Project Management alumni return to share Cook Island experiences

6 Sep 2017
Four Project Management alumni returned to the classroom to guest lecture.

UQ Business School alumni Andrew Litschner, Grant Chapman and Nathan Bambling recently returned to the classroom, this time as guest lecturers.

Drawing on their current experiences in project management across various industries, the alumni engaged with students of the Application of Project Management class. They compared and contrasted the experience gained from a recent field study completed in Rarotonga, Cook Islands when they too were undertaking the same course.

“I remember when I did Application of Project Management, and we had outside speakers. And here I am talking about my experience in my current role and the lessons learned while on the field trip in Rarotonga. Awesome!” said Nathan.

“When we completed the Cook Islands assignment, it was a real challenge – but thoroughly enjoyable. I learned a great deal about myself as well as helping a developing country that has many infrastructure issues,” said Andrew.

“We supported local engineers with practical methods to help plan and monitor their projects. Using a simple Kanban we were able to get many of the failing projects back on track. It was very satisfying.”

“For me it was an appreciation of an alternative culture, with a rich history, and therefore having a need to be sympathetic to a special way of life. There is little benefit in trying to impose high-tech solutions; appropriate methods are the key to getting things done,” said Grant.

The Cook Islands field study runs each year as part of the Application of Project Management course, giving students the opportunity to work closely with local government departments to establish and run projects which benefit the local community.

In previous years the students have assisted with initiatives relating to improving patient records, disaster recovery planning, airport baggage handling and infrastructure projects.

Course coordinator, Dr David Parker said, “All the students did remarkable work while on the island; and were greatly appreciated by their host organizations.”

The Application of Project Management is offered under the Master of Project Management program, with the field study project expected to continue for students studying in 2018.