Last month, Professor Garrett appeared on Sky Business News to discuss a political topic, that is one of great commercial significance and as such, extremely interesting to a Business School student.

There is some concern within the international community that we might be witnessing the start of a new cold war, between the United States and China. Conflict has already manifested itself in the economic sphere. The prospect of a currency war, between the greenback and the Chinese Reminbi, has been a recurring news story in the global business press.

No doubt the United States has grown comfortable in a uni-polar world, and it is only natural that the meteoric rise of China should be greeted with some measure of trepidation. But as Professor Garrett pointed out on Sky Business News, this rivalry will also create opportunities, particularly for countries as well situated as Australia. What we are really witnessing, Professor Garrett observes, is the emergence of a G2 world, with the United States and China, dual cylinders in the engine driving the global economy. Financial crisis, and the emergence of the G2, has done much to shift the centre of economic gravity from the Atlantic to the Pacific, which offers particularly favourable prospects for Australia and for Business graduates.

At the University of Sydney Business School, I’ve witnessed students and academics welcome this disruption. Our university is proximate to the fastest growing markets in the world. Moreover, we as students are schooled in the innovative methods that has made business in the US such a roaring success. It is this balance between leveraging both China and the US which makes studying Commerce at this moment extremely intriguing.

This week, I will be travelling with forty of my peers to the University of California, Los Angeles, for six weeks over the U.S. summer vacation period. In many ways, California is a model for the entrepreneurial business environment countries like China and Australia are trying to build. I’m excited for what I believe will be an invaluable international experience in a prestigious university and with peers who are also eager to have a broad knowledge of the business environment in the US. On a lighter note, studying abroad is also a sensible trade-off, between a bleak Sydney winter and soaking up Californian sun!

I am confident that this initiative by the Business School will add an entirely new global dimension both to my studies and to my university experience. Through the insights into American business, culture and politics and the connections I will meet, studying at UCLA will do much to prepare me for commercial life in a G2 world.

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Ladies and gentlemen, it's been grand. Sleep deprived, eyes unadjusted to natural light and keyboards smeared with the ground-up remains of our fingertips, yet we could not be prouder.

This time last week we received our case problem in a white envelope and were whisked away to our rooms to begin our preparations. The case itself was about a Hong Kong sourcing firm, Li & Fung, whose globe spanning business includes everything from fashion to furniture. Our task was simple enough: double the size of the company from around 20 billion dollars in revenues (no sweat guys, no sweat).

We could have spent 48 hours studying the company and not yet know the extent of it's holdings, concerns and culture, given it's size. But we had 48 hours to do that, analyze the global economy, come up with a strategy and present our findings to real world business professionals (including executives from Microsoft, Boeing, and a array of Advisory firms).

Every minute we spent working we were learning. This wasn't just working fast- this was about efficiency, about knowing where you needed to worry and where you needed to gloss over. We aren't expected to come up with the perfect solution, tried and true numbers backed up by internal studies - we needed to know when to research and scan data bases, and when to make assumptions. This was about being thorough with our thinking and nimble with our effort. It was a crash course in preparing for life after uni. For the most part, I felt that it was a purpose built program that gave each one of us the opportunity to identify and nurture skills required for success in the corporate world, possibly at a Li & Fung or a Microsoft.

The presentations themselves are no cake walk -we all agreed they both were the most fun and the most pressure we have had in a long time. The judges pull no punches, probing strategies for weak points and the slightest slip up gets pointed out.

In the end this was a competition, and the winners, the University of Hong Kong, produced a 15 minute magnum opus that blew everyone away, a comprehensive mergers and acquisitions plan delivered with unerring confidence and poise - they deserve significant congratulations!

Are we jealous? Of course! But not because we did not win ( there was no cash prize wink wink) - because obviously they are the ones who learned the most from the experience, and in the end that's what we are here to do. Okay, yes, and sweet, ego-boosting glory, but I'm a humble man! ).

In the end, it has been an amazing trip, an unforgettable week - and we would not change a thing. We have made friends , had adventures, and in one case, caught a fish bare handed. We'd really like to thank everyone at the University of Sydney Business School who made this trip possible, especially Prof. Philip Seltsikas, the Associate Dean, Barney Tan- our advisor and the team at the business school's Marketing and External Relations office. Without them this trip would not be possible, and their level of support in putting this together has been unbelievable. Thank you for what will be an unforgettable experience. It is extremely appreciable that the University of Sydney Business School continues to remain a wonderful institution that supports initiatives like this.

And now back to Australia, to face all the mid semesters that have reared their calculus based heads...


Best regards,
Joshua Shuvalov.

