Any hiring manager can tell you about the gap between new graduates and industry veterans.

The good news is that bridging this gap doesn’t have to take years. By adding seasoned professionals to the mix, students can gain a valuable understanding of the industry context that they won’t learn from a textbook.

And that’s where Andrew Ross, a management accountant and part-time lecturer at the Tasmanian School of Business and Economics, comes in.

I work with the University of Tasmania a couple of days a week, mainly as someone who’s come in from the industry, to add that dimension to the students’ academic experience.

Mr Ross brings 40 years of managerial-level practitioner experience in the areas of management accounting, leadership, strategic management, strategic planning, and risk management.

“More and more, the universities are being told that they need to have people from corporate practice getting involved in the education process of the students,” Mr Ross said.

“And that’s why the University of Tasmania works with me, so I can come in and teach from that background.”

Having spent four decades in the accounting industry, Mr Ross has seen first hand what happens when new graduates don’t have the real-world experience they need. He went through this himself when he was first starting out as an accountant, working full-time while also studying part-time.

“I found that when I was a student, there was a huge gap between what I was being taught at university, and what I actually did in practice,” he said.

By having someone like me come in and teach, I get to share real-life experiences and real context for what my students are learning.

"So while they themselves aren’t immersed in that context, they’re at least getting it through the lectures and tutorials that I’m involved with.

This recent move by universities to bring in people with industry experience will be a big help in filling the gaps for new graduates, Mr Ross adds, but more practitioners are still needed.

“We need people from the auditing field and people from the financial accounting field to be able to do the same thing,” he said.

Mr Ross said that one barrier to accessing these experienced practitioners lies in the gap between what a person in business gets paid versus someone in academia. But by targeting semi-retired professionals, it will be possible for universities to recruit the talent they need to give their graduates the best possible start.

I enjoy the interaction with the students. Being able to share my experience with them – in a way, it’s giving something back to the profession that’s looked after me so well these last 40-odd years.

Find out more about studying Business and Economics here.

About Andrew Ross

Every day, businesses face challenges and take risks resulting in major successes and sometimes big failures. It’s all a part of the operations of any company, both big and small. Lecturer Andrew Ross is combining theories from the textbook with real world application of risk and outcomes to help his students to grasp the basics of business.

View Andrew Ross's full researcher profile