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Opening doors with a Bachelor of Commerce

A Bachelor of Commerce at Sydney University is a great door opener for students. The compulsory subjects you are going to need to do are, Accounting 1A and Accounting 1B, Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Information Systems, Statistics and a senior unit- Business Strategy – then you can pick your major!

You are usually going to have 12 hours in total of classes each week. Usually that consists of 2 hours of lectures for each subject and a 1-hour tutorial for each subject.

When I was finishing school I was interested in the media industry and thought that Communications was going to the best-suited course.  Commerce allowed me to explore this avenue via my marketing major, but did not lock me into a particular industry. I would strongly recommend it as a foundation for anyone looking to enter the media, marketing or communications industry.

The downfall

The marketing curriculum is grounded in a real work context, and so there is a huge emphasis on team building and team assignments. Every marketing subject I completed in the marketing faculty included a heavily weighted group project and presentation. The approach was to build business planning and interaction skills for students – but unless you are happy with your group members, these assignments can be very painful.

What I wish I knew

Read industry publications

The marketing major at Sydney is as fulfilling and challenging as you make it. To do well in marketing you need to quickly realise that course is not ‘general knowledge’. If you cruise through your major thinking that you can drop buzz words like, “building brands”, “managing market perceptions” or any of the 4P’s (price, product, place or promotion) you will never see anything more than a credit.  You need to read, read and read more. Case studies are never few and far between, simply pick up the latest issue of AdNews and have a better grasp for the market trends.

Attend guest speakers

The course is inclusive of amazing, experienced and most importantly interesting guest speakers who have enviable careers. If I had my time again I would not miss a single guest speaker lecture. Students always speak about the importance of obtaining work place experience and how important it is shape your career direction. I completely agree, having worked at a radio station and fashion magazine while at university before starting full time at a television production company. However, the guest speakers at your university are the people running the divisions you will one day work in, they are making the campaign decisions that you will be executing, and they are they people in the jobs that you one day want to have.

Favourite subjects

Both, ‘building and managing brands’ and ‘advertising: creative principles’ were favourites of mine. My advertising tutor previously worked in an agency as a creative director, and his stories and experience were worth their weight in gold. The lectures were not formal and the assessments were never ‘black and white’, but neither is life in a creative advertising agency. The course was great introduction for many.

Managing and growing brands was specifically aligned with case studies, and each week you would study a new business and see it’s success and failures. For anyone who has difficulty aligning the financial success of a business with marketing, this is a great eye opener.

Least favourite subject

New products marketing required students to think of a ‘new product’ (dah) as part of a 60% group assessment. If you get stuck with a product that you have little faith in, it is a hard sell.

Market research (a compulsory 2nd year subject), you need to listen and go to every class. It is comparable to statistics.


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