For the last ten years, the Melbourne Business Practicum has given Melbourne Business School (MBS) students the opportunity to go beyond the university walls and experience the professional world of their city. Now, for the first time, the program has expanded to Sydney, with a fresh collection of companies and partner organisations opening their doors to a practicum cohort. We caught up with Jessica Darmanin, one of the first students to take up this new, interstate opportunity.
When the opportunity to take her experience and learning on the road came along, applying to MBS’s new Business Practicum offering in Sydney wasn’t a question for Master of Management (Marketing) student Jessica Darmanin.
“Our group was assigned to Publicis Media, a holding company that oversees five media planning and buying agencies. Publicis Media is one of four solutions hubs under the Publicis Groupe Umbrella. There is also Publicis Health, Publicis Sapient and Publicis Communication, which are designed to harness 'the power of one' and work on a global and domestic scale.”
The assignment to Publicis Media also aligned perfectly with Jessica’s background, with her studies, and her experience as Marketing Director at the Melbourne Business School Student’s Association (MBSSA). The Business Practicum subject is an intensive work integrated learning subject which sees small teams of students work on a consulting project for a real company and present their findings.
“I was really excited to be assigned to a media company, it gave me a chance to tap into my creativity, and left me feeling incredibly driven. I’ll admit I was a little worried that I’d end up in a strictly finance role when I applied for the Practicum. Ultimately, the role will determine what you do, but it’s always interlaid. There will always be marketing roles in a finance company or finance roles in a marketing agency. You get to understand the complexity of how a company operates from a unique perspective,” she says. “Publicis Media was a fantastic place to undertake the project, they were incredibly inclusive. Our supervisor, Scott, organised meetings for us with a lot of the key figures there, people like the Chief Talent Officer and the Head of Finance. At the same time we were sitting next to Scott in the office, so day-to-day he would be introducing us to people as they passed by, and there was never any hesitation or reluctance when it came to answering our questions, we could just turn to him and have a chat.”
The Master of Management (Marketing) provides foundation training in a variety of business and management disciplines, with specialist training in marketing. This course is about the means by which organisations attract and retain customers, including aspects of marketing, strategy, customer behaviour, branding, and international marketing.
The choice to undertake the Practicum in Sydney also gave Jessica the opportunity to connect with other program students, not only from her team but from the entire cohort.
“It’s a challenging experience. You’re living in the CBD, immersed in this whole new world. But at the same time, you’re there experiencing it with all these other Melbourne students. You all live in the same apartment building, so we would walk to work together, and we had a couple of dinners, and we did manage to squeeze in a few touristy things. My friend and I did the bridge climb, which was incredible.” Speaking with Jessica, the excitement she feels reflecting on this experience comes through tangibly in her words. It gives her final sign off – words of wisdom for prospective practicum students – that much more of an impact.
“It’s the best thing I’ve done for my personal and professional growth so far. It’s a really rare thing to get both out of one experience. You’ll meet awesome people, find out what you’re capable of, and walk away feeling energised which is the best feeling in the world when you’re at the end of your degree and are jumping into your career.”
For partner organisation interested in undertaking a business practicum cohort, there’s also no shortage of value gained, as illustrated by Jessica’s supervisor, Scott Ramsay. “Having Jess, Yiji, Freya and Gihan on board really showed the value of bringing in new perspectives. In just a couple weeks they were able to digest a complex problem we were having in our business and produce a great foundation for us to begin to build a solution. I look forward to working with MBS and the practicum in the future, but I tell you what, Jess and the team have set a high bar!”
The MBS Business Practicum is a unique, in company learning experience, that gives students the opportunity to discover the business practices and culture of a company first hand. This subject is often referred to by students as a highlight of the MBS experience, that has equipped them with real-world skills, and helped them to begin building a professional network.