The Practicum Module – A Student’s Experience
Karina Haugen, Digital Marketing Executive and alumna of the MSc in Digital Marketing at DCU Business School spoke to us about the Practicum module she undertook as part of her Masters programme.
I completed my Masters in Digital Marketing at DCU Business School in 2018. The reason I chose this programme and DCU in particular, was based on the course structure, the applied aspects of the course and the international rankings of both DCU Business School and the course itself.
The MSc in Digital Marketing programme has an applied focus and you get to work with several clients throughout the programme. As I didn’t have much experience working in digital marketing prior to the masters, this was an ideal course for me as it allowed me to gain hands-on experience as well as theoretical knowledge of all the important aspects of digital marketing.
You can choose between doing a practicum or a dissertation for the final assignment. As I wanted to gain as much practical experience as possible, I chose to do the practicum as this has an applied focus. This is a module where you work in a group with 2-3 other students and you work with a client for about six months. The applied work that is involved depends on the client’s objectives and needs, but often includes something like website optimisation, usability testing, SEO, Google Ads management, email marketing, social media management and/or advertising or other digital marketing aspects.
In addition to this, the practicum also involves primary research such as conducting surveys and interviews, literature reviews and an analysis of the relevant market.
My group worked with an Irish outdoor adventure park for six months, and the main objectives of the project were to increase awareness of the park, increase bookings made online and identify and map out the customer journey.
In order to meet these objectives, the use of primary and desk research began as the base of the practicum. This allowed us to map out and analyse the market, competitors and to identify the needs of current and potential customers.
Following primary research, a group of applied activities were selected to best develop, test and measure possible successful tactics. These included Google Ads management, development and launch of a scavenger hunt app, development and implementation of a chatbot, SEO, social media content planning and website usability testing.
Because of the timeframe of the project, there was time to implement, analyse and optimise some of the applied activities. This gave us time and opportunity to see what worked and what needed to be improved. It also made it possible to see results of the work that we had done, for example increasing sales and attracting more visitors to the website.
The benefits of doing a practicum
For me, one of the main benefits of doing the practicum was that I got real hands-on experience of working with a client and executing a wide range of digital marketing activities. I gained knowledge and experience working with Google Ads, SEO and social media planning, which proved to be very helpful for me when I was applying for jobs after the programme. I think in general this is one of the huge benefits of the course, that after you graduate and start looking for jobs, you have lots of projects you can refer to where you worked with real companies and clients.
Furthermore, the practicum definitely increased my ability to think more critically, strategically and analytically when making decisions. The practicum groups are also assigned a practicum advisor who guides you throughout the project and gives you valuable feedback and recommendations.
We also learned a lot about project management and strengthened skills such as leadership, communication and teamwork through the practicum. The fact that you work on the project and with the client for several months really provides the opportunity to analyse, reflect and learn from the work that you do. Throughout the course and the practicum, there is also a big focus on data analysis and optimisation. This is also something that I found really useful and beneficial in work.
I would strongly recommend doing a practicum as it is a great opportunity to gain hands-on experience, interact with clients and develop the skills needed in professional life. It also has the potential to help you stand out from the crowd, by allowing you to develop expertise in your chosen field and therefore position yourself in the jobs market accordingly. The range of skills and competencies learned through the practicum with DCU Business School has without a doubt helped me get to the position that I am in today.
For more information on the MSc in Digital Marketing see: https://business.dcu.ie/course/msc-in-digital-marketing/
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