For 40 years, the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) has helped shape future leaders for the specific purpose of overcoming the greatest challenges of our time.

We are proud to celebrate the achievements and impact of our community across four decades of progress, a journey from the genesis of a national business school of the highest quality, to the development of a new curriculum and digital outlook, achieving impact on a global scale.

As we look to the next 40 years, we commemorate our school’s rich history by connecting our past and present to our vision for the future: to prepare today’s leaders to put tomorrow’s plans into play.

Join us on this journey.

Please note: Photo credits have not been included on this site, but can be supplied on request if available. Please direct any queries to AGSM40th@agsm.edu.au

1958 - 1976

Pre AGSM The Business School for a Nation

In 1958 the University of New South Wales recognised the pressing need for graduate education in business and established Australia’s first chair of business administration. In spite of the meagre financial resources available it has created a viable programme [sic] and has accumulated a great deal of experience which would be valuable in developing a national school…

Submission prepared for the Committee on
Postgraduate Education for Management
UNSW, February, 1970
Some of the first graduates with Mr Gordon Jackson, Chairman, Board of Management of the AGSM (centre) and its Director, Professor Philip Brown (fourth from right). The students are (left to right) Mr David Nathan, Ms Pam Hall, Mr Alfred Stewart, Mrs Jackie Geok-Kee Liew, Ms Janetta Matchett, Mr Ross Hutcherson and Mr Mark Hernschke.

1958 - 1976

Pre AGSM The Business School for a Nation

1963

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) is the first university to offer a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Australia, with the first MBA students commencing in 1963.

1965

UNSW’s first MBA graduates are conferred at the 1965 Graduation Ceremony.

Cover letter of the Cyert Report to the Australian Universities Commission, 1970.

1969

Professor Richard Cyert, President of Carnegie Mellon University (US) is commissioned by the Commonwealth Government to write a report on "the most appropriate means of establishing management education of the highest quality without delay."

On 22 March 1970, a report of the Committee of Inquiry into Post-Graduate Education for Management was released by the Australian Government. At the time, Australian graduate level business management education was quite under developed and scattered across the nation.

The Cyert Committee proposed that a national school of management that was independent be created. It would send a strong message about the importance of professional business education.

1958 - 1976

Pre AGSM The Business School for a Nation

The first MBA in Australia

Foundation Professor Neville Wills and MBA candidate John Nicholls recount the beginnings of the first MBA offered in Australia through the University of New South Wales.

1958 - 1976

Pre AGSM The Business School for a Nation

No society, and especially a free one, can long ignore the education of its managers and continue to prosper

Richard Cyert, 1969

Excerpt taken from AGSM Magazine, 2002, Issue 1 (25th Anniversary edition).

1973

In August, the Whitlam Government gives its agreement to begin preliminary planning for the School. An interim board of management is formed, responsible for planning the development of the new School.

$2.33 million is set aside by the Federal Government, but delays in handing the money over mean the School is accommodated on Level Four of the Mathews Building on the UNSW Kensington campus.

1974

On 11 March 1974, the seed of the Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM) is planted and the plans begin to grow.

1958 - 1976

Pre AGSM The Business School for a Nation

1974

Site chosen for the AGSM

Initial planning of the AGSM building commences but is disapproved by Randwick Council.

The Messenger, 1 October 1974

On 11 November 1974, Professor Philip Brown is appointed Professor of Management and Director of the AGSM, taking up the position on 1 January 1975.
Professor Philip Brown, Director, 1975 – 1979

1958 - 1976

Pre AGSM The Business School for a Nation

1975

The AGSM structure is approved and preparations begin, including the recruitment for Foundation Professors.

The Foundation staff has a little over a year to create MBA and PhD programs plus a portfolio of executive programs and short courses.

The Australian, 5 May 1975.

Pamela Taylor with Professor Philip Brown.

AGSM’s first Librarian, Pamela Taylor is appointed in June 1975, having worked in the UNSW Library since 1967.

She establishes the AGSM library as the foremost management education library in Australia, and continues to do so until its closure in 2007.

