Amy Gibbs

Amy Gibbs

Amy Gibbs

  • Year completed 2003
  • Current position Editor in Chief, Digital Pulse, PwC Australia
  • Degree(s) PhD (Arts)
  • Major(s) Communications and media studies

Career summary

After graduating from Monash with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in 2003, Amy Gibbs returned a few years later to complete her PhD in Communications in 2012. With doctorate in hand, Amy spent five years with the Institute of Public Accountants before joining the Australian and New Zealand Institute of Insurance and Finance (ANZIIF). She worked with ANZIIF for four years in several roles, including Digital Communications Manager, before moving to PwC Australia. Amy has been the Editor in Chief of PwC’s digital publication, Digital Pulse, for two years.

Career pathway

2018 to present – Editor in Chief, Digital Pulse, PwC Australia
2017 – Digital Content Producer, Digital Pulse, PwC Australia
2016 – Digital Communications & Content Strategy Manager; Digital Insights Manager, ANZIIF
2013 – Digital Communications Manager, ANZIIF
2012 – Manager Digital Strategy, Institute of Public Accountants
2012 – Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Communications
2011 – Communications Coordinator, Institute of Public Accountants
2008 – Marketing Coordinator - Victorian Division, Institute of Public Accountants
2006 – Sessional Tutor, Monash University
2003 – Bachelor of Arts (Honours) majoring in History

Why did you choose to complete a Bachelor of Arts?

I started doing an Arts and IT double degree, but after about six months I decided to drop the IT as it was too focused on coding back then. I didn’t give up on IT totally, and have always been interested in technology, but I gave up on it in an academic sense in my bachelor’s degree and decided to do history and archaeology instead - primarily because it was really interesting.

I just loved it. I would walk into the Menzies building and they knew my name! Everyone was lovely and supportive. You could tell they cared.

I loved the staff, I loved the content, and I loved the approach. I’ve found that my Bachelor of Arts and my PhD have been so useful too and allowed me to do so much more than I imagined.

Why did you also choose to complete a PhD with Monash Arts?

I had gone out into the world and I knew that my bachelor’s degree didn’t necessarily align with what I wanted to do for a career so I decided to do a master’s which I then upgraded to a PhD.

The reason I chose Monash was because I grew up at Monash. My father was an emeritus professor and Head of Physiology and my mum was a senior research fellow looking at memory formation based in the Medical Faculty. So, essentially, I have been on campus since I was a baby.

I felt comfortable there, supported there, but I also felt the Arts faculty in particular was open to different ideas and looking at things that I wanted to look at, especially having undertaken my bachelor’s there.

While PhDs in other faculties leave you with less of a choice about your research - you mainly research the area of of the person who is supervising you - that wasn’t the case with Monash Arts and I was able to look at a specific areas I was interested in.

How did you choose your PhD research topic?

I had been in online communities since 1995. In the early-mid 2000s, there wasn’t a lot of research about social media and virtual communities and they were seen as facsimiles of ‘real’ community.

I knew that these communities were very much real, and I wanted to look at why that was. In addition, at the time there were many social media companies and virtual communities launching as the ‘next big thing’ but then weren’t in existence the next day. I was interested in why certain ones survived while others collapsed.

How did your supervisors help shape your PhD?

The supervisor I credit the most is Elizabeth Coleman. I think out of all the people who were supervising me, she was the one that was the most critical, and I mean that in a good sense.

She was the one who got me to really think about what I was writing, honed my ability to argue and interact with the content and taught me to be more critical about what I was reading. She was incredibly supportive, so I looked forward to getting together with her and chatting through the issues because she was super passionate about what I was doing, which was incredibly motivating. We still kept in touch after I graduated with my doctorate.

How has your time with Monash Arts shaped your career and where you are today?

Currently, I am the Editor in Chief of Digital Pulse, a PwC digital publication. We write about the intersection of business and technology, publishing every week across a broad range of topics. We strive to make technological conversation easier to understand by shaping stories that are accessible to everybody and apply to business in a holistic way.

The legitimacy of my Arts degrees allowed me to get into a technical field without having a hardcore technical background. I had the social technical background, but I wasn’t an IT person by any means. I was, however, passionate about the interaction between technology and society.

My Arts degrees got me in the door. I don’t think there is any way I’d be where I am without the skills I learnt at Monash Arts.

What are some the skills you gained from your study with the Arts?

The ability to research a topic is critically important especially in the land of fake news. Critical thinking and lateral thinking have also been key, as well as the ability to write. It sounds so simple, but I’ve found that the amount of people who can’t write about what they are passionate about and engage people is astounding. I absolutely honed my writing skills in my degree.

The humanity part of arts - the fact we are talking about people and social change and why things matter - is often underestimated. Empathy is a huge skill and not one that can be automated.

What would you say to students who are weighing up the possibility of completing a Bachelor of Arts?

It’s an investment which will never go to waste. No matter what industry you want to work in, you’ll be able to apply what you’ve learnt. There are so many roles that are automated or are being automated, but the skills you gain through an Arts degree are a long-term sure thing.