Real lessons from real clients

Group photo

5 minute read

The CBE Special Industry Project (SIP) is the first program of its kind at the Australian National University (ANU). Mimicking the real-world business environment, students take on a consulting role in a team of four or more to address current business issues in support of continual business improvement, by designing, developing, and pitching their recommendations.

This program involves two industry partners; (1) the client, who provides a business problem or opportunity, (2) the mentors from within the consulting industry, who support each team to support the quality and applicability of the outputs, through to the final report and presentation.

In Semester 2 last year, 16 students were selected through a competitive application round for SIP with the Royal Australian Mint (RAM). The nominated students were invited to identify the opportunities and challenges presented by the move towards a coinless society.

Purpose without performance is impossible. Performance without purpose is meaningless.

The winning team, selected by RAM executives, was C.L.L.T. Consulting. This group was founded by ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE) students, Eric Cao, Xinglin Li, Jiafa Liu, and Harry Thomson, who each grew up in different countries – China, Singapore, Taiwan, and Australia. They discuss how their time together prepared them to face the professional world, tested their aptitude for business strategy and real-life problem solving, and shaped their future career choices.


Eric Cao

 Eric Cao, B. Finance & B. Laws (Honours)  

How did SIP prepare you for the professional world?

SIP has helped me gain first-hand experience of the world of consulting and see how it changes the future of firms as well as people’s live. This opportunity has allowed me to develop a strong passion for consulting and bringing value to both people and firms. I am certain that the professional skills I learned through SIP have laid the foundation for me and my career.


Xinglin Li

Xinglin Li, B. Accounting & B. Laws (Honours)

What are the most valuable insights that you acquired through SIP?

SIP offered me an opportunity to work on a real-life business case, accumulating consulting experience and creating an impact. Prior to SIP, I was unsure about the nature of consulting and what being a consultant would be like. I have now become very interested in this field and would like to explore it as a career.


Jiafa Liu

Jiafa Liu, B. Accounting & B. Laws (Honours)

How did SIP influence your future education and career choices? 

This program gave me a unique opportunity for real-life client interactions and a taste of the mini-consulting project, both of which were extremely valuable for an international student like me. The hands-on experience exposed my weakness in both my practical skills and mindset. It has pointed me in a new direction in terms of how to use the skills I have learned in my professional work life. 


Harry Thomson

Harry Thomson, B. Commerce and B. Politics, Philosophy and Economics

Could you share an experience from SIP that changed and challenged you personally?

Our meeting with the Head of Marketing and Sales from RAM was an experience that challenged and moulded my own personal understanding of decision making. What this experience taught me was that the criticality of choice over what to do and what not to do, as well as the judicious prioritisation of tasks, regardless of how daunting they may appear, remains the cornerstone of team-based project efforts.


The ANU College of Business and Economics offers an extensive range of employability programs for our students. Click here for more details about the CBE Special Industry Project.