An advisor working in the resources sector believes specialist Chinese knowledge is so crucial to her long term job prospects in the Australian oil and gas sector that she took two months leave to further her education on Chinese soil.
Peta McDougall, Corporate Centre Advisor at Woodside Energy, enrolled at Murdoch, which is the only university in Australia to offer a Postgraduate Certificate in Chinese Law and one of only a few to teach students real ‘China Knowledge’.
“If all of the economic analysts say China is the economic power house of the future, we as an industry, we as students and we as businessmen and academics, should do all that we can to proactively address the demands of the future,” she said.
“The Chinese Law Program at Murdoch is a step in that direction.”
Under the program students spend a month at the City University of Hong Kong where they complete units in the Chinese legal system, Chinese contract and commercial law and Chinese intellectual property law.
Students then return to Australia where they have another five months in which to complete their studies under the supervision of Murdoch’s Program Director Dr Ken Shao.
“The program provides both students and people already working in the resources, or indeed any WA based services industry, the opportunity to learn technical knowledge, business practices, and culture, which is vital to carrying out business with China,” Miss McDougall said.
“It enabled me to immerse myself in the culture and vibrancy of Hong Kong while studying with highly trained and experienced foreign academics.
“This resulted in a quality learning experience as the training and legal knowledge was not delivered in isolation from the practical realities of life in a foreign country.”
Murdoch University’s program has already educated 65 participants since it began in 2008.
Dr Shao said it was pleasing to have the support of a prestigious university to host the program in China and that feedback from participants was positive.
“It is encouraging that the City University of Hong Kong – which has partnerships with Oxford, Yale and Harvard – has declared its law school and our own as ‘brothers’,” Dr Shao said.
“It is also encouraging to know that almost all the participants were overwhelmingly asked about the program when they were interviewed for positions at leading law firms and companies.”
Dr Shao argues that a better understanding of the People’s Republic of China is urgently needed to enhance and develop the trading relationship between China and Australia.
“Companies can only succeed in the world’s next biggest economy if they have access to real China knowledge in order to understand how China is changing, and where it is going,” he said.
Anyone interested in enrolling in the Chinese Law Program should contact Dr Shao by email or on (08) 9360 6276.