1958 - 1976

Pre AGSM The Business School for a Nation

1976

Foundation Staff appointed in April and recruitment for new cohort begins.

Top row: Professor Chris Adam, Professor Raymond J Ball, Professor John Conybeare, Professor Lex Donaldson; Second row: Dr Philip W Yetton, Professor Malcolm Fisher, Professor Robert Marks, Dr David Midgley; Third row: Dr Howard Thomas, Mr Robert B Vermeesch, Mr Peter Wilenski, Professor Di Yerbury AO.

Professor Di Yerbury AO
Foundation faculty, 1977 – 1986

Uniken, 5 April 1976

Initial discussions begin regarding the construction of a designated AGSM building after which R.G. Jackson (Chairman, Board of Management) writes to the Prime Minister requesting support.

1958 - 1976

Pre AGSM The Business School for a Nation

JOHN STRINGER

(Foundation Professor on the 1976 Board of Studies)

"I had seen an advertisement in The Times and wrote off to enquire. I was 50 at the time [working as director of the Institute for Operational Research at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations in London].

I elected to come in March 1976 to give Philip [Brown] a bit of a hand. I flew out to Perth and on to Sydney with Howard Thomas [who had been director of London Business School’s decision analysis unit] and Phil Yetton. We went straight to the board of studies’ first planning meeting on arrival in Sydney.

Not having been in academia I simultaneously became an academic and an Australian – becoming an Australian was the easy part. Philip asked me to look after the DPM [Development Program for Managers – the first executive program launched in April 1977].

We ran the first course in three locations: at Everglades in Leura, and in Sydney at Little Bay and the Sebel Town House. We didn’t have a building like you have today to run such a course and it was a logistical nightmare, but I nevertheless have good memories of it. I remember one of the participants, George Boileau, who was an executive assistant to the general manager of BHP at the time, saying to the other participants, ‘Look chaps, this is the first time the School has done this thing – it is up to us to make it work’.

All the foundation staff taught on the first DPM – Ray Ball, Howard Thomas, Phil Yetton, Di Yerbury, Philip Brown, Bob Vermeesch, Malcolm Fisher and David Midgley; that shared experience was an important part of things coming together in the first few years."

- Excerpt taken from the AGSM Magazine, 25th Anniversary Edition (2002, Issue 1)

1977 - 1986

The Official Beginning

1977

The AGSM opens its doors and the first classes commence on 7 March

Classes are shared between the Mathews Building and a duplex on Botany Street without a designated building to house the School.

Advertisements taken from the Australian Financial Review, September 1977.

1977

Development Program for Managers - the first executive program - is taught in residential mode in the Blue Mountains and Sydney.

The students in the first intake of the MBA program were a real bunch of characters. I think new programs often attract people who are adventurous, and that was true of our students.

Professor Lex Donaldson
AGSM Faculty 1976 - 2016

Uniken, 1977 (no.1)

1977 - 1986

The Official Beginning

1978

After a tumultuous period of disapproved funds for a new AGSM building, funding is finally confirmed and building commences on Botany Street, Kensington.

Above: Focus, 26 October 1978
Below: Uniken, 17 November 1978 (no. 18)

1979

AGSM’s first MBA graduates conferred on 24 April 1979.
33 graduates are recorded in total, of which four are women.

We were blessed in getting a building. That made a huge difference, that physical isolation, and gave the school a real identity

Pamela Taylor
Foundation Librarian
1975-2007

A School of Prima Donna’s

1977 - 1986

The Official Beginning

1980

In 1980 the AGSM wine "Cellar" was opened to provide high profile AGSM guests with an appropriate gift of appreciation.
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Scholarships are offered to women in the Development Program for Managers.
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Jeremy Davis appointed as new Director

I think that to have a starting faculty who have become so successful is stunning. The Faculty was chosen fundamentally for its potential and commitment to building the School. We did believe we could build a world-class school, and people put a lot of effort into that.