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It is now exactly a month since I returned from WorldMUN2012 Conference in Vancouver Canada, so I thought that with the benefit of hindsight, it might be fun to reflect a little on what I thought about the experience.


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First thing that comes to mind when I reflect upon WorldMUN is how terribly I miss it all, whether it be the ability to go to lunch everyday with people from around the world and discuss what the Canadians think about Australian politics (yes some do actually follow the shenanigans of Canberra), to frolicking in the snow, to seeing pictures of moose everywhere, to constantly strategizing how to ensure the US benefitted from any decision that my committee made about what to do with the resource-rich Congo in 1885. So for those of you who are reading this and thinking that what I’m describing sounds kinda interesting, I would unequivocally recommend that you consider attending WorldMUN2013!

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Things have moved at a brisk pace since our last update. We now stand on the precipice, the night before the case competition itself begins and we are locked away for 48 hours to create our business strategy. However, that is not to say the last few days have passed without note!

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In the space of less than 48 hours we have toured corporate offices belonging to Boeing, Starbucks, JP Morgan Chase and F5 Network, spoken to top executives, and in one case, got free coffee beans. We were given the opportunity to share presentation and case solving skills with students studying business and finance at local high schools, while receiving lectures from the international trading body of Washington state. The world of American business is complex and undergoing massive changes,

Of course, there have been much lighter sides to our adventures. The last two days have been spent hanging out with business students around the globe, touring Seattle and the Washington University campus - highlights include the incredible Gothic styled Suzzalo library on-campus, the Space Needle and the Pike Place Markets, home to the original Starbucks. This was alongside team bowling and comedic performances, where we are proud to say the university of Sydney acquitted itself with gusto!

But now the time has come for war. With the case competition upon us tomorrow morning, the battle lines are being drawn. Teams have ceased the mingling with each other, and begun warily sizing each other up over the table tops at the local Chipotle, while others run back and forth outside the university, scrambling to buy out local supplies of giant post-it notes and highlighters. We have been shoring up our hotel room, shifting beds into desks and drawing up problem solving processes and frameworks in anticipation of tomorrows case.

Are we ready? more than ever. Are we scared? Never!

Cheers
Josh Shuvalov
Josh Spencer
Mike Li
Charlotte Selin

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It so happens that my absolute favourite part of semester is those precious first few weeks. All that stationery shopping, sussing out those perfect subjects, re-embracing that coffee addiction, and going to uni everyday knowing that assessments are too far away to worry about. But this year, during week one I instead boarded a plane to attend, along with 2000 other university students from around the world, a WorldMUN conference in Vancouver, Canada. For those of you who have never heard of this mysterious acronym, WorldMUN stands for ‘World Model United Nations’, and the best way that I can describe it is a cross between a gigantic debate and diplomatic role playing with an emphasis on strategy.

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Many greetings from the American West Coast, where 4 intrepid University of Sydney Business School students have embarked on the Global Business Case Competition in Seattle, hosted by the University of Washington's Foster Business school.

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We landed on Saturday to the warm welcome provided by the University of Washington students, who amazingly, are the ones running this competition. It involves fourteen teams from around the globe, from Oman to Portugal, Canada to Thailand. On Thursday we will all be locked down in a 48 hour marathon of analysis and presentation preparation in an an attempt to impress business leaders with our case solving prowess; at stake - the pride of our universities!

Seattle is a hub for many of world's finest corporate institutions, among them heavyweights such as Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks and Amazon, as well as a thriving start-up community. We can think of no better place to sharpen our skills as fledgling business people than amongst such thriving titans of industry. That said, we are also here to take advantage of the opportunity to network with the executives of these companies, who both sponsor and feature in the competition!

Of course, we did not travel half way around the globe for two days of scheming! "U-Dub", as students of Washington university refer to it (or "big W" as I mistakenly did), has graciously offered us the opportunity to make lasting friends across the globe, in a series of tours, events and forums with the competing students. Seattle is a beautiful city, possessed of an amazing culture of innovation and global outlook. Maybe it was just the bike racks on the buses, the massive burgers, or the general friendliness, but one feels one is at the centre of something special here. That said, there is always something to remind oneself of home - specifically the pot luck of Thai restaurants surrounding the uni.

If we don't pass out from a Frappucino overdose, you'll be hearing from us soon as we get to meet and greet the other teams tomorrow!!

Cheers
Josh Shuvalov
Josh Spencer
Mike Lee
Charlotte Selin

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Fellow Sydney University students, it is absolutely a great pleasure to share with you some of my adventures away from the formal committee sessions. One of my fondest memories of participating in the 20th Harvard World Model UN Conference was certainly the “Half-Day Trip to Whistler”, organised by the Host Conference Team.

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