Concluding my degree with the Business Practicum

By Richard Anggarda Putera

Richard Putera wanted to finish his degree with an industry experience. Hear how he worked with his team to deliver for Apple and Pear Australia.

As I approached my final semester of study, I wanted to gain experience outside the classroom where I could get a deeper understanding of the Australian working culture and dynamic, to better prepare me for the labour market.

In Semester 2 2020, I worked in a small team with three other students to complete a project with Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL) as our client. The project was both exciting and challenging, aimed at understanding Australian apple and pear companies’ production costs and identifying opportunities for improvement.

Richard's Team
Richard and his team.

As part of the project, my team received direction from APAL’s Manager, Future Business and Chief Operating Officer. The APAL team helped us understand the project and business context. This enabled us to determine the project methodologies and outcomes.

Challenges

One of my team’s major challenges in developing solutions was our limited understanding of the industry’s business processes. To add to this, the COVID-19 restrictions made it impossible for us to have an in-person field visit. We managed to address these challenges by gathering data from the University’s database which contained a vast amount of information on the industry.

The next challenge was to turn theory into action. As students, we can become distracted by theoretical concepts, and miss the practical application. Through weekly reviews with APAL, we sought balance between theory and practice. APAL also connected my team with growers, so we could see real day-to-day operations. This helped us improve our recommendations, as they could be actioned.

Teamwork

Teamwork played a crucial role during the project implementation. Members offered their perspectives and skills in Management, Marketing, Finance and Human Resources. We focused on each person’s strengths and expertise to create an ideal work synergy. Even though we were working remotely, we built strong relationships and managed our work effectively.

We took care to be respectful of one another, even in small things like organising meeting times. We held meetings later in the day (Melbourne time), to account for everyone’s time zones. We started our meetings with friendly chats and ended meetings with a clear agenda on the actions each person would take.

The Master of Management (Human Resources) provides specialist training in human resource management, while also covering a broad spectrum of management activities, including people management, motivating and rewarding employees, dealing with stakeholders, data analysis and HR policy development. Find out more about the Master of Management (Human Resources).

The outcome

We closed our project with a final presentation, where we delivered our findings and recommendations to APAL. We developed a cost record-keeping template and an industry classification framework to guide benchmarking and cost analysis in apple and pear businesses. We also developed a change management framework, which included details on implementing our proposed solutions. I am pleased to say that we received positive feedback from our host company.

Advice

For those interested in completing the Business Practicum, prepare yourself well - get your resume ready and study hard beforehand. When it comes to the project, don’t be shy in seeking clarification from your host company to ensure your solutions are both optimal and achievable.

The Business Practicum was a priceless experience. I could engage with a real business project, not just on paper. I view it as an essential experience that completed my study journey.

Are you a business interested in getting involved in the Business Practicum? Please contact us to discuss how we can work together here.

Are you a Melbourne Business School student wanting to do the next Business Practicum? Find more information here.