For many people undertaking Post Graduate Studies at University, time is a bigger investment than the financial. The recent federal budget has proposed changes to University fee structures and HECS which means it could cost you a whole lot more to gain a tertiary degree. However, there has been no conversation around how this may improve your University experience. So this begs the question, would you pay more for a better Post Graduate experience? [click to tweet] I for one would be very happy to pay more if the quality of my experience was improved as a consequence. I have reflected on my own experience and the experiences of many of my peers to collate the following suggestions for Universities who are looking to improve their student’s experience, particularly for Post Graduate Business School Students.
- Playing catch up with the real world – One of the biggest failures for post graduate management courses is that what is being taught is often at least 4 years behind industry best practice. By the time a University researcher identifies an innovative management model or trend, undertakes some research, writes a paper, has the paper peer reviewed, publishes the paper and includes it as a course reading, 4 years may have passed by. This could be even more if we need to wait for the research to be published in a text book. There needs to be a way for best practice to be integrated into lecture content in a more timely manner to ensure it’s still relevant.
- It’s the same content, you’ve just told me it in a different way (again) – Many Australian Universities are currently merging faculties to create “mega faculties” which is similar to most American models. A result of these mergers is duplication and at times contradiction of subject material is occurring causing confusion amongst students. Universities need to implement cross-checking procedures around subject outlines and add disclaimers to highlight if a subject has similar content to any others on offer.
- Group work at uni does not teach us how to be a better manager in the real world, it only makes us resent you as a lecturer – Group work is the least favourite method of learning of every post graduate student yet it seems to be the course co-ordinator’s favourite. This means Universities either don’t read the student feedback forms, or they just don’t care. In ‘the real world’ they claim to be preparing you for, if you need work in a team there is opportunity to develop rapport, engage in some team building and, at the end of the day be remunerated for your contribution. In the ‘University world’ group work means a bunch of strangers being forced together to complete a time intensive assignment whilst juggling other subjects, work and home commitments with the availability of library study rooms. Then there is always the awkward moment where a member of the group drops the ball or fails to turn up meaning the rest of the group has to pick up the slack. In the ‘real world’ they’d be given a warning or sacked – in ‘University world’ they get the group mark and sail on through to the next semester.
- Changes to the schedule – In ‘the real world’ if a meeting time, date or venue changes, we do not just leave a message on the intranet and expect that everyone checks it. It is protocol that if a meeting is changed, especially at short notice that you would do everything you could to contact the other parties by phone, SMS, email to ensure they are not wasting valuable time turning up to something that wasn’t on or had enough time to reschedule other meetings to be able to make a rescheduled time.
- Google and Apple are not the only companies in existence – If I have to sit through one more lecture where the class is subjected to examples of Google and Apple I will be reaching for the hip flask. Please Universities keep it fresh, if your lecturers have been out of the real world for a while, or have never been in it, bring in some guest lecturers who can provide fresh and relevant examples.
We would love to hear your suggestions for how Universities can improve their Post Graduate student experience.