5 Electives That Will Prepare You For Any Career Path

In the world of graduate studies, we all have one eye on our first job out of Uni. When you reach your final two semesters at MBS where you can take electives, graduation is in sight. Most of us only have three electives, so choosing the right ones to benefit your career is critical.

So how do you know what’s the right elective for your career? Those of us going into highly specialised fields know the electives that will benefit them the most, but for those of us (like myself) with more genera business ambitions, there’s a simple way to answer that daunting question. The answer is that some electives will give you tools to thrive in any career path. The list below are some of the MBS elective courses that we think can prepare young professionals for years to come.

1 - Managing Innovation & Entrepreneurship

Technology is changing our world at a rapid pace. That’s a fact. Whatever organisation you enter, innovation will be at the heart of it. Blue-chip companies and startups are both scrambling to align their personnel and systems to foster innovation. . Understanding the innovation cycle from a project or product management point of view is a skill that will be beneficial at many stages in the career arc. Managing Innovation & Entrepreneurship “is concerned with the capability to effectively introduce new products and services, new or substantively improved processes or other major initiatives into existing and new organisations.” according to the Melbourne University Handbook.

Furthermore, many of our Uni colleagues are entrepreneurial in nature, with plans for their own businesses. Learning how to harness innovation is crucial for entrepreneurs, and this course can help set you on your way if that’s your aim. No matter where your career takes you, an entrepreneurial mindset you're going to need (if we're to prevent robots from taking our jobs).

2 - Digital Business & Marketing

For those students interested in careers in marketing, DBAM this class is a must. The digital business transformation is fully upon us, and a fluency in its terminology is going to benefit students from all disciplines. For marketers, it covers relevant topics that will help prepare you for your first career in the industry. It’s a great starting point to spark your interest in specific areas like Search Engine Marketing, Search Engine Optimisation, Website Design & online consumer behaviour.

But this class covers more than just marketing concepts, it’s fundamentally based around the business models of internet-based marketing. So whether you want to be a business developer or an entrepreneur, the business side of this class is going to be a great anchoring point for your career. According to the handbook, “It analyses the economic, social, and technological opportunities and challenges presented by internet-based marketing."

3 - Brand Management

As humans and consumers we are bombarded by brand messages all day, but do we really know how what goes into the strategy behind these brands? No matter what company you work for or with, there is a brand attached to that name. Brand Management is going to help lift the curtain and give you insights to the way brands are created. For those who want to be strategists or consultants, this course, “explains how to analyse industries, make changes in brand strategies over time, and respond to competitive moves.” And if you’re an entrepreneur with your own brand, it would definitely make sense to understand how to create a strong brand.

4 - Leadership and Team Dynamics

At this stage in your MBS journey, you know how valuable Leadership & Team Dynamics can be in a group setting. We do multiple group projects a semester and we’ve all been in an underperforming group at this point. And while we all have some implicit understanding of what makes a good leader or team in our minds, this class will help crystallise those ideas. The leadership & team dynamics course, “focus will be on critically evaluating the roles of leaders in organisations with high involvement work practices and the role of HR practices in identifying and developing organisational leaders.”

This is an extremely relevant topic in today’s world as our world globalises, millenials step in to their careers, and leadership expectations change. Whether your desire is to be a social entrepreneur, a senior partner at a consulting firm, or a marketing manager, leadership and teamwork are going to be crucial parts of your career journey. Better to learn about those dynamics now. Given our international cohort of classmates and the variety of leadership styles we've been exposed to, this class surely will facilitate lively discussion.

5 - Asian Business & Management

We are living in what some people have dubbed, “the asian century”. This is due to the evolution of emerging markets in Asia that will rise during this century. Possessing a sound understanding of these countries is critical whether you grew up in the region or not. Asian Business & Management is a great starting point for this. Learning about the “economic, cultural & institutional perspectives” of these Asian nations can help people going into many fields. Studying in Australia gives us a great advantage in the connection we have in the APAC region, and it'd be a waste to leave Melbourne University without gaining a better understanding. Whatever organisation you work for, interaction and business dealings with firms from Asian nations is going to be the new normal, if not already. This class is fast-paced and also fosters interesting discussion.