Cooping himself up in a university for four years was the last thing on Safith Mohanan’s mind, when he could have been moulding his career path.
However, a few months into his job at a media agency, Mr Mohanan, 24, soon realised the importance of further education and decided to invest a year of his time in pursuing a Bachelor of Arts (Mass Communication) degree.
Wanting a shorter yet well-rounded degree programme, Mr Mohanan chose Curtin University Singapore. He felt that there were shorter breaks in between the trimesters so more time could be spent learning. He was also attracted to its good reputation.
As Mr Mohanan previously studied Media Studies and Management in Nanyang Polytechnic, he was exempted from certain modules and as a result was able to receive his degree within a year in 2014.
Mr Mohanan, who is now a Marketing Executive at NBC Universal, learned that some skills cannot be picked up on the job.
“I was under the assumption that everything could be learnt from experience, but I was wrong,” he said. “Analytical and strategic decisions have to be learnt from experienced scholars in order to apply them in a business environment.”
Curtin University Singapore is an offshore-campus of the largest Western Australian university. Courses taught at the Singapore campus use the same structure and unit curriculum as those offered at the main campus.
Its Mass Communication programme is broad-based and includes marketing, research and journalism, which Mr Mohanan feels has helped him in his current job.
For example, working in an international firm now, Mr Mohanan has to realise that not all consumers think the same way.
“The marketing modules that I went through taught me to analyse consumer behaviour with varying demographics, and how to apply the right type of strategies to appeal to the mass,” said Mr Mohanan.
Similarly, the journalism modules armed Mr Mohanan with the skill to carefully craft messages to the specific audience, which he does now on a daily basis.
Lecturers make the difference
Initially, Mr Mohanan wanted to quickly get through the year-long course and move on with his career. But it turned out that it was very fruitful year – where he met some of his closest friends and gained knowledge from experienced lecturers.
The lecturers are Curtin were not just academics, but were people who had plenty of related experience in the media industry. Some even had their own successful businesses.
Even though the various lecturers engaged the students differently, Mr Mohanan felt that they had one thing in common – they were all very approachable and personable, so that students were more comfortable in asking questions.
Another quality that stood out to Mr Mohanan was how even though the lessons were crafted by the Australian campus in their own national context, the lecturers at Curtin University Singapore gave Asian examples and case studies so that the local students could relate to it better.
Projects as preparation
Some of the projects that Mr Mohanan felt prepared him for working life included creating strategic marketing plans and international marketing plan for a chosen company or product, and attending an actual court case to write an article.
“There were times when project work may have seemed too overwhelming, but being in the actual working environment now seems like a breeze after having gone through all that,” said Mr Mohanan.