Sydney Inspirations

The Australia and New Zealand Alumni Association welcomed a group of 250 delegates and speakers to the 2nd Alumni Forum Asia, held in Sydney during mid-October 2014.

The Forum Weekend kicked off on Friday night with a sunset cruise around Sydney’s stunning harbour with views to its iconic sights. The delegates were welcomed to Sydney by the Member of Parliament for Sydney, Mr.Alex Greenwich, and to the Forum by Host and NAA President, David Mair MBA’96J and Dean of INSEAD, Ilian Mihov. Guests were treated to a spectacular dinner in the stunning Sydney Opera House, all the while serenaded by a thrilling operatic performance to rival the original “The Three Tenors.”

The main event, the full-day Forum, was opened by David Mair who introduced the theme of the event, Asia – The Next Act. Asia is home to more than half the world’s population and is a region of extreme economic and demographic diversity. It will be the engine of economic growth and development for most of this century. But with the current state of affairs in Asia being described as “topsy turvy” and the shift from “mining to dining” with Asian middle class prosperity well underway, the old rules of engagement no longer hold true. The various speakers at the Forum were selected to provide their insights and experiences of the unique challenges and opportunities doing business in Asia offers.

Sidney inspirations

The Forum discussions opened with a frank and insightful CEO Roundtable on the Future of Business in Asia, featuring Lee Hsien Yang (General Atlantic, Civil Aviation Auithority Singapore, Islamic Bank of Asia), Susan Lloyd-Hurwitz MBA’94J (Mirvac), Troy Setter (Consolidated Pastoral Company) and David Shao TIEMBA’09J (Agria Corporation), and moderated by CNBC Anchor Oriel Morrison.

A second CEO Roundtable featuring Alex Harvey (Macquarie Capital), Muzaffar Hisham (Maybank Islamic), Gabriel Makhlouf AMP’08 (New Zealand Treasury), and Kobus Ven Der Wath MBA’00J (The Beijing Axis) and moderated by INSEAD Professor Claudia Zeisberger, explored the challenge of Financing Asia’s Continuous Transformation.

Sydney conference

Delegates heard from successful INSEAD Alumni entrepreneurs, INSEAD Faculty and INSEAD Alumni Association leaders in a programme that showcased the ideas, passion and innovation for which the School is famous.

In true INSEAD fashion, the NAA hosted all delegates to a ball themed ‘Under the Outback Stars’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art, sitting at the waters’ edge overlooking Sydney’s two majestic landmarks – the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. The event included the haunting sounds of a traditional didgeridoo and the exceptional seafood and wine that have helped Sydney to become recognised as a culinary world capital.

The Forum closed with a handover ceremony from David Mair to Hiroshi Nonomiya MBA’81, President of the NAA in Japan, which will host the next Alumni Forum Asia in Tokyo in November 2015.

It was a superb three days of engaging discussions, great parties and the kind of rich cross-border networking that only INSEAD can provide. Many delegates had travelled significant distances to attend, and reported a weekend of great fun and inspiring engagement, with Alumni from 32 countries represented.

The Alumni Volunteers Meeting was held in Sydney in conjunction with the Forum and was attended by more than 50 Volunteers and their partners who gave the Meeting and the Forum outstanding feedback and the highest rating ever achieved.

The NAA Australia New Zealand Forum Organising Committee expressed their gratitude for the support of their sponsors, Mirvac, InterContinental Hotels Group, Accenture Strategy, Republic, Incognito Events and AMBA; our supporters Pernod Ricard Australian and the INSEAD Alumni Fund; and the INSEAD Events teams from Fontainebleau and Singapore.

David Mair stated at the conclusion of the event, that his hope was that “as participants explored Business as a Force For Good in Asia, they would leave Sydney inspired – Inspired to learn more; dream more; do more; and become more.” We think Sydney achieved that, and more!

Looking forward to seeing you in Tokyo!

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