Last week was rather long. Apologies for not posting a day-by-day update, but I was rather inundated with non blogging related things. All in all, it was a lot of fun, and I’ve learnt an awful lot about marketing. I’ve learnt so much about marketing, that I’ve come to realise that I don’t actually know that much about marketing at all. I’ve learnt that marketing is a (supremely) integral part of any business, I’ve learnt some things about accounting, and most importantly, I’ve learnt that marketing isn’t at all what you think of it. In fact, it’s not really what anyone thinks of it. It’s quite hard to define what marketing actually is. From my perspective, it’s an amalgamation of various business functions, all catered to give customers a more pleasant experience in dealing with said business. But what do I know?
I had Wednesday off, which I was very relieved about. I spent it not really doing anything at all, except catching up on reading (Trainspotting) and gaming (The Secret of Monkey Island: SE), and also catching up on sleep. The early starts really bothered me at the beginning of the week, but I’m quite enjoying waking up to see the sun rise over Broadlands Road, but it does mean that I’m going to sleep earlier to compensate, and that I can’t really stay up late as a result. Ho-hum.
Thursday was a lot of fun. I had my first ‘Introduction to Marketing’ lecture, which was pretty inspiring, in which I found out many of the truths I revealed above. My course director, who takes the unit, sounds like quite a cool guy, who’s very experienced with this marketing business. He’s the man responsible for turning Coke from glass to plastic bottles! The lecture was quite long: three and a half hours in total, I think, but it was broken up in such a way that it never really seemed too boring. It’s a far shout from Humanities lectures, which unfortunately were sometimes a little too one-sided, where you were simply talked at for an hour, or two. I’m not complaining, as seminars were used to feed back and discuss ideas. The lecture was an overview of marketing, in general, but at many points throughout the session, we were asked questions, and made to answer! I started off thinking of these only as purely rhetorical, as is the case in most lectures, but soon realised that our lecturer was expecting an answer. I think this is one way of compensating for the fact that we don’t actually seem to have any seminars – at all. It certainly made the lecture go faster, however, and helped keep us all engaged. The lecture was also broken up by many real-life business stories, or ‘case studies’. Right from the start, I’m seeing how what I’m learning can be applied to business practice, which is brilliant.
After this, we had a short break, before having to go and pick up our new ID cards. To be brutally honest, I’m not a huge fan of the new student cards. They seem a bit more drab than the old-style of card I’m used to, but that could possibly just be because I’m so attached to the university dolphin. I miss the dolphin. 😦
I also completed my first assignment on Thursday night, which I think is very productive of me, even though it was due on Friday. It was 500 words on why marketers must ‘delight’ their customers, but I continually found myself going over and editing what I had, as I wasn’t happy with it. That being said, the essays seem a lot more ‘straightforward’, and mostly common sense, which is something I occasionally lack in. Good to start learning now, then, eh? No, the assignments seem very much to be about doing the reading, and then, with this in mind, writing the assignment. I was initially terrified of using a new referencing style, but actually, Harvard seems to be a lot simpler (and quicker) than MHRA, although MHRA does appear as if it’d be more helpful to someone either marking or reading the essay. I also got my second assignment during the lecture on Thursday, which is a case study, of sorts, of a soap company. This sounds mental, but I’m actually looking forward to it.
Friday quite simply involved handing in my work (which was a little tedious) and attending a library induction, and finding out about all of the business resources we can use. It’s absolutely remarkable how much stuff we can get our hands on, from full access to the NexisUK database, to the ‘Keynote’ marketing database. It’s quite scary that I can, as it stands, pull up financial information on any registered company, but I’m sure this will come in handy as I start working on more assignments.
I’m looking forward to starting the course ‘properly’, although I kind of have already. I have ‘Accounting and Control’ first thing tomorrow, and I’m not actually dreading it as much as I originally thought. As always, I’ll keep you updated. Wish me luck.
Getting up at 7:30 was incredibly hard, so much so that I rolled around in bed for half an hour, trying to fight the urge to go back to sleep. In the end, I succeeded, and got up and proceeded to prepare myself for the day ahead. Last night was rather long. Suffice to say, I didn’t get much sleep, and the prospect of waking up early for a lecture in ‘Essay Writing Skills’ was not so tempting.
Eventually, I managed to pull myself to uni, once again, and strolled into the lecture theatre, where I was met by Christo, who seemed to have a rather bad case of the sniffles. The lecture began, and we were eventually informed that graduates of UK universities could be excused from the lecture. That meant me, but I had gone through such an ordeal to get myself to the lecture, that I decided I might as well stay. What followed was what I can only describe as a game show, where we were given ‘zappers’, asked various questions about language, and essay writing, and were asked to ‘zap’ in our answers, where they were collated and displayed in the Powerpoint presentation that accompanied the lecture. The lecture, in all, was quite long. After lots of ‘game show’ type questions, we were sent out for a break, to read over and ‘mark’ an essay, in groups, before returning to share our findings with other groups. During the break, I asked Christo if he was ill, as he’d been sniffing a lot during the lecture. He turned to me, and said, instantly, “It’s not swine flu.” Fair enough.
