Board of Advisers

Karen Lee

Founder of Economics Student Society of Australia in 2011

Karen is an economics enthusiast and as a result of her passion for the subject, founded the Economics Society of Australia in 2011 with a group of close friends. Her interest in economics lies with how applicable the concepts learnt in class can be readily applied to real life situations. In particular, she enjoys industrial, behavioral and experimental economics . Karen recently completed her Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Melbourne in 2012, with a major in Economics and Finance. She is currently studying her Master of Management (Accounting) at the Graduate School of Business and Economics to compliment her undergraduate degree. She has confidence that ESSA will continue to thrive at the University of Melbourne and hopes ESSA will one day become a national icon disbanding the common misconceptions about economics.

Nilss Olekalns

Deputy Dean of Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne

Professor Nilss Olekalns is currently the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at the University of Melbourne. He began teaching in the Department of Economics at the University of Melbourne in 1994 where, for the last thirteen years, he has lectured to first year students in Macroeconomics. He has been a visiting scholar at the International Monetary Fund, a guest lecturer at the Monetary Authority of Singapore and an invited lecturer for the Australian and New Zealand School of Government. Professor Olekalns has published on a variety of macroeconomic topics including fiscal and monetary policies, exchange rates, output and inflation volatility, and interest rates. He received his B.Ec. with Honours in economics from the University.

Russell Smyth

Head of Department, Department of Economics, Monash University

Russell Smyth is of Head of Department of Economics at Monash University. His research interests encompass Asian economies, Chinese economic reform, empirical legal studies, law and economics, migration and applied time series econometrics. From 1998 to 2008 he was Editor of Economic Papers, the policy journal of the Economic Society of Australia and was a member of the Central Council of the Economic Society of Australia. In 2008 he received the Honorary Fellow Award of the Economic Society of Australia He is currently an Associate Editor of the B.E. Press journal, Asia Pacific Law and Economics Review and Pacific Economic Reviewand sits on the Editorial Board of a further four journals.

Ian Harper

Professor Ian Harper is one of Australia’s best known economists. He has worked closely with governments, banks, corporates and leading professional services firms at the highest level. He recently chaired the Federal Government’s Competition Policy Review, a “root and branch” review of Australia’s competition policy, laws and regulators, and is often asked to comment on economic and financial issues in the media.

In March 2011 Ian joined Deloitte Access Economics as a Partner, following a 25-year academic career including 16 years in various roles at the Melbourne Business School. Ian was elected Emeritus Professor of the University of Melbourne on his departure.
From December 2005 to July 2009, Ian Harper served as inaugural Chairman of the Australian Fair Pay Commission, an independent statutory body whose role was to set and adjust minimum wages in Australia. From January 2011 to February 2012, he was one of three panellists chosen to review Victoria’s state finances.

Ian is currently a member of the Australian Advisory Board of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia in 2000 and a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors in 2009.

Preeta Phillip

ESSA Mentor and Department Manager, Department of Economics, University of Melbourne

Preeta Philip is Department Manager, Department of Economics, University of Melbourne. She has over 22 years of experience working in corporate finance in India and Australia. For the past 10 years she has held various roles at the University of Melbourne. Ms Philip holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Spicer Memorial College, India and a Master of Business Administration from Andrews University, USA

John Daley

Chief Executive, Grattan Institute

John Daley is the inaugural Chief Executive of Grattan Institute, which provides independent, rigorous and practical solutions to Australia’s most pressing public policy issues. The current programs of Grattan Institute focus on productivity growth, cities, school education, tertiary education, energy and health.
John’s work at Grattan Institute has focused on economic and budgetary reform. He is particularly interested in government prioritisation. His other interests include analysing the situations in which government intervention is justified, and the limits to government.
He has 25 years’ experience spanning policy, academic, government and corporate roles. He has worked for the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet, McKinsey and Co, and ANZ where he was Managing Director of the online stockbroker, E*TRADE Australia.
John completed an LLB (Hons) and a BSc at the University of Melbourne in 1989, and a doctorate in public law at the University of Oxford in 1999.

Diana Dalton

Executive Director, Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Melbourne

Ms Diana Dalton is Executive Director of the Faculty of Business and Economics, at the University of Melbourne. She has over 20 years of experience in large, complex and dynamic organisations. She has worked in professional services, government, education and health sectors in senior executive roles. She was the Director of Corporate Development for Victoria Legal Aid, just prior to working with the University, and before that, she was the General Manager for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (Victoria). She has a Master of Business in Organisational Dynamics (OD) and Graduate Diploma in Business Administration and has completed various executive programs with Harvard Business School. She has an extensive background in HR and OD and has particular experience in evaluating business efficiency and effectiveness.