Scaling the heights of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and experiencing a traditional indigenous Welcome to Country ceremony may not be what comes to mind when describing a Middle Management Leadership Program, however for 32 delegates from China, this was the experience that launched a highly immersive leadership program with AGSM Executive Education.  

The innovative, practical and experience-led program with HNA Aviation commenced on January 18 and ran for over a we​​ek, embedding HNA executives into a western environment to increase their knowledge and confidence in the leadership and business capabilities required to drive a globally diverse business. 

Designed by AGSM Fellows Elizabeth Maitland and Jaco Lok, the program is based on action-learning, experiences, reflection and application exercises. These included key interactions with indigenous Australians, corporates and leading academics to create a personalised, intercultural and career-focused development experience. 

During the program, the outstanding Middle Managers from HNA enjoyed a mix of theory-based and experiential sessions, with highlights including an outdoor leadership skills session, a lecture delivered by the Regional Director of Hilton Hotel Group, the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb corporate site visit and a soccer game friendly between HNA and AGSM’s new Full-time MBA cohort.

Frank Kennedy​, Executive Director of AGSM Executive Education, said the program is central to AGSM’s role in UNSW Business School’s strategy of two-way engagement with Asia. 

“Through a mixture of classroom content and real business interactions, the program supports HNA’s international growth strategy and cements AGSM as a business partner for international conglomerates,” said Frank.

“AGSM Executive Education delivered a unique solution that allowed HNA to acquire the skills to work in international marketplaces - exploring cultural differences in the context of international leadership and management styles to solve complex issues, manage risk and develop innovative organisations in a global framework.”

While the program facilitates new capabilities and deeper understanding for HNA, AGSM and the whole of UNSW Australia also benefits from an enhanced understanding of business in China which links back to the Business School’s Strategy 20/20. The program also allows excellent international education opportunities for students through the relationship with HNA. 

“The program has opened doors for internships and recruitment at the undergraduate, post-graduate and MBA levels”, said Frank. ​