Since 2015, La Trobe’s Business School has pushed for teachers with a deep knowledge of industry – because they’re part of it.
Teachers with extensive industry experience can provide students with professional and practical insights into the business world. They can bring a lifetime of expertise and anecdotes to the classroom – giving life to theoretical concepts. In turn, their students will walk away with more business knowledge and skills. They’ll be more employable.
As one of the first business schools in Australia to pioneer this concept, La Trobe now has a team of industry experts in lectures, tutorials and mentor roles. People like Mark Morris, whose extensive tax experience in industry spans from accounting in the car industry to consulting on the design of new Commonwealth taxation laws.
An unusual career path
“I think I have a very unusual career,” Mark says, “in that I have been exposed to most facets of tax in virtually all market segments since I joined the profession over 30 years ago.”
Starting out in the big four accounting firms, Mark moved on to be the Tax Manager for Foster’s Brewing Group Ltd. After this, he spent eight years as the Tax Counsel at Mobil Oil Australia Ltd and then worked as the Group Tax Manager at GM Holden Ltd. Thereafter he was a Tax Principal with two mid-market chartered accounting firms before ending up as the Senior Tax Counsel at CPA Australia for more than nine years.
Having worked with a number of La Trobe business students, Mark recognises that students need an adaptive skill set in today’s job market more than ever. He says being able to bring practical examples of what happens in the real world into the classroom is core to his role.
“I try to provide insights as to what they will find in the workplace wherever I can, because this is exactly the kind of knowledge that can give them an edge to stand out from the crowd.
With the rise of Big Data, new technologies, outsourcing and a competitive market, graduates need to have a clear strategy when it comes to their skill set, their personal branding and their industry connections,” Mark comments.
In Mark’s opinion, industry experts add further value to La Trobe’s Business School and helps to build bridges between industry, students and the broader community.
“We create plenty of meaningful research at La Trobe Business School. We combine this intellectual resource with engaging teaching methods, and infuse our students with a greater commercial skill set as well as a strong theoretical foundation, which can make an enormous difference for graduates and future employers,” Mark says.
“In that sense, I have a terrific role. Not only do I get to be very creative in my teaching, but I can also actively add value through my industry experience and connections.
And when I can create and reinforce strong relationships with professional organisations, students will be able to get relevant work experience – while employers benefit from a pair of extra hands on deck. In this type of situation, everybody wins.”
Learn more about studying Business at La Trobe.