The National Indigenous Business Summer School 2020

By Seth Robinson

Over the summer, The University of Melbourne was proud to host the 2020 class of the National Indigenous Business Summer School (NIBSS). We spoke with some of the program attendees to find out more about the NIBSS experience, and what they took away from the intensive.

Each year, the National Indigenous Business Summer School (NIBSS) invites Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students commencing years 11 and 12 to come and get taste of the university experience. It’s an opportunity for students who are thinking of entering the world of business or becoming an entrepreneur to learn about the pathways available to them.

Dr Michal Carrington is a Senior Lecturer in Marketing, from the University of Melbourne, as well as a NIBSS Case Study Instructor. She talked us through one of the key components of the NIBSS program.

“Working with the NIBSS students this year was an incredibly rewarding experience. We ran a real-life business case study developed in collaboration with the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation – an Indigenous Carbon Trading not-for-profit organisation – where the students were tasked with developing a marketing promotional program. This was a highly complex case pitched at the level of expectation of undergraduate students. The NIBSS students worked intensively over the week and gave fantastic presentations on the final day to a panel of judges, including Shiloh Villaflor from Aboriginal Carbon Foundation. These are high-potential students who worked so hard and went home proud of their achievements.”

NIBSS 2020 student Aliah Lawson
NIBSS 2020 student Aliah Lawson

NIBSS is delivered in partnership with RMIT and Swinburne universities, along with the Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC). It’s a partnership that allows students a diverse and enriching experience. Michelle Evans, Associate Professor in Leadership and co-founder and Director of the MURRA program was a judge for the students’ Summer School presentations.

“What is great about the National Indigenous Business Summer School is that it gives young people exposure to the opportunities that are available, opportunities they may not have otherwise been aware of. The University of Melbourne, and all our education partners, feel a strong sense of responsibility and commitment to fostering the development and success of Indigenous students. For me, it’s been such a pleasure over the past few years to see students not only thrive during the Summer School but later return to study business at university.”

Aliah Lawson is one this year’s students, who travelled from Brisbane to experience the NIBSS program.

“I wanted to come here and challenge myself, to see what else was out there. Now I know that I’m really interested in business, it opens up so many opportunities for what you can do and how you can help people. I think particularly looking a program like this that’s Indigenous led, it brings people together to achieve good.”

NIBSS 2020 student Tyrese Carr-White
NIBSS 2020 student Tyrese Carr-White

Tyrese Carr-White has come from the Wiradjuri Nation in central NSW. He has a specific goal in mind when it comes to his studies.

“I want to do a double degree in business and indigenous studies. I went to boarding school, and a couple of different primary schools, and none of them offered anything like that. We never learned anything about my culture. I think by combining those two things now, I can develop the skills I need to help my community and give back to them.”

As part of this year’s NIBSS program, students where given the opportunity to hear from tennis legend Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who spoke about everything from career beginnings and finding inspiration, to learning new skills being confident in your decisions, and enjoying the moment.

“Win or lose, I think I enjoyed it too much sometimes, because people would say things like ‘Oh you could’ve beaten them, why didn’t you win?’ and I would say ‘I just love being out there’. I’ve always kept telling myself that whatever I do, I want to enjoy it. I’m glad my parent’s didn’t know anything about tennis, every time I’d go out my Mum would say ‘Bye, have a lovely day” and when I got home she would say ‘did you have a nice day?’ She never asked me if I’d won. Every time I went and played after that, I’d just say to myself, ‘Okay, I’m going to have a lovely day’.”

Find out more about the National Indigenous Business Summer School here.