Professor Philip Yetton
AGSM Faculty 1976-2012 & Director of the Fujitsu Centre for Information Technology
(quote taken from AGSM Magazine, 25th Anniversary Edition, 2002, Issue 1)

Professor Malcolm Fisher
Acting Director, 1980

Professor Jeremy Davis
Dean & Director, 1980 – 1988

AGSM embraces the computer age

1980

Second MBA cohort graduates from the AGSM

1977 - 1986

The Official Beginning

1981

The new AGSM building is opened by Senator John Carrick on 20 February 1981

Uniken, 20 February 1981.

AGSM faculty, past and present discuss the evolution of the AGSM and its place within the broader university

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AGSM Library opens

A historical selection of images of the UNSW Library since its opening in 1981, including staff and students (exact time unknown).

1977 - 1986

The Official Beginning

1982

The Ralph Report

Created by a committee headed by the former Chief Executive of CRA, Mr John Ralph, recommends a concentration of management education in a number of elite schools.

This raises the profile of the Australian Graduate School of Management and Melbourne Business School, but does not lead to any rationalisation in the number of business schools.

A later a decision by the Federal Government in 1986 to relax guidelines of postgraduate fees actually leads to an explosion in the number of MBA programs on offer in Australia.

1983

Melbourne Business School opens, presenting the first real rival to AGSM

Australian Financial Review, 19 March 1984

1985

The Alumni Association is incorporated. Malcolm Castle is the first Chairperson (and again in 1987).
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The AGSM Revues become a popular feature in the social calendar of the school.

1986

Student exchange program begins with New York Graduate School of Business Administration
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The University of Sydney establishes the Graduate School of Business (GSB)

1987 - 1996

AGSM embraces flexibility and innovation

1988

Financial Review, 26 April 1988.

1989

100 Graduate Management Qualification students enrol and pioneer the start of a unique design in part-time management education (eventually to become the Executive MBA)

Professor Fred Hilmer is appointed as Dean and Director of the AGSM. Professor Hilmer will go on to become the President and 8th Vice-Chancellor of UNSW from June 2006 until January 2015.

He will be appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia in 1998.

Emeritus Professor Frederick G. Hilmer AO
Dean & Director, 1989 – 1997

Financial Review, 1 December 1989

AGSM ranked number 1 in Australian MBA Survey

Reunion of first graduating class of the AGSM (1979) held at the home of Pam Taylor, Foundation Librarian.
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FAI Insurances Chair of Management in the field of finance is established to honour the life and work of the late Larry Adler AO.

1987 - 1996

AGSM embraces flexibility and innovation

1990

The Graduate Management Qualification (GMQ) gains market momentum. The next two years see it develop rapidly in popularity and scope.

I still think there is a challenge to be on the radar screen of business leaders; I would be delighted if the school created the issues, if it was issue defining and issue resolving on things like competition, labour relations, tax, what colours our ability to take risk. If the business school doesn’t do it, then who does? My aspiration for the school was to do more to engage with the business community and I think we started that.

Emeritus Professor Frederik G. Hilmer AO
Dean 1989-1997
President and Vice-Chancellor UNSW 2006 - 2015

(excerpt taken from AGSM Magazine 25th Anniversary edition, 2002 Issue 1)

AGSM makes a commitment to advancing with technology across the 90s including the installation of the Star Lab computers.
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Launch of the AGSM Library System

1987 - 1996

AGSM embraces flexibility and innovation

1991

AGSM runs out of space and expands into the Samuels building at UNSW. Fujitsu Centre for Managing Information Technology in Organisation is established (closes 2002). A year later, the Commonwealth Bank will become a donor.
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Centre for Corporate Change is established with a $1.5million Australian Research Council Grant.

1992

In 1992 UNSW further extends its global reach and launches the online MBA, the Master of Business & Technology Program (MBT). The MBT is absorbed into the AGSM MBA portfolio in 2011.
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The Graduate Diploma of Management is rolled out.

AGSM Open Learning Program Magazine

1993

The MBA (Executive) program is launched, representing a major step change in the way the AGSM offers value.

Classes are offered in a number of cities, on the same evening, following the same curriculum, enabling experienced managers to undertake an MBA in a more flexible way
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Exchange programs are established with the JL Kellogg Graduate School of Management in the US and the Stockholm School of Economics.

