Ken Pillai transitioned from taking briefs as a graphic designer to leading strategic marketing campaigns for a global consulting firm after completing a Master of Commerce at RMIT.
Marketing Coordinator, RMIT University
Soon after graduating from the Master of Commerce, I landed a role at the global consulting firm Accenture, working in the Digital Marketing department. This was just the kind of role I'd wanted, in an organisation that I really admired.
I started my career as a Bachelor of Design graduate from RMIT. Although I enjoyed the creative side of graphic design, I soon realised I wanted to drive the marketing strategy behind the concepts, rather than bringing other people’s ideas to life.
I learnt a lot in those early working years, but I knew I wanted more. My goal was to work for a global consulting firm, so I looked into postgraduate opportunities to step up to the next level in my career.
I researched a number of marketing programs at different unis and in the end I chose the Master of Commerce at RMIT because I could tailor the program to my exact needs. I majored in marketing but also got to choose all my electives, so I could cover the subjects I needed to land my ideal job.
As a postgraduate student, studying whilst working could be challenging, but it gave my education real context and meaning because I could use a lot of what I was learning in real time every day in my job.
When you’re an undergraduate student, so often your study choices can be influenced by your parents and even your friends. But when you make that decision to go back to study after working for some time, I think you feel more empowered because it’s your own choice.
I was a bit daunted at first. Especially starting midyear. I felt like I’d be out of sync, left behind, but I was surprised to find a lot of people just like myself, juggling study and work. I think we really bonded, knowing that we were all making sacrifices in our personal lives to create a better future for ourselves. It made all the late study nights and weekends worth it. I’m still really good mates with a lot of people I studied with.
I found the mix of students in my classes a huge benefit. We’d get a range of levels in each study group and I got to mix with executives and learn from their skills and experience. It was really great for networking too.
Soon after graduating from the Master of Commerce, I landed a role at the global consulting firm Accenture, working in the Digital Marketing department. This was just the kind of role I'd wanted, in an organisation that I really admired. I worked on large projects with global clients from a range of industries. It was an amazing learning experience and it set me up for the rest of my career.
I went on to work for RMIT as a Marketing Coordinator and I love the work life balance I have here. As an alumnus, I also mentor students, which is really rewarding. There’s a great support network for students at RMIT, so you always have someone to reach out to.
What advice would I give someone thinking about starting at RMIT midyear? Don’t wait. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll get where you want to go. And you won’t be alone. Everyone’s in the same boat, learning how to juggle study, work and their social lives.
Story: Jocelyn Allen.