Q+A with Master of Management (Marketing) Graduates

You’ve graduated, now what? We caught up with some of our Master of Management (Marketing) graduates Nick (class of 2012) and Lauren (class of 2013) to see where the degree has taken them, what it is really like working in industry and their tips for studying and interviews.

  • Nicholas Topham

    Digital Account Manager

    Initiative

  • Lauren Devries

    Digital Marketing Manager

    Rail Plus

Ok, first things first. What do you do now?

> Nick: I am a Digital Account Manager with Initiative, one of the leading media agencies in Australia. Initiative is part of IPG Mediabrands, a multinational full-service marketing company.
The easiest way to describe the work we do is “Advertising”, but this a very simplistic view. We work with many large media and publishing houses on behalf of some of the leading brands in the country.
Together with my team, I ensure the marketing campaigns of clients including Industry Superfunds and ME bank, reach the right digital audience at the right time, with maximum impact.

> Lauren: I am the Digital Marketing Manager at Rail Plus. Rail Plus is an Australia and New Zealand specialist rail company that offers worldwide products. So anything from a luxury train journey to the Rocky Mountains to high-speed bullet train passes in Japan.
As the Digital Marketing Manager I oversee the digital marketing strategy. My role covers anything that drives traffic to the website and working to maintain Rail Plus’ brand position as a leading rail product provider.

Why did you choose to study the Master of Management (Marketing)?

> Nick: I originally completed a Bachelor of Business Systems, then did my Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Archaeology because it was a personal passion point and something I truly enjoyed studying.  But I wasn’t keen on continuing down the research path to a PhD to have the opportunity for great success in that field.
After some soul-searching, I came cross the MMM and felt that it represented a good blend of interests, and would allow me to immediately pursue a career in marketing post-degree. It was something I could get my teeth into and learn from.

> Lauren: I studied Science for my undergrad then realised I loved the analytical side of the discipline in 2011. I wanted to do something more creative which used my natural understanding of human psychology, imagination and design aesthetic. I found my answer in marketing; specifically digital marketing.

I felt the profession would combine both my analytical skills (from uncovering customer insights through data-driven analysis, to strategic budget allocation) and creativity (through storytelling, problem-solving, brand messaging and human-centred design). Lauren Devries

What was your experience like as a student in the program?

> Nick: It had its ups and downs. We had some fantastic lecturers and tutors who were always open to alternative thoughts, encouraged discussion among the classes, and were always willing to take the time to engage with the students.
They also had relevant backgrounds in their fields that they were teaching and this was apparent from day one. Extra-curricular activities organised by the faculty and student bodies occurred regularly. There were a lot of very talented students taking the course with me who I was extremely happy to work with, too.

Describe a typical day as a marketing professional

> Lauren: A typical morning for me would start by checking campaign performance or data analysis; I’m always looking to uncover opportunities for future marketing strategies.
After a flat-white, I might move onto launching a destination content campaign incorporating either customer storytelling, staff stories, product inspiration, or an educational piece.  I then need to make decisions about what type of content (articles, video or imagery) would be distributed through each of the chosen channels for that campaign such as search, social, email, print media or key partners.
Post lunch tasks might include setting up advertising campaigns, dictated by the media schedule or from spontaneous opportunities with media partners and then later in the afternoon might involve working with the IT department to enhance the customer experience of our site.

What skills from the program do you apply to your career and daily life?

> Nick: The course gave me a lens which I’ve applied to almost every aspect of my career. Whilst there has only been the odd occasion something directly from the course has come up in my day-to-day work, the mental framework and approach that was developed through the course has proved to be extremely helpful in discussions with clients, internal strategy and in developing an overall sense of confidence. I know what I’m doing.

> Lauren: I actually use a lot of the MMM skills on a daily basis. I still call on the skill-set I gained in marketing strategy and marketing metrics and I really feel that I have progressed faster in my career because of this knowledge. Equally the management training from the degree is something I constantly refer to in order to improve work relationships, staff performance and ensure a great working culture.

What tips can you share for students considering a MM (Marketing)?

Nick:  

  1. Go for it.
  2. Know what your end goal is
  3. Match your career purpose with the learning outcomes from the degree
  4. Be ready for lots of group work
  5. Be prepared for the odd late night finalising assignments
  6. Use the knowledge of the academic staff. They can set you up with great skills

What should graduating students think about when preparing for an interview?

Lauren: 

  1. Research the product and brand vision
  2. View the interviewers Linked In profile
  3. Develop your Situation, Task, Action and Result (STAR) orientated responses to likely questions
  4. At the end of the interview ask whether they have any concerns or further questions regarding the application

Having a masters degree under my belt, set me apart from the crowd of applicants entering my industry of choice. It gave me the confidence to kick-start my career although I didn’t have all the hands-on experience normally required in media buying. Nicholas Topham

Find out more on studying the Master of Management (Marketing) at the University of Melbourne