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The benefits of Commerce Honours: Ivan's story

18/01/2021 |

Ivan completed his Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and Management (Honours) in 2018 and is now an account executive at Perth market research company Painted Dog Research.

He shares below his experiences in honours, the benefits for employment prospects and some of the challenges to be aware of. 


Ivan ZhangWhat made you decide to continue with honours instead of going out into the workforce?

After completing my two majors in Marketing and Management at UWA, I was still quite lost in terms of where I wanted to take my career. I had things I was passionate about and units which particularly resonated with me, but I honestly felt like I needed more experience and time before I decided what I wanted to do.

Research wasn’t something I had considered previously, but the honours program seemed like an exciting opportunity for me to learn more about the specific areas that interest me and better understand different research methodologies and design, conduct research and deliver interesting findings.

What did you write your honours dissertation on?

My thesis title was 'The Relationship Between Motivational Regulation and Social Comparison on Self-Identity and Physical Activity: The Case of Young Adults in Australia' and was based on a social issue which I was, and still am, really passionate about.  I wanted to provide actionable insights with my findings and better understand the internal and external drivers of physical activity in young Australians.

Why would you recommend honours to a third-year Commerce student? Honours was an amazing learning experience and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who is unsure about enrolling. The course is challenging and demanding but teaches you so much about the research world and gives you first-hand experience in designing your own research project, collecting data and analysing it to draw out important insights. 
If you have something you’re passionate about or have an interest in academic research, honours would be my first step in learning more about that specific area.  

What challenges should they be aware of?

The honours course is super fast-paced and was much more challenging than the undergraduate course. It forces you to manage your time and juggle different classes and assignments while independently chipping away at your final thesis submission. 

While you have a supervisor and classmates who can help guide you, you’re the only person who can write your thesis and it’s so easy to fall behind. I definitely didn’t anticipate how much work was behind the course but you quickly learn how to work through this workload.

Have you heard anything from employers about their perceptions of honours graduates and those without the extra year?

Being an honours graduate definitely sets you apart from others in your cohort and my employers have said that postgraduate learning is a major bonus. Many of them know the honours course at UWA is challenging and honestly quite life-changing in terms of developing your work ethic, time-management, attention to detail and so much more. 

I know almost all of my cohort were employed straight after completing their honours in a range of jobs within the public and private sectors.

While the course content was extremely important in teaching us more about research, it also gives you practical experience which can then be applied to the workforce – and that’s what really sets you apart from someone coming straight out of an undergrad.


Thinking about honours?

Find out how to apply for honours and read more about courses available, entry requirements and average starting salaries.

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