An afternoon with Andrew Liveris

By Alison Husain, current student of the University of Sydney Business School MBA program and Business Leader Postgraduate Scholarship recipient

One of the benefits of undertaking the MBA at the University of Sydney Business School is the program’s designated Careers Services, and the numerous opportunities to attend a variety of events such as talks, case studies and workshops. These add immense value to the program and present unique insights into diverse areas, opening up opportunities for additional engagement and the chance to meet interesting people from around the world, which otherwise would not be possible.

Most recently I was fortunate to attend a talk by home-grown Andrew Liveris, CEO of Dow Chemical and author of ‘Make it in America: The Case for Re-Inventing the Economy’. Andrew was also recently tapped by U.S. President Donald Trump to head up the American Manufacturing Council.

The event was sponsored by the University of Sydney’s United States Studies Centre and held in the stylish historic surrounds of the Westin Hotel in Martin Place Sydney. Whilst enjoying a sumptuous mid-week silver service luncheon, Liveris delivered an American view to a packed audience on how Australia needed to respond to the current evolving trends in globalisation.

Liveris’ speech met my expectations in that it was delivered from an American Corporate perspective. Liveris touched on areas ranging from Saudi Arabia’s Wahabi ‘Vision 2030’ reforms to China’s New Silk Road and One Belt One Road policies, emphatically denying an American retreat from globalisation. Liveris advocated the view that Australia needs to adopt an inclusive capitalist approach via multiple-stakeholders across energy, manufacturing, training and innovation, to pivot away from the commodity cycle and lift the blanket ban on natural gas pipe systems encouraging land owners to be part of the reward system – an interesting viewpoint which appeared to have a few people shaking their heads.

Many of the issues raised aligned with my MBA studies and were experienced first-hand whilst undertaking the MBA International Business Project unit in Shanghai. It was overall very thought-provoking and a good opportunity for discussion with people from varying sides of the debate.

Other benefits in attending such events are the opportunities to socialise. I am always amazed at the range of people I am fortunate to meet; as a result my network has grown to include heads of industry and people with unique backgrounds and experiences which have enhanced my professional and personal development. At the Liveris event I was able to chat with Professor Bruce McKern, Visiting Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, who also accompanied my cohort to Shanghai; one of Australia’s wealthiest women; an expert in nano-technologies; a member of the NSW Business Chamber; and Director of the Australia-Taiwan Business Council.

The great thing about the variety of events the Career Services have on offer is they allow for a deeper absorption of lessons acquired through the MBA journey, which when mixed with work and life experiences, create additional value and greater depths of understanding which may then be applied in real time.

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