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Q&A with 2015 ‘Big Idea’ finalist and MBA student Hamish Jones

"It inspires out of the box entrepreneurship."

Deakin MBA student Hamish Jones has made it to the 2015 ‘Big Idea’ finals.

A social enterprise planning competition between university students around Australia, participants were invited to develop a concept and business plan that might become the next 'Big Idea', and potentially change the lives of thousands of disadvantaged Australians.

Hamish pitched his concept ’SE Business Services’, which aims to outsource administrative and marketing services to disadvantaged people, in October and has now been invited to present at the 2015 ‘Big Idea’ finals on 30 November.

Below he shares his reasons for participating in the competition as well as highlights from his time at Deakin thus far.

How did you become involved in the Big Idea competition?

‘I saw the competition advertised on CloudDeakin. Because I've always been community-minded – I am a Rotarian and a business owner – and interested in how business can help achieve social outcomes, I decided to apply.’

In your opinion, what are the benefits of this competition?

‘The Big Idea encourages participants to think about the big picture. It encourages planning and brainstorming whilst also inspiring out of the box entrepreneurship. There were also a number of great seminars from Social Entrepreneurs and thought-leaders throughout the competition and opportunities such as these are great for developing your public speaking and presentation skills.’

What is involved in competing and what is your secret for making it into the finals?

‘I had to develop a business plan and then present this business plan to a panel of judges – first at Deakin University and subsequently competing against other Universities in the semi-final.

‘I think I was successful because I put as much thought into my presentation as I did into my business plan. I also tried to anticipate some questions I might receive from judges and think this may have been helpful in gaining a spot in the finals. The business ideas from other Deakin participants were great and I am grateful that I was chosen to go through to the next round.’ 

How are you preparing for the finals?

‘At each stage of the competition the judges have been extremely generous with their feedback and for this I am grateful. I am not particularly nervous about participating but I have integrated their feedback each time and will do so again. I am looking forward to it!’

What are the reasons you decided to study an MBA?

‘I have a MA Communications from Deakin but wanted to learn more about business. I run my own business and thought an MBA would help me with areas of learning I had no previous formal education in.’

What are your favourite personal/professional achievements thus far?

‘In 2008 I was lucky enough to be invited to participate in a Kokoda Trek, along the WWII war time trail. This was especially poignant for me because my grandfather had been in PNG during WWII.

‘This trip was incredibly satisfying for me because of all that I learned but also the sense of achievement from completing such a trip was amazing.’

How would you describe your experience studying at Deakin?

‘After completing both my undergraduate degree and one post-graduate degree at Deakin and online, I am now studying in my MBA as a Cloud student. I cannot fault the support I receive from Deakin Business School and I feel that I am missing nothing by not being in a classroom environment.

‘I've enjoyed my time studying and would recommend Deakin to anyone.’

How have your studies helped prepare you for your future career?

‘My previous studies at Deakin have been incredibly important in growing my business and I am completing an MBA because I think what I learn here will allow me to take my business to the next level.’

What are your career aspirations?

‘I want to grow my business and look at international expansion.  I am studying International Business Management this trimester and I am very excited about what I will learn.’

Would you encourage students to participate in the Big Idea next year?

‘My only advice would be to students who thought about entering this year but didn't. It's a great competition and extremely worthwhile. You should definitely enter next year.’

Each year Deakin students have the opportunity to complete the Big Idea competition for credit towards their degree under the Faculty of Business and Law Work Integrated Learning program. Information about next year’s competition will be posted on the Deakin Business School newsroom as soon as it becomes available.

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