At the time of writing this, Rick is quite literally packing his bags to move across the country and embark on a PhD in Sydney.
As a Bachelor of Commerce in Management (Honours) graduate, he generously took a moment to share his advice to final-year students considering taking an extra honours year.
What made you decide to continue with honours instead of going out into the workforce?
Before starting honours I was debating whether I wanted to start working in the consulting industry or explore potential career pathways in academia. I thought undertaking an honours year would provide some insight into whether or not research was something that interested me. Turns out, I really enjoyed it.
There were several other factors that influenced my decision to undertake an honours year. I think the biggest thing was I found a researcher whose interests aligned with my own genuine curiosity. Plus, I have always been attracted to the autonomy and culture surrounding research.
What did you write your honours dissertation on?
I wrote my dissertation on the flexibility–security relationship in the Australian workplace, with a specific focus on how the ambiguous definitions of flexibility has tangible negative impacts on younger generations transitioning into their professional lives.
There is a common assumption that younger people prioritise flexibility at the expense of job and financial security. I spent my honours year exploring this assumption and the ambiguous nature of the term ‘flexibility’ in the workforce.
Why would you recommend honours to a third-year Commerce student?
Personally, I found honours to be a very rewarding experience. I think if you possess a genuine curiosity and passion for the subject matter in your degree, honours can be amazing. Don't get me wrong, it is a LOT of hard work but profoundly rewarding.
I think there is also an argument to be made that the quantitative and qualitative research component of the honours coursework develop skills that are becoming increasingly desired by employers.
What challenges should they be aware of?
Well, first off, you will have no idea what you are doing for the first few weeks and that is perfectly okay. I think overcoming and being comfortable with that level of ambiguity will help you succeed in an honours year and mitigate a lot of unnecessary stress. Also, make sure you really like what you are researching – it makes the year a lot more fun!
I am pretty sure anyone thinking of doing an honours year will hear this phrase a lot: ‘Time management is incredibly important.’ Please, don't brush this statement off. If you don't want to be the living incarnation of stress and anxiety you must prioritise time management.
Thinking about honours?
Find out how to apply for honours and read more about courses available, entry requirements and average starting salaries.