monash

Yesterday I stepped out of my last exam thus completing a Bachelor of Business (Management/Marketing) from Monash University. Well technically I still have a piece of assessment due in March but let's not talk about that. Looking back, in a concluding sort of manner, here's the six lessons I take away from my time as an undergraduate. 1) Play the game University is about playing the game. Once you learn how to work the system, achieving good grades is easy. I worked it out towards the end of my second year, and my grades were consistently better from there on out. It's not about saying the right thing but giving the teachers what the want to hear. Students aren't encouraged to apply themselves, they're told what to write, do "research" (read: plagarise off a journal article) and any form of creative execution goes unrewarded. Instead you play the game to get the grades. 2) It's important where you sit For some reason universities are far too keen on group work. Which I don't have a problem with because that's the way it should be done in the grown up world. However if you're caught in a shit group, it's too bad. Upon raising concerns with teachers about said group you'll be told that it's too bad, in the real world you don't get to choose who you work with. Except in the real world people who are shit don't get employed. And if they don't do anything they lose their job. In some cases I single handedly carried useless groups to HDs (arrogant but true). The best way to overcome this is to make sure you attend in Week 1 and sit next to "good" people and try and get into a group with them. 3) Be loud Being the loud arrogant kid in class isn't all bad. Opinionated students never receive anything but full marks for class participation and presentations. Even if what you're saying is rubbish the fact that you're saying it gets you points. Especially when you sit in a class full of people unable to speak up in front of others. 4) Rote learning is for winners Studying the night before an exam trying to think of stupid acronyms to help you remember a list of six items that you forget on the way out of the exam got me through my degree. Likewise for when a tutor tells you that you can't do an assignment the night before it's due. Challenge accepted and you prove them wrong when you smash it. 5) Drink beer with your lecturers Well, the cool ones anyway. It makes a massive difference when you can rock up to Week 1 and the tutor or lecturer already knows you because you've met them through other staff members. Can't state enough how helpful this is, especially beyond academic performance. 6) Uni teaches you to learn Most importantly; I will finish on the the biggest point. Uni helped me realise my career interest. I wouldn’t say it taught me a lot about it, perhaps a few basics, but it did teach me to get off my ass if I wanted to follow it and go out on my own to learn it. In many ways, it taught me that university couldn't teach me what I needed to know. It got me interested in marketing and ultimately advertising, which made me realise I needed to learn on my own by reading books not on the text list, start a blog, meet people in the industry, do internships and ultimately score a gig. I suppose that's a rather negative take on the past four years of my life, one that will no doubt change as I look back on it in the future. There are certainly a few teachers who do good things and I would like to thank them. And I suppose because of that last point alone the ridiculous HECS debt and the piece of paper I receive when I graduate will be worth it....

Here's a slide from a marketing unit I took this semester. You'll have to ignore the death by PowerPoint. I'm sure you've seen similar statistics before. Generally taken from the Fortune 500 or similar, a survey that demonstrates how poorly senior management consider marketing. At least that's how it's explained in lectures. But that's not right. If these managers are running the most successful businesses in the world, why is there an assumption they're wrong? One would think they're doing a pretty damn good job as it is. Maybe that's exactly where marketing should be. ...

In at least two of my units throughout my marketing degree I've been asked to develop a marketing plan as a piece of major assessment. This degree, for the most part, and particularly these units, is designed to teach people how to be marketers. Or as I prefer to call them; clients.But in both cases, the assessment involved putting together a campaign. Any assignment that said, "We'll get our advertising agency to develop and build a creative strategy" would have failed, Instead, students were required to develop creative (as the client), and in most cases without any kind of strategy.Coming from the arrogant advertising side, is this not giving students the wrong idea of how things work?Do these students go on to become that client who gets way too involved with the creative? Or comes up with an idea early on and pushes it from the start? Or perhaps they'll simply be unwilling to pay for strategy because they've never heard of it before?Anyway, I think the way marketing is taught is the reason to blame for poor client behavior. Ironically, the poor campaign that results is usually blamed on the agency.And on a side note, I wonder if media peeps have similar feelings....

One of the things you pick up doing a business degree is how fucking awesome Google are. Used in nearly every human resource example possible, Google are constantly highlighted as the number one employer of choice. Pretty much of all time. So when you're told someone will be in touch from Google and you don't hear back after three weeks, even with a follow up email, it's a little disappointing. Especially when it comes from a brand you love. It's not enough to make me jump to Bing by any means, but a taint in a brand you love hurts the most. And on a complete side note, the fact I applied for a gig in their Sydney office, told my best mate about it, he applied, he's pretty much interviewed immediately, my application seems to get lost in bureaucracy, he soon after lands the gig and moves to Sydney next weekend has absolutely nothing to do with the bitterness of this post. ;]...

I was sitting in a tutorial today keying an assessment date into my iPhone calendar. The tutor walked up and told me I shouldn't be text messaging in class and to focus on the task. I explained to him that I was doing nothing different from the student next to me writing the date into her paper diary.He smiled and asked what question I was up to.Yet another example of the University demonstrating just how far behind they are.The fact I was actually on Facebook because the tutorial was terribly boring is irrelevant....

I should preface this by saying I've never been an outstanding university student. My results usually range from average to okay, occasionally I'll manage a decent mark if it's something I'm interested in (here's hoping for an HD in Electronic Marketing!). Anywho, I got my results for this semester. Failed a law subject. I think most other students would be a little concerned about this. It's a permanent black mark on my Academic Transcript. Yet I am not nearly as worried as I suppose I should be. When I threw out my resume, I threw out my Academic Transcript too. Anyone who asks to see it I think is asking the wrong questions. And even then, I think I'm better off focusing on other non curricular activities like this blog. But it doesn't really matter what I think. Potential employers could be reading this blog, so why not tell me, have I hurt my employability? Have I made it even worse by admitting in this public space?...

I recently contacted one of my University's newspapers to see if they would be interested in running a story on the increase and potential of student blogging. They basically turned me down stating that the views of our blogs did not necessarily reflect those of Monash University. And it's probably posts like this one they don't appreciate. What is the fundamental purpose of University? I mean if you ignore the partying and drinking its core role is to educate, right? Well not really. You attend to be graded and ranked. Much like the rest of the flawed education system, it is based on providing the highest achievers with the best results and differentiating these students from everyone else. Likewise on the opposite where the lowest achieves recieve the poorest grades. Sounds fair enough doesn't it? Hmm. Many of my lecturers will not put up lecture slides on the Interweb. Some refuse to record these lecture with audio or video for later access. Why? Because they want people to attend lectures. And the point of that? To differentiate those who receive HD's, D's, C's, P's and of course F's. In one case a lecturer refused to answer a question of mine because it would give me an advantage over others. As she said this I asked myself, what purpose does that serve? You are hindering my education not encouraging it like you should. It's not her fault that she is forced to make the students compete but the system's. I'm not saying I have any solutions and I'm not saying the current system doesn't work. But it is flawed and just imagine how effective it could be if it's sole purpose was to educate....

When we use the Interweb, we surf naked. Nothing is left unseen and we lose our privacy in its entirety. There is an SMS service in Australia called Bongo (199BONGO) which can answer any question or tell you about any person, so it claims. Bongo's website says to have a massive data base, and after doing a check on me, I was somewhat surprised with the responding SMS...