The peak body for Australia’s university business schools welcomes the appointment of Hon Ken Wyatt AM to the Indigenous Affairs portfolio and calls on business schools to find ways to boost the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business students.
At the start of Reconciliation Week, the President of the Australian Business Deans Council, Professor David Grant, says the 39 university business schools need to more actively engage with Indigenous communities to better understand their needs and expectations of business and business education.
Australia’s business schools graduate one-third of Australia’s domestic university students.
The transcript of Professor David Grant’s comments are as follows:
Professor David Grant: We’ve looked at the performance of the business school sector in Australia – in comparison to, for example, medicine or engineering – in the sense of pulling Indigenous [students] onto our programmes, getting them interested in business and what it can do for their communities, and for themselves, for them personally. We have not got as strong a record as we should have. We can do better. And I think this is where … an organisation such as the ABDC can work as a coherent, coordinated whole to good effect.
We don’t have to compete with each other to achieve the objective of having more students, Indigenous students study on our programmes. So, I think the two, summer business schools that we’ve so far held, one in 2019, one in 2018, are a great illustration and a tremendous success in the sense of … A great illustration in the sense of being able to work together in order to bring large numbers of students from high school, meet university staff and others from industry, and experience what it might be like to study business, to study at university. And hopefully they come away with a real appetite to apply for university and hopefully, again, business degrees. We start to build up a larger cohort.
Interviewer: Given that businesses have been a major contributor to building aboriginal communities, do you find it surprising that there hasn’t been a bigger emphasis of business in the Indigenous space?
Professor David Grant: I do. It’s a hard question as to why exactly that has been the case, but I think the obvious answer is that business schools as a whole and the ABDC will take a role in leading this, need to be out there far more actively liaising with schools and the secondary education sector. They need to be far more actively engaging with the Indigenous community as to what their needs may be and their expectations may be, as regarding business and business education. And they need to work in partnership with industry in order to help effect a better pipeline of Indigenous talent onto business schools programmes.
Watch Professor David Grant on Indigenous Students: https://vimeo.com/322944255