Business School Brief

August 2021

Message from the Dean

Welcome to the all-new format of Business School Brief. I'm very pleased to share with you the latest news, stories and upcoming events.

Highlights in this issue include research showing that customers crave less choice when shopping, insight on how to get Gen Z votes and a UWA Business School grad named Western Australian of the Year.

Our alumni continue to play a key role in recruitment, student experience and governance activities, including the UWA Open Day Careers in Business alumni panel in March and the inaugural UWA Business School Alumni Career Café in April. Both events saw alumni return to campus to share career experiences and tips with prospective or current students – demonstrating the power of our degrees to build lives and careers with impact.

The year began with two great success stories that truly show the breadth and value of the Business School on campus and in our state. We announced that former National Finance Minister, Mathias Cormann, had joined the School in an Honorary position and we celebrated the success of the National Indigenous Summer School program – a transformative week for 25 young Indigenous women and men who took their first steps in understanding where a business education might take them.

UWA Public Policy Institute (UWA PPI) has moved to a new home in the Business School. The Institute’s remit is to provide informed leadership by maximising the policy impact of UWA research in Western Australia, Australia and the Indian Ocean region. Any alumni interested in the Institute’s work can visit UWA Public Policy Institute to find details of their fascinating public events series. 

Graduation ceremonies in July saw over 500 new graduates join our Business School alumni community. It was wonderful to finally be able to celebrate in person with our 2020 and 2021 graduates, their families and friends.

Professor Peter Robertson
Dean of the UWA Business School

News and research


Former Finance Minister Mathias Cormann appointed to UWA Business School

In January, Mathias Cormann, who had just been elected secretary general of the OECD, accepted an honorary Professorship at UWA Business School. In this new capacity, Adjunct Professor Cormann will contribute to the UWA Business School by guest speaking at MBA Masterclasses, giving special lectures in undergraduate and postgraduate courses and offering support to academic researchers. 


Research shows customers crave simpler experiences

New research from UWA Business School’s Dr Richard Gruner and Professor Geoff Soutar shows consumers crave less choice and simpler experiences despite companies offering more options, promotions and price fluctuations than ever.

The review article, published in International Journal of Management, found that bringing down customers’ mental load across the retail journey creates value for customers as well as companies.

Visionary philanthropist Stan Perron AC recognised with UWA lecture theatre

In recognition of his passion, vision and philanthropic support for a range of charitable causes, academic prizes and scholarships – including many related to the health and wellbeing of Western Australian children – the UWA Business School has named a lecture theatre in honour of Stan Perron AC.

Renowned for his commitment to ethical business practice and philanthropy, over his lifetime, Stan Perron built Perron Group – one of Australia’s most successful private companies. Growing up in the depression-era Goldfields of Western Australia, Mr Perron is the epitome of a rags-to-riches story.


Economics researcher on a mission to improve community wellbeing

The research impact of UWA’s first female Economics professor, Professor Anu Rammohan, stretches across the world: from childcare policy in Australia to food and nutrition security in Myanmar.

She’s delighted that UWA was recently successful in securing additional Australia Awards funding, which will allow five Indonesian students to study economics and public policy at the University. New articulation agreements are also in train, which will allow international students to cross credit their studies at top international universities into degrees at UWA. – and in some cases, even study UWA degrees wholly online.

Want Gen Z votes? Use social media to create intimacy

The last federal election showed low voter turnouts in Australia’s youngest electorates, despite a record level of young voter enrolments. This suggests a high level of dissatisfaction with democracy among younger voters, who are more likely to engage in non-electoral, issue-based and networked forms of political participation. Those born after the mid-1990s (termed Generation Zs) comprise around 10 per cent of the Australian voters.

Research by the UWA Business School shows that social media provides ideal avenues to build voter relationships and there are many ways of increasing its effectiveness.

Leading businessman named Western Australian of the Year

Telethon chair and graduate of The University of Western Australia, Richard Goyder AO, has been named Western Australian of the Year for his commitment to philanthropy at the 2021 Western Australian of the Year awards.

Mr Goyder, who graduated from UWA with a Bachelor of Commerce, chairs the WA Symphony Orchestra, Qantas, Woodside, the Australian Football League and diabetes not-for-profit JDRF and served many years as a UWA Business School Advisory Board member.

Recent events

MBA Mentoring Program Launch

The UWA Business School’s MBA Mentoring Program Launch in May was a Who’s Who of WA business community’s senior leadership and showed, in real terms, how our alumni community supports our students through in their leadership journeys. An inspiring event with many takeaways, including the mutually beneficial nature of mentoring.



2021 UWA Business School Prize Giving Ceremony

On Wednesday 4 August, we hosted the 2021 UWA Business School Prize Giving Ceremony to acknowledge the academic achievements of our exceptional student community and continued contribution and support of our generous donors. The light breakfast event held in the UWA Business School foyer gave our students the chance to celebrate their achievements with their award donor and share their UWA student journey and plans for post-graduation. 

UWA Business School Alumni Career Café

At the inaugural UWA Business School Alumni Career Café in April, alumni returned to campus en masse, to share career experiences and tips with current students, helping them to build their own career strategies.




Careers in Business at UWA Open Day

UWA Open Day in March, where graduates shared their study and career stories at a special Careers in Business panel for prospective students and their families, demonstrating the power of our degrees to build lives and careers with impact.




