Thu 22 Jan 2015

Finally, a business degree without leaving home


February 23 marks the beginning of a new era for Taranaki.

For the first time Taranaki people will be able to complete a business degree without leaving home or studying by correspondence.

After putting in some serious work, WITT’s Commerce and Computing department has been given the go-ahead  by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) to offer the Bachelor of Applied Management degree.

Department head Catherine Lo-Giacco says she was pleased to get the final written approval.

“This is a significant step for Taranaki; the community, the students and for WITT. People can stay in the region and study full time or part time.’’

As always, the decision to go ahead with the degree was not taken in isolation. Time was taken to canvass the views of all of the affected parties.

“It is a very positive move and we got very good feedback from our stakeholders on the potential benefits for the region.’’

Catherine says the real winners would be those students who want to study for a business degree without having to leave the region. “Now there’s choice and variety. It’s well linked to the needs of the region.’’

WITT currently offers a range of business qualifications. “At the moment we offer the Certificate in Business, the NZ Institute of Management Diploma in Management and the NZ Diploma in Business, and now we can offer the Bachelor of Applied Management degree.

“If a student has already completed the New Zealand Diploma in Business, the courses are cross-creditable,’’ says Catherine.

Some may wonder about the significance of the word “applied’’ in the degree title.

“We cover not only the theory side of things, but also the application of the skills. The students will major in specific areas. The majors we have available at WITT are:  Accounting, Project Management, Operations and Production Management and Human Resource Management.

Catherine says the unique component of the degree is that it is an applied major. Students choose one of the four majors on offer to specialise in.

“In the second and third years of study we concentrate on those areas, and in the final part of the programme, as students get near completing their degree, they go out into a work environment and work for an organisation. As part of that work students have to produce a project for the organisation.

“That allows the student to use the skills they’ve developed and put them into place in a work environment. That is one of the great strengths of the programme.”

Even though students are not paid for their time with the organisation while doing the project, it gives them ample opportunity to impress a prospective employer, she says.

Another one of the strengths of the Bachelor of Applied Management degree is that it was developed in consultation with industry.

“It’s already offered by several other tertiary institutions throughout the country, each one is offering  a variety of different majors.

“At WITT the majors were decided after gaining student feedback and consultation with the community. They gave us a very clear picture of what was required. ‘’

  Some questions and answers:

Q: How long have I got to complete the degree if I do it part-time?

 A: It is three years full time study, or up to 10 years part-time.

Q: What is an Applied degree?

A: It means you apply what you learn as you go.

Q: At what stage of study does the work placement occur?

A: During the last semester of the third and final year of a full time student’s study.