MBA students assist communities

Dr Suzanne YoungLa Trobe’s award-winning MBA offers students the opportunity to undertake a unique Community Development Project (CDP) as one of their final year electives. The CDP subject provides students with the opportunity to work within a community organisation and undertake a project that builds on their academic knowledge. 


Dr Suzanne Young, Associate Professor in the Department of Management is the subject coordinator and says ‘the CDP Internship specifically builds on the concept of responsibility which is a key focus of the new MBA structure’

With students completing their CDP projects this month and submitting their finalised reports to both the subject coordinator and their partner organisations, Suzanne says the results have been both pleasing and rewarding.  

MBA student Manalee Hande completed her internship with Darebin’s Intercultural Community Centre in Preston. The Centre, which is completely government funded, with  three permanent staff and five student volunteers assists approximately 45 visitors every day, as well as 30 - 40 guests who attend the daily events held there.

‘Although it appears to be a small operation, it actually is not,’ says Manalee. ‘There is a constant flow of people, a meagre budget and space limitations but even so they do a great job, are accountable to the community and to Darebin Council and the Centre is also only a year old.’ 

Manalee went through a selection procedure that included interviews with the University co-ordinator as well as Inaam Barakat, the Centre Coordinator and Dalal Smilety, Manager of CP3, the Centre’s Community Planning, Partnerships and Performance. 

‘Immediately I got a sense of what the Centre was about and how it works. My primary role was to be involved in developing a strategic plan  and a promotions/marketing plan. I knew this was a great opportunity for me to develop the skills I had learnt in other MBA subjects.’  

Manalee then spent the next two months researching and working at the Centre. She prepared a 36 page report and an implementation plan that will assist in making  the Intercultural Community Centre sustainable over the next two years.

MBA student Anthony Aspiridis undertook his CDP with Travellers Aid Australia and worked closely with the senior management and service delivery team at two of their three locations  in Melbourne. Anthony spent two days a week, for ten weeks working on a data analysis project examining emergency relief records from 1994 to present. 

‘I looked at various aspects of travel related emergency relief including usages, funding, cost and contributions, ethnicity of clients, destinations and so on. I then prepared a report which made recommendations and flagged important data. The report and findings were then presented to Travellers' Aid CEO Jodie Willmer’ said Anthony.

‘The subject enabled me to take previous experience from a management point of  view and use the theory and academic side of the MBA and apply that to an organisation I had no understanding of previously. It really cemented my ability to transfer skills.’ 

In addition to enhancing personal and professional skills, the CDP subject provides students with the opportunity to explore responsibilities and accountabilities between business and the community.  

Students of this flexible and individually-tailored subject work directly with the subject coordinator to ensure they contribute to a community organisation that matches their personal interest, making every student’s experience enjoyable, rewarding and one-of-a-kind. 

For information on La Trobe University’s MBA and the CDP subject visit: 


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