Business School Launches Strategic Alliance with Sun Yat-sen University

Business School Launches Strategic Alliance with Sun Yat-sen University

Macquarie Business School and the Guangzhou-based School of Business, Sun Yat-sen University have formed a strategic alliance to provide expertise and thought leadership in the sustainable development of the Greater Bay Area (GBA).

This strategic alliance is one of the first partnerships which focuses on understanding and addressing the challenges related to the growth of the GBA through research and teaching expertise in innovation, health economics, education and workforce futures.

Founded in 1985, the School of Business of Sun Yat-sen University is one of 90 business schools in the world with triple crown accreditation (EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA) and is recognised as a prestigious and influential business school in China. The School has also become an essential base for talent development, providing quality education to professional managers and entrepreneurs in China.

To launch this momentous alliance, Macquarie Business School, in partnership with Asialink, hosted a Thought Leadership event last month to deliver expert insights on skills and talent development in the GBA as well as effective engagement and management of business opportunities in this fast-growing sector. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) to establish the GBA Business School Alliance was officially signed during the event on 19 November by Professor Stephen Brammer, Executive Dean of Macquarie Business School and Professor Fan Wang, Dean of the School of Business, Sun Yat-sen University. 

More than 80 partners from industry, government, academia and alumni attended this event with Professor Philomena Leung, Associate Dean – International, as the Master of Ceremonies. The event also comprised a keynote speech by Distinguished Professor James Guthrie AM and a dynamic panel discussion with leading experts in trade and international relations.

Panellists Dr Merriden Varrall (KPMG Australia), Mr Andrew Whitford (C|T Group), Ms Nicole Brigg (Macquarie University) and Professor James Guthrie AM, along with Ms Lynne Barry (Telstra) as moderator, covered a range of thought-provoking topics related to the GBA, human and intellectual capital, and broader trade relations between Australia and China, and responded to questions from the audience through a live Q&A and polling online platform. As there was insufficient time to answer the large number of questions from the engaged audience, two of our panellists have kindly provided their responses to some of the questions post-event. These are included at the end of this article.

Further discussions were held the following day through a research forum titled Contributing to a shared future: Industry and academic perspectives on the impact of FinTech, Innovation and Education. A range of topics and potential collaborations were explored, including:

  • Health and hospital management, health technology and policy impacts
  • Fintech
  • Innovation in education
  • Tourism economics and entrepreneurship through a behavioural lens
  • Luxury consumption and branding
  • Social and environmental topics including behavioural finance, energy, management control systems, use of artificial intelligence and behavioural economics

Sincere thanks to our partners, speakers, panellists, alumni and attendees for their contribution to the success of these events. The Business School welcomes further engagement from partners in academia, industry and government, and invite you to contact us at

Bonus discussion Questions and Answers:

Q: How can Australian universities better prepare future talents to respond to the changing environment and seize the opportunities in the GBA area?

I’d say many Australian universities already prepare students well for the international environment, but as well as business and economics abilities, a focus on skills like language, cross-cultural understanding, and critical analysis will be essential to make the most of the opportunity.
- Merriden Varrall

Agree with Merriden – language and cultural sensitivity are a great start.  More focus on Asian history and economics in Australian courses will also help prepare students for a future that is much more closely tied to Asia.
- Nicole Brigg

Q: Are there opportunities for Australian companies to engage in certain sectors, or are local firms already saturating opportunity given their innovation funding?

The demands of the rising middle class and the development of quality lifestyles as a priority in the GBA mean that Australian companies certainly have something to offer in growth sectors like health care infrastructure and services.
- Merriden Varrall

Australia has a great reputation as a clean, green, well-run place, that bats well above its weight in many sectors from sports to innovation.  Australian firms can capitalise on this reputation to gain market entry and build market share – but we need to move ahead – the marketplace is going to get more crowded.
- Nicole Brigg

Q: How soon can we expect Beijing to address the practical obstacles, such as the different tax systems, in the GBA plan?

There’s no doubt that the GBA plan has the utmost support from Beijing. That means the central government will be doing whatever it can to support the necessary collaboration and cooperation among the different jurisdictions. It will ultimately come down to local level governments though to take the necessary action to resolve those practical infrastructure issues.
- Merriden Varrall

Some of the other towns have growing footprints, especially Foshan and Zhuhai.  I think this will happen organically, but it might be something that can be better facilitated by the Australian and NSW Governments.
- Nicole Brigg

Q: How can we help Corporate Australia realise the opportunities from the GBA in a practical sense?

I think many in corporate Australia see the potential of the GBA. We can help by providing really practical support, insights and advice in the strategic planning and development stage. For example, scoping market opportunity, setting up effective contracts, and providing comprehensive due diligence analysis.
- Merriden Varrall

Events such as this where we showcase the GBA and keep the conversation going and focused make a significant contribution.
- Nicole Brigg

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