Shepparton students get Big Break (Issue 19, 2012)


SheppartonLa Trobe University Shepparton Accounting student Amy Herbert and her work colleague Zac Hanson have just become the Victorian State Finalists in the CPA Big Break Project. The two will now go on to represent Victoria at the National Finals, which will be held in Melbourne in October. 

This achievement puts them in the running for a potential prize pool worth A$100 000.

The CPA Big Break Project gives students an opportunity to solve real world business problems that may be facing a non-for profit organisation. It also gives students a chance to link their classroom learning to an actual business.

Team Supervisor and Senior Lecturer in the Department of Accounting and the Shepparton co-ordinator of the Faculty of Business, Economics and Law, Sue Nalder is very happy with the result. 

‘The judges are looking for students who can think outside the square. The competition gives students a chance to display their research and analytical skills. Students are encouraged to be innovative and think strategically,’ says Sue.

‘Amy and Zac prepared a fantastic presentation comparing two similar organisations, Camp Quality and the Make a Wish Foundation (Australia and New Zealand) using a SWOT (Strengths, Weakness, Opportunity and Threat) analysis.’   

Amy sees the competition as a new challenge and a pathway to gain more experience related to her career. Both students are currently trainee accountants at Mogg Osborne Accountants in Cobram.

Zac believes this experience has enabled him a great insight of the corporate boardroom. 

‘Just talking to some CPA board members and receiving advice has been a highlight for me. It’s given me the extra motivation I need to finish off my degree,’ says Zac.

‘For the finals, we now need to prepare a strategic plan for the Make a Wish Foundation, expanding on our SWOT analysis. It’s been great to learn how to do a SWOT analysis and then apply it to a real world example,’ says Amy.

As state winners Amy, Zac and Sue will now be attending a Gala Presentation Dinner and will also receive free accommodation and transport to Melbourne for the finals. 

As state finalists, Amy and Zac have won a new iPad, a personal styling workshop and a A$1,000 dress for success wardrobe.