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Currently: Studying for PhD, Burwood Campus
Yolande de Jong carefully plans and prepares everything. So she researched universities and courses in detail before deciding to move from her Tasmanian home to study commerce at Deakin's Burwood campus. But even Yolande got something she didn't expect with her Deakin degree: an addiction to study!
After deciding during Years 11 and 12 that she wanted to study human resource management, Yolande began researching her tertiary options. 'I could have gone to a Tasmanian uni but the course did not offer great job potential, so I started looking at Melbourne unis,' she explains. 'I heard really good comments about Deakin and my sister was studying commerce/law at Waurn Ponds at the time. I was also very impressed with the information on Deakin's website and marketing brochures - that really swayed me.'
Yolande's diligence paid off as she loved every aspect of her course. So much so that when she finished, she could not bring herself to leave. 'During final year I was doing graduate applications and I couldn't find anything that really appealed to me,' she says. 'I was only 21 and didn't feel ready to work full-time, so I decided to do one more year of study.'
Convinced an Honours year was her best option, Yolande again researched carefully. 'I used the website to see how it was structured and to see what past students had done,' she says. Marketing was her chosen field for the extra year and she soon found herself taking to on-line study like a duck to water. 'I loved the concept of studying online,' she says. 'It is brilliant to be able to talk to people online and have them at your fingertips.'
What Yolande planned as one additional year of study also delivered her quite a surprise: 'I fell in love with research,' she says. 'I am a motivated and disciplined person so I loved being able to be independent and use my own ideas. I realised I wanted to do my PhD.'
Ironically, Yolande says, she not only loves studying online, but the PhD research she has just begun is in online marketing. 'I am researching a combination of brand marketing and online marketing, and looking at the use of social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter,' she says. Yolande has been awarded a Deakin scholarship to complete her research, which she hopes will prove beneficial to companies examining the possible benefits or detriments of social networking to their branding.
Completing Honours was a hard road but has delivered her rewards like no other, Yolande says. 'You have to be willing to give it 110 per cent. But the satisfaction you get on finishing it and the feeling on the day is incredible - something you will never get again.'