experience. There are always new and exciting things happening in the Faculty and we'll share more of these with you in future newsletters.

We look forward to staying connected with you and encourage you to register with CSU Alumni and take advantage of the benefits available to you. We'd also like to hear from you regarding your own progression and successes. You can share your story with us.

Professor Lesley White
Executive Dean
Faculty of Business

Education is a precious gift

CSU prides itself on preparing its students for the world beyond university. One way we help students on that journey is through the Charles Sturt University Foundation Trust. The Fund aids and promotes excellence in the education, research and service activities of Charles Sturt University by seeking, receiving and administering private sponsorship for the benefit of the University.

This support helps Charles Sturt University place a priority on areas of regional and professional importance as well as provide valuable assistance in the way of scholarships to students. With your help, we can continue to ensure all students with the desire to study at university have the same opportunity to achieve their goals.

Contact us today to find out how you can make a real difference.

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