Two students at AUT who identified a need for more collaboration between students and industry professionals have launched MARS@AUT – an initiative that aims to bring together the two groups through events, workshops and other networking opportunities.
With a focus on marketing, advertising, retail and sales, the initiative will offer students unique opportunities to gain knowledge and skills that cannot be achieved in the classroom.
Post-graduate students Megan Phillips and Chantelle Lincoln came up with the idea after attending events outside of university with their mentor. They valued the one-on-one time it gave them with industry experts and thought it would be brilliant to offer the same opportunity to fellow students on campus – for free!
“Basically we wanted to connect students with industry and academics, and create an environment where they can network with those people,” says Phillips.
The initiative was founded early this year, with the first official event scheduled for the start of next semester.
Despite its infancy, MARS@AUT already has 40 students involved and has been approached by cloud-based idea and collaboration company Pass The Idea to tackle a creative issue for one of its clients.
Pass The Idea has challenged MARS@AUT to solve a marketing problem for Tourism New Zealand over a three week period in July.
Phillips says the challenge offers students a chance to work on a real industry problem, something that most would never get the opportunity to do within their course.
She believes students who participate will gain knowledge and skills that will be a huge advantage to them when they look for jobs after completing their studies.
For information on how to get involved, visit marsinitiative.org.nz.