1987 - 1996

AGSM embraces flexibility and innovation

1994

The AGSM receives a major gift from Frank Lowy, and subsequently names the library the “Frank Lowy Library” in 1996.

Uniken 7 November, 1994

1995

UNSW and AGSM Boards approve a $10million extension to the AGSM building.

1996

The AGSM undergoes a series of building extensions, after 1995 approval by the Board. The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Bernie Fraser opens the new extension. Designed by Lawrence Nield and Partners, the extension wins a commendation in the NSW Architecture Awards.

1997 - 2006

The AGSM goes Global

1997

AGSM farewells Professor Fred Hilmer as Dean.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 June 1997

Professor Peter Dodd appointed as the new Dean and Director of the AGSM.

1998

The Merger

After almost a decade of quiet negotiations, on 1 June 1998 UNSW Council gives its approval to the merger of the AGSM with the University of Sydney’s Graduate School of Business to form a new Australian Graduate School of Management as a joint venture between two universities, effective from the first academic term in 1999, with full-time classes to be held at UNSW and part-time classes at University of Sydney.

1998

Star Lab is officially launched, sponsored by the Australian Stock Exchange.

Joe Hockey, elected member of Australian Parliament uses the Star Lab.

In memory of Richard Cyert,
author of the Cyert report 1972 – 1998

He was a man of vision to which we owe a great debt.

Professor Peter Dodd
Dean & Director, AGSM 1997 – 1999.

1997 - 2006

The AGSM goes Global

1999

The first intake of classes commence as part of the new joint venture AGSM.
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AGSM commences MBA classes in Hong Kong

The AGSM's rugby team, "The Wombats" goes on first rugby tour against other business schools

2001

AGSM Magazine launches

Read digital versions of AGSM Magazine

Professor Peter Dodd
Dean & Director, 1997 – 1999

Professor Greg Whittred
Acting Dean & Director, 2000

Professor Michael Vitale
Dean & Director, 2001 – 2002

My greatest hope is that when the School celebrates its golden anniversary in 2027, the dean will look back at the preceding 25 years with the same sense of awe and opportunity as I feel today.

Professor Michael Vitale
Dean & Director, AGSM 2001 – 2002

1997 - 2006

The AGSM goes Global

2002

Sydney CBD Campus opens in the year of AGSM’s 25th Birthday

The $3.5million CBD campus opens to accommodate AGSM’s corporate education portfolio.

Designed by Bligh Voller Nield architects, the CBD campus is a dynamic reflection of the AGSM, says the architects’ practice director Caroline Diesner.

"It is a space that provides identity, community and connection; the integration of spaces extends the learning environment from a conversation over coffee to the state-of-the-art conference and lecture facilities," she says.

AGSM students in Sydney have a choice of studying in four locations – the CBD, Parramatta, North Sydney and Kensington.The AGSM also has conference and residential facilities.

The AGSM magazine 25th anniversary edition is published featuring interviews with Foundation Staff and retrospectives on the history of the AGSM.

Read digital versions of AGSM Magazine

Professor Carrick Martin
Acting Dean & Director, 2003

Professor Robert McLean
Dean & Director,
2003 – 2006

Professor Eddie Anderson
Acting Dean & Director, 2006

The AGSM is the first business school in Australia to be awarded international accreditation by the Association of Advanced Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSMB), an independent agency for business administration and accounting degree programs.

At this date only four schools in the Asia Pacific region have gained the accreditation

AGSM's operation in Hong Kong continues, with the graduating class depicted above

1997 - 2006

The AGSM goes Global

2003

The education recession of the late 90s in a highly competitive MBA market hits the AGSM hard, with the school reporting an audited deficit of $2.7million (reported to be far more significant in the media). “The AGSM expects to be back in black by year end” said the new Dean, Prof Robert McLean AM, launching a full review of the AGSM’s operations and intensifying focus on the student experience.
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AGSM launches alumni associations in Singapore, Hong Kong and London.
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Set to become a flagship events program for UNSW, Meet the CEO is launched for the first time, featuring Richard Branson, CEO Virgin.

