New School of Management practicum conducted successfully (Issue 2, 2011)


Dr Chris Hodkinson presenting a Certificate of Appreciation to Orion Media’s CEO Mr Paul Curcio and Senior Business Development Manager Mr Tony Maughan

La Trobe’s School of Management has successfully conducted the newly designed Practicum Program. Student teams worked with business and community organisations to complete projects in the fields of marketing, management and human resource management.  

‘The La Trobe School of Management under Dr Terri Joiner has been building contemporary programs that ensure our graduates were work experienced,’ said Dr Chris Hodkinson, Senior Lecturer in marketing and convenor of the 2010 program.

Dr Hodkinson highlighted the importance and timeliness of such programs. Professor Gillian Sullivan Mort, the Head of La Trobe’s marketing discipline, agrees that providing students with professional experience is essential.

‘Marketing is a profession, and with all professions, whether accountants or dentists, you would not expect graduates to enter the workplace without practical experience. We aim to provide that experience in a number of areas and to differentiate La Trobe students by their work preparedness,’ says Professor Mort.

The new Management Practicum Program gives students the opportunity to apply and extend their knowledge in real business and community settings, and bridges the gap between theory and practice.

Last year, 34 of La Trobe’s final-year students were selected to participate in the inaugural Practicum Program. The students worked on projects with 13 different organisations ranging from local government to youth and community support. 

YMCA, Orion Media, Dorevitch Pathology and Primus Australia are just some of the participating organisations who welcomed student teams into their headquarters on a part time basis for seven weeks.

Before commencing, the students attended an orientation session where they were briefed on their projects and final reports. At the conclusion of the seven-week program, students presented their reports and findings to the executives of their host organisation.

‘They own the project from start to finish and they are responsible for the outcome. They have to back their own judgement and the project’s success depends purely on their own efforts. Many of the tasks are challenging, but the students grow immensely in skill and stature as a result. They also must have good time management skills to fit this in around an intense final semester of study,’ Dr Hodkinson said.

‘The Practicum program offers benefits to both students and their host organisations, the businesses gain the eager input of cutting edge knowledge and the students gain practical experience - this is a valuable and expanding part of the educational process to which La Trobe is committed,’ said Professor David Spencer, Associate Dean Academic.

All of the participating organisations were keen to develop the relationship further and to host student teams again in 2011.

Other organisations interested in hosting teams of La Trobe business students in the expanded 2011 Practicum Program should contact Dr Chris Hodkinson on 03 94791620 or via email at