Wish you had someone to shine a light on all your need to know as a postgraduate student? RMIT alumni Mark Buzza and David Mejia-Canales are here to help.
Mark Buzza and David Mejia-Canales credit their postgraduate study with getting their careers to the successful stage they’re at now. Buzza, who studied a Master of Business Administration (Executive), is the Global Director of Biomedical Research Programs at the Movember Foundation, a leading international men’s health charity. Mejia-Canales, a Juris Doctor graduate, is an advisor for the Victorian Government.
The two inspiring alumni share their top five tips for successful study.
1. Start out slow and then build up.
“I tested the water with one subject initially, just to see if I liked the program and to determine if I could realistically fit the new study regime around work and other commitments,” Buzza said.
“Once I knew I wanted to go all the way and get my MBA, I then jumped to two subjects at a time.”
Mejia-Canales, who says he learned this lesson the hard way, recommends new students pace themselves before committing to a heavier study load.
“A lot of people bite off more than they can chew and that’s never good particularly with studying law,” he said.
“I did that and it was almost the end of me, taking four subjects while also working full-time. That was a very dumb thing to do.”
2. Choose electives wisely.
There’s little to be gained from studying electives you have zero interest in or that you think will be easy. Select electives that will complement your study and career goals.
“Choose electives that really interest you and that you think will help you to round out your skillset,” Buzza said.
“For example, I did a couple of subjects relating to Biotechnology and Innovation through a faculty linked to, but outside the RMIT College of Business.”
3. Treat it like an investment
Viewing study as a serious investment of time and effort makes a difference to your results, explains Mejia-Canales.
“It’s not just study - it’s study at a masters level, so there’s a lot more expected of you,” he said.
“The way you approach it is a bit like managing a project that goes for three years. It has a start and a finish, there’s a bit of budget and you need to allocate your time and resources to that.”
4. See group assignments as networking opportunities
The words “group assignment” are guaranteed to be met with eyerolls. But you would be surprised how the connections you make will be handy later in your career, Buzza explains.
“Know that in retrospect the Collaborative Learning Network (CLN) groups are actually really great experience for working in multi-disciplinary teams as you progress in your career,” he said.
“They are also great ways to expand your network which is invaluable in the long term.
To this day I’m still very good friends with people I worked with in my CLNs.”
5. Join affiliate associations or societies
You’re in the same boat as many others, so grab an oar! Becoming a member of one of RMIT’s associations or societies will mean support is never far away.
“I was really involved with the RMIT Law Students Society,” Mejia-Canales said.
“Law is a bit like learning a different language and you’re not going to learn it without someone to bounce questions off. You have to do it as a group and the University wants you to succeed, and there are so many resources to enable you to do that.
“Getting networked with other people who are going through the same thing is fundamental.”
Story: Kate Jones