2005

AGSM’s MBA ranked 35th in the world in the UK’s Financial Times rankings.

Hong Kong Graduations

Funny AGSM stories never told - Retired staff reminisces on the funnier side to AGSM.

2006

Sydney University withdraws from the AGSM merger.
On 11 November 2005 it is announced that the University of Sydney has decided to cease its participation in the AGSM joint venture with UNSW. Consequently AGSM reverts to being solely owned by UNSW, and discussions begin regarding the future of the School.
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On 3 July 2006, Council approves the disestablishment of the Australian Graduate School of Management, subject to the approval of the academic board.

Under the Vice-Chancellery of Fred Hilmer, the Faculty is to be amalgamated with the Faculty of Commerce and Economics to form the new Faculty of Business.

2007 - 2016

The Foundations Solidify

2007

The Australian School of Business is launched, based in UNSW’s newly renovated Heffron Building.

Final Issue of the AGSM Magazine is published.

Read digital versions of AGSM Magazine

2008

Social Highlight: Dr Jane Goodall visits the AGSM for a special Executive Programs Lunch Tour.

2007 - 2016

The Foundations Solidify

2009

The AGSM MBA Program is ranked as the leading full-time MBA in Australia and 32nd in the world in the Financial Times (UK) 2009 ranking of the top 100 global MBA programs.

This is the tenth consecutive year the AGSM MBA Program has ranked in the top 100 MBA programs worldwide.

The AGSM MBA rank of 32 is an improvement of seven places since last year. The main driver of the overall ranking score is the career success of alumni, especially salary progression. Particular areas of strength in the survey results are the career progression of AGSM alumni, aims achieved and value for money.

2011

This year signals a significant re-investment in the AGSM. Professor Chris Styles is appointed as Director with a refreshed emphasis on the student experience, international mobility and alumni engagement as well as a responsibility for reinvigorating the AGSM brand.

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The Master of Business & Technology (MBT) Program is added to the AGSM offering.

Professor Chris Adam
Director of AGSM 2007 –2011

Professor Chris Styles
Director of AGSM & Deputy Dean,
UNSW Business School
2001 - 2014
Currently Dean,
UNSW Business School

Professor Julie Cogin
Director of AGSM & Deputy Dean,
UNSW Business School
2014 - present

I am pleased to see that we also do well against the criterion of school diversity, especially in terms of the percentage of international faculty and women students.

Professor Alec Cameron
Dean, Australian School of Business 2007 – 2012

2007 - 2016

The Foundations Solidify

2014

AGSM’s Current Director and Deputy Dean, UNSW Business School, Professor Julie Cogin appointed.

Launch of the MBAX, formerly known as the Master of Business Technology (MBT)

After delivering the enduringly popular and innovative Masters of Business & Technology (MBT) program online for over 20 years, the program transitions to a three session model, combining the flexible online delivery of MBT with three new specialisations to choose from in addition to Technology – Change, Social Impact, Operational Excellence - and the MBAX is born.

2015

Australian School of Business becomes UNSW Business School

AGSM invnovates with a Digital Blueprint Strategy, leveraging educational technologies and goes on to lead a digital transformation in the Higher Education Sector.

This means saying goodbye to paper and printing. The “blue binders” which AGSM MBA candidates around the world have come to recognise as a status symbol are replaced with personal iPads (complete with AGSM blue cover). The ipad provides access to course materials, learning applications and gamification tools to foster interaction before, during and after class.

New pathways are created between executive education and award programs providing greater flexibility and access points to education.

AGSM launches ‘Doing Business in Australia’ program with NYU Stern

2007 - 2016

The Foundations Solidify

2015

19 UNSW academics appointed as AGSM Fellows

The Fellows are part of AGSM’s initiative to bring UNSW Business School’s high impact research to life to enhance our globally recognised award programs.

AGSM Fellows are dedicated faculty based at the AGSM building involved in research engagement and teaching – activities in their areas of expertise across strategy, accounting and finance, leadership and management, and international business.

