Master of Management (HR) student Patricio Vergara Ortega took on the newly remote Global Business Practicum and learned lessons that will last a lifetime.
Since starting in the Master of Management (Human Resources), I’ve looked forward to undertaking the Global Business Practicum (GBP) and gaining international experience. However, the COVID-19 pandemic changed my plans as a graduate student. I was initially disappointed that so many opportunities had to be held online in lieu of in-person experiences. It was during a time of personal reflection when I decided not to give up on pursuing opportunities which would add value to my professional journey.
The University rapidly adapted to the ‘new normal’, offering remote learning options that would help develop students’ skills. When applications opened for the GBP, I did not hesitate in applying. Without question, the GBP has been one of the most rewarding experiences I have had at Melbourne Business School. I have worked with talented people and gained valuable insights and practical experience, while at the same time experiencing – in a very real way – the future of work and workplaces.
My GBP experience started with an online meeting, where I met my teammates and learnt about our client’s and project goals. I felt privileged to be part of a talented and diverse team and was enthusiastic about collaborating with them on a project for GHD, a global professional services company.
One of the challenges of the remote experience was the time difference. My team needed to arrange meetings with an eleven-hour gap between London and Melbourne. Our meetings and final presentation had to be conducted in the afternoon, so our client in London had to be available at 7am.
Another potential challenge for students is team dynamics. The subject requires that every team perform at a high standard in a limited timeframe. I was fortunate that my team members were respectful and trusted in each other, so we could action tasks autonomously. Members were based in Melbourne, so we were fortunately able to meet in-person. I was impressed by how much we achieved during our three weeks together. Forming a good team goes beyond completing the project – we connected through enjoying an exquisite Italian dinner, thanks to a teammate. For most of us, this was our first in-person meeting after being in lockdown which made it special.
Due to the remote nature of the GBP, there was constant dialogue between my team, the subject coordinator and our client regarding our business challenge. The subject was vastly different to traditional subjects, as it provided a real business scenario requiring my team to negotiate and manage discussions effectively.
I want to thank our client, GHD’s Executive Director for the UK, Europe and the Middle East. He gave us valuable feedback and encouraged us to think outside the box. It was a privilege to be analysing a global company’s strategy and see them care about people and their communities. I also appreciate the feedback and guidance provided by the GBP Subject Coordinator, who made herself available to answer questions and acknowledge my team’s progress.
The Master of Management (Human Resources) provides specialist training in human resource management, while also covering a broad spectrum of management activities, including people management, motivating and rewarding employees, dealing with stakeholders, data analysis and HR policy development.
Most of my experiences as a HR professional were pre-COVID-19, when working from home wasn’t the norm. I can’t believe how much the world has changed since I started my graduate studies and how those changes are still evolving. The GBP was a great way to demonstrate my adaptability, resilience, and positive mindset, which are valued skills by employers.
I am pleased to have been part of the GBP remote cohort. I would certainly recommend this subject to students as it will allow them to experience another way of functioning and understanding how industries globally are facing a major disruption of our time.
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