Inside the CBD Campus

Inside the CBD Campus
Author, Ronald MacatbagBy Ronald Dennis Macatbag, Regional Manager, Field Performance and Capabilities at American Express and current student of the University of Sydney Business School’s MBA Program

On Sydney’s central business district, sits the Picadilly Tower which includes a modern, A-grade 32 floors office building rated as 6-Star Green Star by the National Australian Built Environment Rating System (NABERS) – the national rating body that I recently got accustomed to in completing the International Business Project module in China. It is within this tower that the University of Sydney launched and housed its flagship MBA program. A world-class curriculum delivered within the premise of a world class tower – an excellent combination.

The new business school campus officially opened on 1 March 2013, when university officials welcomed the inaugural MBA cohort with a positive and high energy reception – an experience that I will always remember when I stepped out of the elevator on Level 17 of the Picadilly tower on that day. However, what really struck me the most was the new campus’ open floor plan and meticulously designed fit outs.

Specifically, the new campus boasts of:

  •   Four Lecture Theatres (2 each on Level 16 and 17)
  •  Pods on every corner of each floor
  •  Small breakout and meeting areas
  •  Fully-fitted kitchen
  •  Boardroom

The Lecture Theatre

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The striking feature of the main lecture theatre on level 17 was its expansive open space layout, easily it could hold up to 50+ students at the same time. The white board was strategically positioned opposite the ceiling-to-floor glass window which maximized the use of natural lighting thereby increasing the class energy during daytime lectures and when night falls, provides stunning city lights and skyline view. It was within the lecture theatre where active intellectual discussion, engaging debates and trading ideas amongst the members of the MBA cohort, facilitators and professors primarily occurred. What was even better was that the lecture theatre could transform itself into a function space and events simply by collapsing the walls separating it from the reception area – an efficient design and use of space and a creative one at that!

Pods, Breakout and Meeting areas

The Boardroom area could easily hold up to 24 people. It beamed with aura of power and formality akin to a principal’s office during my Catholic schooling days. I’m sure that important and influential university decisions were made within the confines of the boardroom’s four corners. This, however, was in great contrast with the informal feel of the pods and breakout areas. They were strategically scattered around both floors of the CBD campus and the fixtures provided were modern and stylish complemented with superb colour combinations and schemes. Who wouldn’t want to utilise these areas for team meetings and breakout sessions?

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Of these mini student areas, two stood out in my opinion – the equidistant huddle area (L) and the lounge area (R). The huddle area was the most commonly used by our cohort. Probably because it had a moveable whiteboard and a fitted flat screen which could be connected to portable computers containing different ports such as VGA, HDMI, Firewire – name it and this area has it. Feeling a little bit lost about the messy wires?  No problem, one could project a pitch PowerPoint deck to the screen using WiFi. One would just need to follow the simple configuration instruction provided onscreen.

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Everyone in the cohort would agree that a lot of problems and number-crunching challenges were collaboratively resolved in the huddle area particularly during the Data Analytics and Modelling days. If someone still hadn’t moved on from DA&M then better chill out in the lounge area overlooking the harbour water. The views would definitely offer a relaxing cure for the hustles and the bustles.

It has already been six months since we first laid our eyes inside the University of Sydney’s new CBD campus. Its contemporary and natural light-filled floors truly offered a lasting first impression and unique student experience. The space had been maximized to provide more mobility to students and enhanced learning opportunities. The location can easily be accessed by different modes of transportation and the amenities and features provided within the campus were truly world-class. Within this campus environment, one can really feel that the University of Sydney had the student’s well-being first in  mind. And with that, I’ll make myself another round of Nespresso coffee provided in the pantry, and once again indulge my eyes at the city views before I call it a day – Stunning!

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