The Annual Shann Memorial Lecture

In May, the Annual Shann Memorial Lecture welcomed Guy Debelle, Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), for a webinar discussion about the RBA’s monetary policy During COVID. Specifically, Mr Debelle spoke to the actions taken over the past year and the impact they are having on the Australian economy and financial markets. The Shann attracted extensive media coverage and added to the long history of distinguished speakers including many RBA Governors. You can watch, or listen to, the discussion on the RBA website.


Upcoming UWA Business School events

GMA - The Black Tie Event
Saturday 11 September, 6.00pm (AWST)

Hear from Key Note Speaker Craig Challen, OAM, Heroic Thai Diver, and 2019 Australian of the Year, share a three-course meal, then present and congratulate Charles Harper and GMA Legends award winners.

Book today by clicking this link or copying it into your browser:
Contemporary Issues in Family Business Annual Lecture 2021
Thursday 16 September, 6.00pm (AWST)

‘Casting Your Net: Family Business and Innovation’

Contextualised by the events of COVID-19, Professor George Kailis will speak about innovation in family business. The lecture will be delivered both in-person and online. Professor Kailis is Executive Chair of the M.G. Kailis Group, a long-standing WA family business that for five decades has been providing international markets with high-quality produce. Professor Kailis is also Chair of the Commonwealth Fisheries Association.

Book today by clicking this link or copying it into your browser:

2021 Asia-Pacific Family Business Symposium

Thursday 30 September, 1.30pm (AWST)

‘Family Business and Innovation in Times of Crisis’

Bringing together researchers, practitioners and doctoral candidates, the fourth annual Asia-Pacific Family Business Symposium is in collaboration with the Japan Academy of Family Business.

In addition to original research and practice papers, keynotes will be presented by Dr Haruo Naito (CEO, Eisai Co Ltd) and Professor Michael Carney (Concordia University Research Chair in Strategy and Entrepreneurship and former chief editor of the Asia Pacific Journal of Management). As the country with the oldest family businesses, the program also includes a presentation from the Japanese family business, the Takenaka Corporation, founded in 1610.

The symposium is an online event.

Book today by clicking this link or copying it into your browser: 

Contemporary Issues in PRME
Join us online for Contemporary Issues in PRME on Tuesday 19 October 2021 and hear from CEO of Greenpeace and UWA alumni, David Ritter. 

More information will be available in due course. 
UWA Strategy and Leadership Forum

Friday 22 October 2021

Creating Capabilities, Corporations and Careers

More information will be available in due course. 

Alumni stories

The global perspective of Handi Kurniawan MBA ’07 

Group Head of Leadership & Academies Learning – GHR, Jardine Matheson, Author and UWA Hong Kong Alumni Network Ambassador

“Since UWA, I worked and lived in seven countries in the span of 20 years. Working in global, multinational companies give me great opportunities to experience working and collaborating with people from different cultures.” 

Handi Kurniawan has extensive global experience as a human resource executive at General Electric, Standard Chartered Bank, Sinar Mas and Jardine Matheson, having been based in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Taipei and the United States.  He is the author of a bestselling career book in Indonesia, Go Global – Guide to a successful international career, and three other books, Global Career and The Brain Master, Great Advice published by Gramedia, a leading publisher in Indonesia.

Through the social impact lens with Rebecca Kais GradCertSocImp '16

Philanthropy Manager at PICA specialising in arts management, social impact and fundraising

“Since graduating from UWA I’ve been pursuing opportunities that exist at the intersection of arts management and social impact. Philanthropy is a powerful tool for achieving social impact through the arts and in my current role at Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) I work with our supporters to make this happen.”

Rebecca Kais is an arts manager who approaches her work through a social impact lens. She has diverse experience across a 10-year career and is currently working in the role of Philanthropy Manager at PICA, specialising in arts management, social impact and fundraising. Read more.

For the love of sports (marketing) with Hayley Hamp BCom '15, MMktg '18

Marketing Communications Coordinator at Collingwood Football Club

“Working in marketing, I essentially service the rest of the business in all promotional efforts. For me, the most interesting part is learning from people in these different areas of the business, such as Partnerships or Community, and how they are integral to the success of a large sports club like Collingwood.”

Hayley Hamp completed Bachelor of Commerce - Marketing and Business Law in 2015 and Master of Marketing in 2017 before moving to Melbourne to work as Marketing Communications Coordinator for the Collingwood Football Club.


Vale Mike Goldstein, who passed away in early February 2021 - one of a very small group of academics who taught the first MBA cohort right back in 1973, so was well known to our older alumni. Mike was also a Head of Department for the Management discipline in the 1980’s.

Get involved

Graduate Management Association (GMA) 

The goal of the Graduate Management Association (GMA) of UWA is to accelerate its members’ professional growth by creating infinite links to opportunity. Any alumni with a postgraduate degree from the Business School can join, and can network and share their collective knowledge at a range of events. In 2021, these include the prestigious Annual Black-Tie Dinner (Saturday 11 September), plus ongoing Odd Dozen Breakfasts. For queries on membership or to attend events, please email [email protected] or visit

Mentor a UWA grad

Alumni Mentor Link (AML) matches alumni with their alumni peers, providing an opportunity for shared industry knowledge, learning experiences, personal development, career transitions, and mutual learning, to benefit from the knowledge and career experience of their mentors. Help build an interdependent UWA alumni community and become a mentor for a grad today. Register your interest to take part in a pilot program that will impact grads locally and globally.