Graduate's view

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 12 January, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 12 January, 2008, 12:00am

The management programme 'gave me a wealth of insight and new skills that I wouldn't have received simply from independent study'

Lillian Lee, senior marketing and communications manager for CPA Australia, Hong Kong China division, is a graduate with a master of management from the Macquarie Graduate School of Management

In my work, time management and communication skills are of the utmost importance. I took the General Management programme to hone these skills as well as to broaden my business knowledge, and I now manage a team that has doubled in size since my days as a young manager before my degree.

As the team leader of our member services and promotion group, I oversee the marketing and communications strategy in Hong Kong and the mainland, as well as provide training and networking activities for members of CPA Australia.

The programme gave me the skills to handle these tasks better through its interactive activities and creative instructors. The leadership and motivation course, for example, was conducted by a particularly charismatic lecturer who manages his own team of more than 100 people. His innovative teaching methods forced us to step out of our comfort zone and feel at ease as part of the team. This was an especially important learning experience because we, as managers, are responsible for helping our employees through the same process.

The lecturer stressed the fact that there was no one particular method that could be applied to every situation and so insisted that we try several scenarios through simulation and role-play activities.

The accounting course was surprisingly challenging for me, in that it was quite different from the number crunching I was used to during my undergraduate degree. For the master's programme, we learned how to use figures and numbers to make proposals to manage business decisions, such as whether they should open up new factories or halt new product lines.

Apart from the new skills that I picked up, the programme also provided me with invaluable networking opportunities. I was exposed to people from a variety of relevant industries and a range of employees from all levels of the corporate ladder. There were a number of high-ranking managers there, as well as entrepreneurs and even people just looking for a career change. Studying with them in such close proximity helped broaden the scope of people I knew, while giving me a bigger picture of how the industry works.

The face-to-face nature of the programme, as opposed to independent study alternatives, made the essential interaction between the lecturer and student possible. This way, it's not just a matter of getting through the course material. With a lecturer present there were no limits to the questions and discussions that inevitably arise, and the student came away with a richer and more thorough education.

Coming from an industry that frequently deals with overseas markets, I particularly appreciated the international element that many programme electives had. As students we gained a considerable amount of international exposure through courses that educated us in different work cultures and strategies, which has undoubtedly proven to be vital in our careers.

By the end of the general management programme, I gained a wealth of insight and new skills that I wouldn't have received simply from independent study.

The classroom interaction and innovative learning activities provided me with life lessons that I may apply in the workplace and in my personal life.