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Sydney transforms Master of Commerce to prepare students for future of work

28 April 2020
Global logistics, data analytics among 8 specialisations on offer
The University of Sydney Business School has transformed the Master of Commerce, with a greater focus on core skills that will be in-demand in future workplaces.

Commencing in semester one 2021, the new program gives students access to eight specialisations to build their skills in areas such as global logistics, data analytics and digital transformation underpinned by the core principles of responsible management and innovation.

Professor Greg Whitwell, Dean of the Business School, said: “Our students come from over 130 countries around the world and bring with them significant experiences and perspectives that add to the rich academic and cultural life at the University of Sydney Business School.

“From our work-integrated learning to specialised streams of study, our students graduate with skills in responsible management that will benefit them in their future careers no matter where in the world they work.”

Consultation with industry key to program redesign

As part of the program redesign, the university conducted a survey of over 300 industry practitioners, including those who work at some of the world’s biggest brands, to identify what skills they value in graduates entering the workforce.

Program Director of the Master of Commerce, Associate Professor Teresa Davis, said, “It was clear that employers need graduates to not only have the technical know-how, but also the creative and innovative agility needed for solving complex problems in rapidly shifting contexts.”

Students walk into the Abercrombie Business School at the University of Sydney's Camperdown/Darlington campus.

Students walk into the Abercrombie Business School at the University of Sydney's Camperdown/Darlington campus.

While the comprehensive review of the Master of Commerce was conducted last year, Associate Professor Davis said the coronavirus outbreak and its devastating impact on many in the workforce highlights the importance of learning core skills to navigate industry wide disruption.

“In an increasingly volatile world, graduates will need to be adaptable and dynamic across many aspects of business. It’s these core skills that will help cushion our graduates against major market shocks,” explained Associate Professor Davis.

Students enrolled in the new 18-month Master of Commerce will have the opportunity to choose one specialisation while those studying the two-year Master of Commerce (Extension) can choose two from eight different specialisations. Scholarships will also be awarded to eligible applicants in both programs.

Students equipped with work and industry experience

The emphasis on work-integrated learning units in the program was guided by input from current Master of Commerce students and alumni from the 70,000-strong global network.

Jessie Huang came to study the Master of Commerce at Sydney from Canada in 2016 and completed an industry placement program with a cosmetics company in Sydney.

“The program provided opportunities for me to not only gain practical experience in my area of study, but also to network and build relationships with business contacts within the company and industry,” she said. 

“It helped my gain firsthand experience in applying my learning to real-life projects and helped me to secure a position at the company after graduation.”

Our bespoke work-integrated learning units are designed to develop and master key employability skills for our graduates.
Associate Professor Rachael Hains-Wesson

Both postgraduate courses allow eligible applicants to complete an industry placement program. These include self-sourced and local placements as well as international options in China and the United States, once travel restrictions lift. The new program will also offer several in-kind fast-tracked short work/industry placement opportunities to select students with key industry partners.

With digital ways of working set to be critical in a post-coronavirus environment, students participating in work-integrated learning units will develop highly valued skills through wholly online placements and industry-linked group based business practicums.

Director of the Work-Integrated Learning Hub, Associate Professor Rachael Hains-Wesson, said: “Our bespoke work-integrated learning units, which are a key part of the new Master of Commerce, are designed to develop and master key employability skills for our graduates along with the work experience they’ll need to thrive for their career pathways, while delivering tangible benefits to our partner organisations and communities.”

Professor Whitwell added that the redesign of the program demonstrates the School’s commitment to equipping students with real-world industry experiences underpinned by an excellent academic offering.

“Our aim is always to deliver a truly transformational education. We are proud of the way our world-class teachers and researchers bring exceptionally designed courses to life, embedding creative and analytics skills in our responsible business graduates as they enter the workforce,” said Professor Whitwell.

This year the QS Graduate Employability Rankings named University of Sydney graduates the most employable in Australia.

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