Anya completed her Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing (Honours) in 2017 and has since embarked on a PhD in Marketing. We caught up with her to find out what her honours year was like and what advice she’d give to anyone considering honours in Commerce.
What made you decide to continue with honours instead of going out into the workforce?
When I finished my bachelor’s degree, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do next. One of my lecturers talked to me about doing honours and offered to supervise me and I thought, why not!
I actually did my honours degree part time. I know this isn’t very common, but I found it quite nice to have it spread across two years if anyone is on the fence about it being ‘too much’ or if they don’t want to give up a part-time job or something like that. I had a part-time job I had just recently started and I was also tutoring so I ended up doing three of the four units in my first year and some prep-work/background research on my thesis, and then in the second year I focused more on my thesis and did the last unit. This worked really well for me.
What did you write your honours dissertation on?
My thesis was on simplicity in social media. There is so much content online, companies need to know how to get consumers’ attention in between all the clutter.
My thesis focused on creating a framework for how brands can cut through the clutter by simplifying their content on Facebook.
Why would you recommend honours to a third-year Commerce student?
I would definitely recommend honours if you are a high-achieving student. You learn many important skills that you don’t necessarily gain with a bachelor’s degree. You learn to work more autonomously on a bigger project that is your own, as well as gaining important research skills – something I think is applicable to many industries.
An honours degree absolutely sets you apart from other job applicants when going for a graduate position.
I would say my honours degree did a much better job at preparing me for the workplace than just my bachelor’s degree by itself.
What challenges should they be aware of?
It is a step up from the workload you may be accustomed to from an undergraduate degree, and much more intense as you have to do your thesis as well as the assignments for the units.
You have to force yourself to allocate time to work on your thesis, as there is not ‘contact hours’ for this specifically; you just have to do it in your own time. I would not recommend leaving it to the last minute!
Have you heard anything from employers about their perceptions of honours graduates and those without the extra year?
Yes, it makes a big difference. I personally found it much easier to get a job after completing my honours. I ended up at a market research consultancy and almost everyone there has an extra qualification – whether it’s an honours or a master’s.
Thinking about honours?
Find out how to apply for honours and read more about courses available, entry requirements and average starting salaries.