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Australian Graduate School of Management: China Alumni Association

Founder Henry Du wants to join a growing list of business school clubs that connect alumni and students over a lifetime, not just at b-school

The Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) China Alumni Association has big ambitions to reconnect all the school’s Chinese graduates based in either Australia or China. It was established in March 2012 and wants to mark itself out as different from an ordinary campus club.

We spoke to the Association’s coordinator Henry Du, in the AGSM full-time MBA class of 2013, who told us that it would be incredible to get the 80-plus Chinese AGSM alumni in China and Australia as members of the group. When we Skyped with Henry, he had just come out of a mergers and acquisition simulation exercise. It was around 6pm and this was after an intensive day of classes!

Henry comes from Hebei Province, China and has over seven years of experience in financial accounting and management consulting having worked at the likes of Accenture, PwC and KPMG. 

Why did you decide to start the China Association?
The club was initiated with three objectives in mind. To connect all the Chinese alumni; to build a networking platform between Australia and China; and to promote the AGSM brand in China.

The University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales ran AGSM as a joint venture between 2005 and 2010 and when the partnership came to an end, we lost touch with a lot of the alumni.

One things that distinguishes our club from other campus clubs is that we plan to have it on-going. We don't have to worry about transitioning or being constrained to academic calendars because the club will live on year after year. The plan is to grow the club up to a point where we will need a constitution or charter

Has it been challenging trying to meet your objectives?
It hasn’t been that difficult to connect with people. Its a win-win situation at the end of the day. Being part of the network is not something that will hurt anybody. We created a LinkedIn group and we have more than 20 members already. One of our big challenges is with the alumni office. We have to jump through a few hoops to reach out to alumni because the office isn’t allowed to give out their contact details so we drafted a letter the office can send to the individuals.

Do you have any upcoming events?
We are trying to promote ourselves with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sydney. We would like to organize a few talks with the Business in Asia club as well.

What are some of noteworthy business trends between China and Australia?
Traditional industries such as mining are still very important. China is the biggest buyer of Australian minerals and I think this will continue over the next five to ten years.

Food manufacturing is probably another trend because high quality food is in demand.

Education is also something that brings many people to Australia but I’m not very optimistic about the future of this because Australia’s immigration policy is changing and if it becomes less attractive fewer students will enrol.

If you had to pick an Australian city to live in which would it be?
Melbourne! Melbourne is the most livable city in the world. I studied there last year and it was amazing. It's somewhere I can imagine spending the rest of my life. Sydney has a better job market so if you want more career opportunities, then you should live there. It also has nice beaches.

How would you sum up your AGSM experience so far?
I’m still excited about meeting such a diverse cohort, even though we are a small size. There are advantages and disadvantages of the class size but I wanted to stay in Australia because I have permanent residency status. I also want to carry on working in management consulting and AGSM is very strong in placing graduates in management consulting. Management consulting is still a growing area in Australia and that makes it very exciting.

Read more about students, alumni and programs at the Australian Graduate School of Management here

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