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        Meet The Team: Jonathan Jones, AGSM — Sydney

        Head of admissions says African drumming and Sydney Harbour rowing part of team induction for AGSM MBAs

        What qualities, skills, and previous experiences do you look for in MBA applicants?

        We build a cohort that is diverse in skill-set and previous experience while sharing similarities across a range of qualities, including academic ability, integrity and global citizenship. We look for applicants with potential to contribute to the AGSM community.

        What benefit is there being located so close to business centres such as China and Singapore?

        AGSM @UNSW Business School is uniquely placed to take advantage of its geographic location, and provides students with a number of options to engage across the Asia-Pacific region. We are seeing an increasing number of students taking advantage of our international connections across Asia, with students taking part in exchange programs and our International Business Experience course. AGSM students have the option of applying to undertake a semester of their MBA on exchange at one of 29 partner schools, many of which are located in the Asia region. On exchange, students immerse themselves in the partner school experience and utilise the opportunity to build networks in that location.

        Students can also opt to undertake an International Business Experience course (IBE). The IBE course involves students learning about international business strategy and cross-cultural communication and then jumping on a plane to go and witness it first hand, via a series of site visits, guest speakers and cultural experiences. This prepares students for a career working in Asia. A typical day might include visiting a large manufacturing plant in the morning, and then in the afternoon meeting with senior management from a large international corporation doing business in that location. We currently travel to China, Japan and Korea and more recently South America as part of the IBE offering.

        Given the full-time MBA is 16-months long, are Australia's relaxed visa laws still a student lure?

        AGSM’s MBA program attracts talented students from across the globe. In a typical full-time MBA cohort we have 20+ nationalities represented in the group, and many of these students seek to work in Australia at the conclusion of their MBA. I think it is true to say that Sydney itself is a significant lure for international students, with its mix of enviable lifestyle and significant business opportunities. Also, AGSM students have the option of extending their full-time MBA studies via the MBA (Extension) program, which enables students to undertake either a supervised research assignment or a Work Integrated Learning experience (internship), adding a significant value to their MBA by providing the opportunity to gain additional exposure to the Australian business environment.

        How does a relatively small MBA class size shape learning?

        A small cohort enables a unique learning experience that facilitates a significant exchange of learning between students. Students get to know each others strengths and weaknesses and are able to assist each other through the MBA journey. We commence our MBA with a Foundations of Management (FOM) course, which is intended to fast-track the cohort through the forming, storming and norming phases of team development to reach a state where the cohort performs as a an effective team. During FOM students undertake a number of experiences, from an African drumming workshop to a rowing exercise on Sydney harbour, all with the intention of building the cohort and setting the groundwork for a successful 16 months ahead.

        In which ways are students able to benefit from the 10,000-strong alumni network?

        A strong and vibrant Alumni network is critical to a successful MBA journey. AGSM students engage with the Alumni network via series of scheduled events, that take place in Sydney, across Australia and internationally. These events range from informal gatherings to large scale events like the ‘Meet the CEO’ series, where prominent CEOs are interview and the school community can attend and interact with them.

        Students in our full-time MBA undertake training in networking skills, which is a valuable skillset that will benefit them for their entire career. During the first week of the MBA, students are provided an Alumni contact to reach out to – this is the first step in their networking journey as a member of the AGSM community.

        When we admit a new student to the AGSM, we do so with the expectation that this student will become a lifelong member of the AGSM community, enjoying the benefits of being a student and eventually an Alumni, while at the same time giving back to the community.

        What potential do you see for distance learning to improve offerings?

        I see a huge potential for digital education to enhance the learning experience of students. We don’t like to use the term ‘distance education’ but rather ‘digital education’.  Our aim is to make the online experience as inclusive as possible, providing a format where physical distance is no longer relevant.

        The AGSM recently launched the MBAX suite of programs, an online MBA through which students can specialise in Change Management, Social Impact or Technology. Critical to the student experience in AGSM’s online offerings is the significant level of interaction required of students in the online environment. Students participate in a series of online ‘dialogues’ that require students to discuss and test their learning in real-time. I think this mode will become increasingly popular with students, who will opt for distance or online learning as it enables them the flexibility to study when and where they want, but also because it is a very efficient and effective method to achieve the required learning.