After we regrouped and discussed what we had found, and after a slightly confusing explanation of the Harvard referencing system, thanks to some apparently outdated handouts, we were allowed out for lunch, which I used to mingle with my newly made friends, including Fahad, who’s from Saudi Arabia, Aminia (hah!) from Romania, Tsunda (sp, for sure), from Nigeria, and Bilal who is from Jordan, who I think looks remarkably similar to Niko Bellic, protagonist of GTA IV. If I’m honest, I’m actually amazed as to how culturally and geographically diverse the course intake is. In the past couple of days, I’ve met people from all around the world, found out about numerous different cultures, and generally had a great time finding out where people are from.
I think I’m going to really enjoy this course, and enjoy this year. It’s going to be nothing at all like last year, but the more I hear about the subject, the more it intrigues me. I’ve been looking at the blog of one of the marketing lecturers, and it talks about the importance of making the most of, and bolstering your own personal brand. Intriguing stuff. I fear that said bolstering of said brand will have to wait until tomorrow, however, as I am absolutely, completely, and totally knackered. Bring on tomorrow.
I was very, very scared, as I scrambled to university this morning. Not only was I to be starting a Masters degree, but a Masters degree in a subject field of which I have little to no experience. More than that, I’d lost the letter I was sent with my induction pack, notifying me of where exactly I needed to be to take part in induction arrangements, as well as what time I needed to be there. Off to a great start, clearly.
I found my way to the School of Management building, and enquired at the office where I was meant to be going. I’d gone in at 9am, just to be safe. I was told I needed to go to the Physics building, and that I was two hours early. Just to double-check (I was feeling particularly mistrusting this morning) I went to the Physics building, and was then told I needed to be there at 10:30, and not 11:00. Aha, a cunning feat of deception in order to make me late!
Having nothing much to do, I decided to take advantage of the geographical proximity of my house to the Highfield campus, and go home and watch Scrubs. It’s the first day of Freshers’ Week, but the freshers were nowhere to be seen, at least not that early.
I returned to uni at the correct time, and was made to queue for registration behind a collective of Asians. I made a friend in the queue called Jim (English name, I presume) who was visiting England for the first time, and had only been here for six months. After registration, we shuffled into a large lecture theatre where I’d had some of my undergraduate lectures, and where I believe I was taken to on my open day, back in the days before university. We sat down, and I introduced myself to those around me. I met Sultan (sp) who’s from Saudi Arabia, visiting England for the first time, also, Isabella, who is originally Polish, but has been here for six years, and did her first degree in Languages at Southampton. I also met Andrew, who’s a burly fellow from Latvia, who complemented me on my hair, and told me I look like the frontman for a rock band, and Gwen, who’s also just come from China.
We sat around chatting for maybe an hour or so, before what turned out to be quite an intense day of induction lectures began. We were introduced to the major players of the School of Management, told about its reputation, and various other things of interest. Apparently, the head of the School has a great interest in trains. After this, we were dismissed for an hour, which I spent walking around campus meeting old friends, before having lunch with Seb, who is 22 today. By this time, the freshers had shown themselves, and I was swamped by promotions staff, who felt it necessary to throw leaflets at me, as well as complement me on my hair, which was far nicer.
After lunch, I journeyed back to the School of Management building, descended into its icy depths and received another lecture, this time by the marketing staff. Before it began, I met Christo, who’s from Bulgaria, and is apparently “100% Bulgarian”. He’s been here for a year, and he’d spent most of the time working, although he had also taken a prerequisite English course over the summer. As a result, he had already made a lot of friends, who he gladly introduced me to.
The lecture itself then began, and was this time focused more on my degree, and also its sister counterpart in Marketing Analytics. Again, we met the team of tutors and directors who I imagine are going are to be a big part of my life over the next year. The course itself sounds fantastic, although I couldn’t help feeling just a bit way over my head. The director of my course explained, very simply, that marketing has evolved over time. He started off by mentioning the names of what I can imagine are famous marketers. I shrank into my seat a little, not having a clue of who they are, despite sounds of agreement from the rest of my peers. To my relief, he said that they are all “a load of rubbish”, as they’re now outdated. He showed us diagrams of what marketing once was, compared to what it is now, and even to a novice like myself, the difference was clear to see. Marketing has understandably evolved, due to the prevalence of technology, and is now very much more customer focused. In his words, marketing is what links consumers and organisations, providing a two-way channel of communication between both parties. It sounds supremely interesting, and I can’t wait to start studying.
I did have my doubts as to whether I’d be suited to the course, which are still lingering in my mind now. I do have a module called ‘Accounting and Control’, and I’m the first to confess that I’m absolutely atrocious when it comes to numbers. The thing I think I’m going to find most jarring, however, is how different it’s going to be from doing English. Gone is the tedium of the MHRA referencing style, replaced by the (what I believe to be) simpler Harvard style. There’s still an emphasis on wider reading, but I don’t imagine having to read as much as I did for English. I’ve got my first session of a module titled ‘Essay Writing Skills’ tomorrow. Our course director stressed that writing ‘academically’ is vital, which is understandable, and is something I think I’ve come somewhat close to conquering with my undergraduate degree. I have no idea of what’s expected from an MSc essay, though. Of course, English (as a language) is English, and that’s not going to change (radically) any time soon, but what intrigues me most is the skillset and thought processes required. I can see some attributes of English essay writing which could carry over very easily, like form and grammar, but I can’t see myself using the analytic skills I developed for close-reading. What is then to fill the void, is a mystery to me. I shall keep you updated, nonetheless.
Essay Writing begins at 9am tomorrow, meaning an early start. Seb wants to go to Jesters tonight, however, for his birthday. This should be interesting. Keep watching the skies, reader.