After a diverse career focused on customer service, Rati decided to specialise in Digital Marketing. Find out how the Digital Marketing: Transform course helped Rati launch a new career in a field that ignites her passions.

What led you to retrain in Digital Marketing?

I will give it to the pandemic! I was working from home and had lots of time on my hands. It gave me the perfect conditions to pivot in my career. I studied travel and tourism management at university about 15 years ago, but have worked in unrelated industries since. My roles have mostly been focused on customer service, with Telstra and Energy Australia.

I also ran my own business for two years – a cafe called Jamaica Blue. I had a four year old kid and was running a cafe that was open over the weekends, so I decided to sell it. I was fortunate enough to land a job with World Vision Australia just two weeks after the business sold.

After three years of continuing my journey with World Vision, my work became a bit repetitive. I loved World Vision’s cause and wanted to stay with the organisation. There were lots of secondments coming up, but you needed to have the right skills to get into a different department.

I wanted to become a specialist in a particular area and, luckily, had the time to develop a new skill-set. I saw the World Vision marketing department creating these amazing campaigns, which really inspired me. Plus, some of my friends have a marketing background and they really love their work. That’s when I decided to get ready for the opportunities at World Vision and retrain as a Digital Marketer.

Why did you choose to study with Academy Xi?

I wanted a flexible course because my son was learning from home and I was working full-time remotely. The Academy Xi Digital Marketing: Transform course seemed a good fit, but I only had three weeks to decide before the enrolment closed. Olivia Bowden from Academy Xi was really generous with her time and guided me through the modules and content. Olivia encouraged me to look at other courses and weigh-up my options.

Ultimately, I felt like none of the other courses were offering what Olivia described. I wanted the exposure of working on live client projects and the chance to develop hands-on skills. That really pushed me to choose Academy Xi. I’m so glad I did, because the course helped me get to where I am today.

What were your initial experiences of the course?

Before the Transform course started I completed the Digital Marketing: Foundations course, which helped me grasp the basic principles of marketing. I began with an understanding of what goes into delivering a marketing campaign, how you deal with stakeholders and some of the tools marketers use. I’m the kind of person that likes to prepare, so having that foundational knowledge was really important.

The cafe was a franchise and the marketing materials were provided, but as an owner I picked what we used based on the business’s demographic. I’d had a bit of marketing exposure, but the early phases of the course were my first deep dive into Digital Marketing theory. 

I really related to marketing from the outset. For me, marketing is an intersection of different passions. It allows me to be resourceful, strategic and creative, and saves me from the repetitive work that goes into a lot of 9-5 jobs.

What projects did you work on?

Academy Xi has a great strategy of easing you into the live client projects by having you complete a personal project while you’re learning the theory. You’re given four months to choose a brand, perform competitor analysis and present a complete strategy to the cohort. It means you go into the live client projects well and truly prepared.

The cohort then worked on two live client projects. The first was for a small family business, and we had to create their whole social media campaign. The second was for a business travel platform called Nutrip, and we had to devise their end-to-end marketing strategy.

The beauty of working in teams is that everyone contributes their expertise, so you learn from one another. That prepared me for the marketing industry, where you have to be able to work with people with different ideas and approaches.

What aspects of the course did you enjoy the most?

Presenting the projects was a test, but really satisfying. I presented the first client project as part of a team and was asked to pick a section of the presentation that suited my expertise. For the second client project, I was asked to present a section that I found challenging, but had the guidance of my mentor.

I’m not a completely extroverted person, so if I had realised in advance the course entailed so much presenting, I might not have enrolled! It turned out to be a blessing in disguise. I was very nervous before my first presentation, but apparently it didn’t show. Everyone was really impressed by my contribution.

Discussing aspects of marketing that you’re less comfortable with really builds your confidence. People develop when they’re thrown in the deep end, so I’m really glad the course pushed me out of my comfort zone.

How did you find the online learning experience?

Even though the course was completed remotely, the cohort worked really efficiently in online teams, and we developed some strong friendships. A coursemate visited Melbourne in December and we met up for lunch, which was a lovely experience.

The flexibility of learning online meant I could juggle my existing role with my studies. We had our classes every Monday evening and there were fixed deadlines for coursework submissions and presentations. I’m definitely somebody who likes a deadline to stay on track.

It places you under pressure for a while, but then the work is done and you can move on. I wanted to complete the course and transition into a new career as quickly as possible.

How did your mentor prepare you for the industry?

Jillian Bowen was my mentor, and she really helped me with every little thing that I was struggling with. In the end, I cruised through! 

As well as helping me grasp the theory, Jillian gave me the direction I needed as an aspiring marketer. I had a one-on-one with Jillian and told her that I saw myself working in the marketing department for World Vision. Even though it was only the start of the course, Jillian set me the challenge of meeting at least five World Vision people involved in marketing by the end of that month. 

I made lots of connections, including Graham, who was happy for me to shadow him for two hours a week while I completed the course. Graham became another mentor – he identified my passion for marketing, could tell that I wanted a lifelong career, and was very generous with his time.  

Shadowing Graham gave me the chance to work on a World Vision campaign for a corporate partner. I didn’t get involved with the overall strategy, but had lots of experience working with stakeholders. It helped me understand exactly how campaigns are planned and executed from start to finish. As everyone says, you learn 80% by putting theory into practice. I’m so grateful that Jillian encouraged me to start networking early, because I made the connections that helped me move into the industry.

How did you land your new role with World Vision Australia?

A few roles became available within the organisation while I was completing the course and I immediately started applying. I had my first interview as we were preparing to present to the first client. I had nothing to lose and knew the interviews were only going to give me exposure. They familiarised me with the kinds of questions that are asked and left me better prepared for the interviews that followed.

I didn’t get a new role straight away, but I stayed patient. By the end of the course, I had my certificate, all my projects to showcase and the experience of presentations and interviews. I had everything I needed and was finally able to land the World Vision marketing role I was after.

What does your new role entail?

I’m coordinating all of my lead’s work. She’s responsible for planning campaign strategies and works on about five projects at any given time, which involves a tremendous amount of work. A big part of my role is linking-up the contributions of lots of different teams. I create timelines and make sure all the deadlines are met so the campaigns go live on schedule. It’s a lot of work, but I’m really enjoying it.

There’s lots to learn in my new role and I’m really excited about what the future holds. In the short term, I want to gather as much understanding as possible and perform at a really high level in my role. In a few years time, I’d like to be running my own campaigns from start to finish. For now, it’s all about learning and putting 100% effort in.

Finally, would you recommend Academy Xi?

Yes, I’ve already recommended Academy Xi to a lot of my friends! A good friend of mine recently finished the Graphic Design course, which she found searching online before I had the chance to suggest Academy Xi. You must be doing a great job with SEO. When I searched for Digital Marketing courses, Academy Xi was at the top of the rankings.

For anyone keen to change careers and grow as a person, I would definitely recommend taking an Academy Xi course. Academy Xi helped me develop a passion for Digital Marketing and has given me the head start I needed to break into the industry. I came into the course seeking a new sense of direction in my career and by the time I graduated, I had it. I really owe that to Academy Xi.

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