Professor Julie Cogin
Director AGSM and Deputy Dean
UNSW Business School

Professor Julie Cogin named as one of Australia’s Women of Influence, reinforcing the AGSM’s commitment to the role of women in creating a bold and diverse future for Australia.

The AGSM takes on a leading role supporting women to accelerate their careers by offering multiple scholarships (including childcare and travel support), mentoring and sponsorships of events that seek to promote gender leadership balance.

2007 - 2016

The Foundations Solidify

2016

AGSM welcomes Professor Bob Wood back, following his departure from Melbourne Business School. He returns to the AGSM after a nine year hiatus and brings a wealth of research experience in organisational behaviour, including his role as Director of the Centre for Ethical Leadership (CEL) at Ormond College in Melbourne.

AGSM launches inaugural AsiaPac MBA case study competition – 12 of the best Business Schools in the Asia Pacific region come to AGSM, sponsored by Mastercard.

AGSM’s two-way engagement with Asia strategy takes flight with HNA Aviation partnership

The AGSM presents the Women in Technology panel as part of the MBAX social and networking offering.

AGSM Deans & Directors provide their thoughts on why the AGSM has endured over the last 40 years and how it is future proofing leaders for the next 40.

2007 - 2016

The Foundations Solidify

2016

UNSW is undertaking a renewal of its Cliffbrook campus to create a bespoke residential and educational retreat.

Animation by FJMT Architects, current as at 27 February 2017
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The new campus will primarily accommodate the AGSM’s residential program. It will provide a maximum of 52 bedrooms, supporting amenities and a customised suite of learning spaces. The design will be empathetic to the highly sensitive heritage fabric, adjacent environment, the unique outlook and the neighbourhood amenity.

A carefully selected team of consultants and experts have been tasked with the design and delivery of this unique facility.

Neil Morris
Vice President, Campus Life and Community Engagement, UNSW

Janine Deshon
Design and Brief Development Manager, UNSW

FJMT Studio / Architect and Lead Consultant

Weir Phillips Heritage / Heritage

For a full list of the Project Team visit the website

A campus to align with the University’s 2025 Strategy vision to establish UNSW as Australia's global university, providing world-class environments to deliver distinctive educational experiences.

Cliffbrook House Redevelopment Announced
Expected Completion end 2018

2017 Onwards

Preparing leaders for the great unknown

The Digital Strategy Pays Off

The AGSM’s online MBA is ranked 4th in the world by Financial Times (UK).

The Financial Times (UK) Online MBA Rankings 2017 recognise AGSM’s MBAX program as the 4th best in the world, climbing four places since 2016. AGSM’s Online MBA also scores a 2nd in the world in the category of research.

QS World University Rankings also recently listed AGSM among its "global elite", placing it among the top 45 business schools in the world.

The flexible online courses and fully online programs offer a huge increase in the number of new candidates from Australia and overseas enrolling in AGSM programs.

AGSM launches 'Career Comeback Sponsorships'

Designed to address the leadership gender gap in Australia by empowering parents and carers who have taken a career break to access the professional development they need to return to the workforce and accelerate their post-break leadership careers.

Our recent ranking results and strong uplift over the last few years cements our place among the world’s best business schools. The AGSM has a distinguished history and as we celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2017, our community of alumni, students and faculty can be proud that we continue our commitment to preparing great people to achieve great things, while providing a content-rich, technologically enabled learning environment.

Professor Julie Cogin
Director AGSM and Deputy Dean, UNSW Business School

AGSM is selected to develop and deliver a central component of one of NSW Premier’s 12 Priority Areas: An Indigenous Executive Leadership Program across the NSW Public Service.

Partnering with Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan Group, AGSM launches the Emerging Indigenous Executive Leaders Program to offer education opportunities that will cultivate the next generation of Indigenous business leaders. This program is the first of its kind and sees corporate Australia, private and public organisations work together with AGSM to deliver a 10 day Short Course over 10 months for executive-ready Indigenous managers from across the country.

Preparation.

That pivotal step we all need to take to ready ourselves in anticipation for what awaits us. So what are your aspirations? Who are you preparing to be?

what are you
made for?