Alumni Profile: Derek Lam

Derek Lam completed a Bachelor of Commerce (Marketing, Management and Finance) in 2013 and a Master of Commerce (Marketing) in 2014. He describes the Melbourne Business Practicum and Global Business Practicum as the most valuable experiences of his time at Melbourne Business School. Derek also actively participated in global opportunities in his undergraduate degree and completed a semester of study in the UK at the University of Manchester.

Derek Lam, Altran

Describe your journey and activities you were involved in?

I spent my childhood in Macao, SAR; a small city famous for having a strong Cantonese and Portuguese culture and of course, a city full of casinos too. After completing high school, I spent a year at Trinity College before commencing in the Bachelor of Commerce. During this time, I was active in theatre production and marketing for a Chinese theatre group and dabbled in photography.

I continued my studies in the Master of Commerce (Marketing), where I completed the Global Business Practicum. My team were sent to Malaysia and were allocated to work for Grant Thornton Consulting. Aside from this, I tutored in the third-year ‘Retail Management’ subject and was a Melbourne Business School Graduate Ambassador and peer-mentor.

Where do you work?

I am based in Shanghai, working in consulting for Altran; the business consulting arm of a global Engineering Research & Development company. Life is good in Shanghai and I’ve been enjoying living here since 2016. Prior to this, I worked for the market research and consulting company, Ipsos, based in Hong Kong, then in Shanghai.

Tell us about your time on the Melbourne Business Practicum (MBP)?

I was one of four students assigned to ‘The Huddle’ based at North Melbourne Football Club. The Huddle promotes multiculturalism and encourages social cohesion in an ethnically diverse community. Funding is needed to run the programs that thousands of young people aged between nine and 25 participate in, each year. Our project was to develop a sponsorship proposal to ensure long-term financial sustainability.

Has the MBP influenced your career path?

Yes. I developed skills in project management and critical thinking, along with how to manage clients; the importance of understanding and listening to client needs. My intention was for recommendations to go beyond impressing the client, my team wanted to leave a lasting impact in the organisation.

The subject isn’t just aimed at students wanting to be consultants; this is a project experience which will help to guide and reflect on career aspirations. Students can put their educational skills and knowledge into action - it’s hands-on, it’s inspiring!

Shanghai alumni celebrate their 10-year anniversary with Business and Economics Dean, Paul Kofman

Memorable moments on the MBP.

Before the team’s final presentation; everyone felt nervous but we were passionate about our findings. We spent a significant amount of time rehearsing for our presentation which paid off when standing in front of the General Manager. We wanted to go beyond delivering our findings and offered to hold further discussions with our ideas. The ‘follow-up discussion’ approach worked well and we had a great session. We may not have done everything perfectly, but we connected with our client and made a positive difference.

My team was also featured in an article about the MBP in the University’s ‘Voice’ newspaper!

How do you stay connected?

I am an active member of the alumni community, celebrating our 10-year anniversary in November 2017. The Business and Economics Dean, Professor Paul Kofman attended this event with several other professors. I was lucky to reunite with Professor Bill Harley, who taught me in the Master of Commerce. Great events like this are often organised so the alumni community is closely connected.

Are you a business interested in getting involved?

Please contact us to discuss how we can work together.