Will Manning

Will Manning

Will Manning

  • Student type: Domestic
  • Degree type: Degree
  • Year commenced: 2012
  • Degree(s): Bachelor of Business Information Systems

Why did you choose Monash?

I wanted to study at Monash because so many family and friends were Monash Alumni. Whenever they talked about their time as a Monash student, it was only ever in a positive light. I had also been a member of the universities junior Water Polo team since I was about 13 or 14, which meant that when I imagined university, Monash was the most familiar thing that came to mind.

What attracted you to IT?

I was always interested in computers as a kid – whether it was playing games or just trying to fix them when they didn’t work – there was something about them that just captured my imagination. I think it was a combination of their ability to make things easier and people’s confusion when using them that made me want to know more. The opportunity to help people understand the potential of IT was particularly interesting and one of the big reasons I wanted a less technically focused IT degree (compared to Software Engineering or Computer Science). I remember thinking I could be someone who helped technical and non-technical people work together.

In addition, a close family member was working for Ericsson in the early 2000’s as part of their mobile internet applications team. Whilst it seems strange now, this was an incredibly new and innovative area of technology and one that I found really exciting when I was in my early teens.

What made you choose the specialisation/major you studied?

While I had always been interested in technology, the idea of coding had never appealed to me so the technical degrees were out of the question. This left me with a choice of a Bachelor of Information Technology (BITS) and Systems or the Bachelor of Business Information Systems (BBIS). At the time, the differentiating factor was the IBL program, which was only open to BBIS students. The opportunity to work full-time during my degree was one that was too good to pass up. Quite apart from the obvious benefit of working and getting paid whilst studying, the program appealed to me as I was someone who never really thrived in exam conditions meaning academia was somewhat challenging. What I didn’t realise before I started my degree was that each IBL unit was the equivalent of three academic units – meaning a good result for the placement could have a profound impact on my academic record.

Tell us about what you studied – What was it? What did it involve? What did you actually do?
The BBIS degree taught me some of the technical basics that underpin modern business solutions (Java, SQL, VBA) which allowed me to join business IT teams and Consulting projects and contribute immediately, which was an incredibly rewarding feeling. My IBL experience showed that that these kinds of skills are incredibly valuable to project teams, and they are skills that many senior members of teams don’t have. The degree also teaches you how to consider IT problems and solutions in broader context. Units like Project Management and Introduction to Business Information Systems combined with the IBL placements help you develop business acumen very quickly.

What was the favourite thing about the field you studied?

The thing I love about IT, and more specifically digital technology, is its ability to scale world changing ideas from a thought to a something that can be in a million or more people’s hands in a matter of weeks. The challenges of marketing notwithstanding, the only thing standing between an everyday Mum and Dad, a student or a retiree and potentially worldwide change is a willingness to pursue a genuinely good idea. Take Uber for example, a company that has managed to disrupt the $100 billion global taxi industry by providing a safe and convenient service which means anyone can become a driver, without having to pay exorbitant registration and licensing fees, all the while providing a much better experience for its customers. The company that was founded in 2009 and is now worth $40 billion based on its latest round of funding, has 8 million users and 160,000 drivers worldwide.

What was the highlight of your course?

The IT Faculty’s new computer labs are great. The space has been totally redesigned such that collaboration and engagement with other students is a key focus. Not only are their large monitors and touchscreens in a number of the rooms, but the rooms have plenty of windows and whiteboards to facilitate group discussion and brainstorming.

Apart from study, what else were you involved in both at Monash and off campus? (Paid work, sport, clubs, hobbies etc)?

There are so many opportunities to get involved at Monash that it is about deciding what you don’t have time for rather than what you can spend your time doing. Be it playing sport for Monash at the Australian University Games, participating in leadership programs (Vice Chancellor’s Ancora Imparo Student Leadership Program, Monash Minds Mumbai Initiative or the John Bertrand Leadership Series) or getting involved in community activities (IT Faculty Student Representative, Open Day ambassador), there were plenty of non-academic activities that allowed to meet people outside the faculty, make some lifelong friends and push my own personal boundaries.

What has been the highlight of your course so far?

While I had so many amazing opportunities at Monash, the chance to complete two Industry Based Learning placements was the most amazing of all. While the scholarship was obviously an attractive aspect of the program, the most incredible part was the rate at which I learnt new things and was challenged. The lessons I learnt during my IBL placement are still so clear in my mind, whereas the same can’t always be said for some things you learn at university.

In addition, I formed relationships with industry professionals and I was offered a graduate position at the end of my first placement – or a full year before I was due to graduate. This meant I was in the incredibly fortunate position of not having to go through the stressful and time consuming process that is graduate applications.

What was the best thing about being a student at Monash?
The best thing about Monash was the number of opportunities provided to me as a student. As I mentioned earlier, the hardest thing was deciding what you had time to do. Whether they are social, academic or personal, there are a multitude of ways you can get involved.

What advice do you have for prospective students starting uni next year?

There are more people willing to help you than you might think and there are more opportunities to have fun and experience new things than you can imagine.
When I think back to school I remember people saying words to the affect of “you are all on your own at uni”, but this just isn’t true. Granted, lecturers and tutors aren’t as interventionist as school teachers were when you weren’t doing the work or noticed you weren’t paying attention, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t willing to help. It just means that you have to be proactive in seeking advice, be willing to admit what you don’t understand and follow the advice they give you.