Critical Analysis and Thought Leadership

By Hugh Simpson, corporate advisor, digital entrepreneur and current student of the University of Sydney Business School’s MBA program 

Hugh SimpsonStanding out from the pack in this day and age is difficult when there is so much noise from all the various channels you can use to get your message out. The MBA unit, Critical Analysis and Thought Leadership, with Dr Kristine Dery, was a true cross-disciplinary course that put many out of their comfort zones and made you think about public discourse and the ability to develop clear and concise messages.

My academic background had avoided any study of philosophy, and the opening weekend of the unit, with Dr Luke Russel, was met with some trepidation as we delved into the murky waters of reasoning, rhetoric and fallacies. This was one of the most thought provoking courses I’ve done, really pushing me to examine the way I construct arguments. The ABC’s Q&A will never look the same again.

Leading in your field of expertise often requires you to engage with clients/customers, colleagues and industry through any number of channels. Associate Professor Michael Anderson led us through constructing an op-ed on a topic discussed by our assigned thought leaders. In my case, I had to critically analyse the issues facing our evolving knowledge economy as described by Jonathan Rubinsztein, CEO of UXC Red Rock Consulting.

This course gave us unprecedented access to senior business thought leaders with other groups engaging with Judi MacCormick, Partner, Heidrick and Struggles; Cassandra Kelly, Managing Director, Pottinger; and Adam Jacobs, Managing Director, The Iconic. We had a chance to hear from John Meacock, Managing Partner – NSW at Deloitte and visit the NSW Art Gallery with Jane Gavan from The University of Sydney College of Arts, where we discussed the how art and business are more similar than we think.

During our final weekend of the course, we were set a challenge of delivering a message via video in a day and a half. This task required us to identify the message we wished to convey based on our thought leader workshop, define the audience and produce a video to be played at the end of the day. Some members of our cohort had never produced a video before, but the quality of finished products was outstanding. My team produced a video asking how hiring managers were viewing talent acquisition. Watch it here:

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