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What is your current employment and your plans for the future?
I am currently working at IBM in the Business Office of one of the company's largest accounts. My role is about ensuring all IBM policies and procedures are followed and reporting to IBM executives and the client about the status of the account. My future plans are to improve my skills in my Business Office role before moving on to other areas of the company (i.e. managerial, technical, or sales focussed) where I can learn gain broader knowledge and skills through new experiences, hopefully leading to an executive role.
Why did you decide to do Honours?
Although my Information Systems undergraduate degree taught me a lot about the interplay between Information Technology and Commerce, I wanted to be able to apply what I had learned through a practical exercise. The honours year also offered me a chance to study an area I was interested in, to gain better research skills, to improve my report writing skills, and to test the waters for a PhD in the future.
What were the career advantages of doing Honours?
After finishing my degree I realised that to stand out from the other graduates applying for the same positions as I was, it would be advantageous to have demonstrated some practical application of what I had learned at Deakin. While I still had to apply for different graduate positions as other new university graduates, I was invited to attend many interviews before finally being offered three graduate roles within the space of two weeks. I have no doubt that my Honours achievements played a major part in me being offered these jobs, particularly one which would have involved researching new technology.
Having spoken to several executives at IBM, I learned that the majority of them have worked in various positions within the company, which they said allowed them to gain a broad understanding of the IT industry and how it operates. I believe undertaking Honours is one way to learn the skills necessary to successfully undertake new roles and responsibilities whenever the chance is given, thus improving one's chances of promotion.
What are the intellectual benefits of Honours?
In the Honours year, you learn the various ways one can conduct research, along with the history and the differences between these approaches. Undertaking Honours teaches you how to create reports in terms of constructing logical arguments based on valid reasoning, data analysis both quantitative and qualitative, and the correct visual presentation. You also learn about the ethical implications of research and why you need to think carefully about how you conduct your research to avoid negatively impacting any research subjects, i.e. the people you have studied.
What was doing Honours like, what was the experience like?
While undertaking Honours required a lot of effort and persistence, the rewards were very much worth it in the end. The freedom to research a topic that interests you and to be able to contribute to the understanding of that topic for the benefit of others is very satisfying. The Honours year allowed me to consult with experienced academics who helped me to better understand the research process and who reinforced the notion that you need to think critically about what you are doing and writing in order for your ideas to stand up to the scrutiny of others.
I would recommend the Honours year for anyone who wishes to improve their chances of landing their dream job or who may be considering a PhD. Either way the Honours year will provide you with knowledge and skills valuable not only for prospective employers but also for your personal growth by improving your ability to achieve your goals.
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