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Bachelor of Communication 2013 - Expressive Arts/Media Studies Major

Morgan Browne

I chose a Bachelor of Communication because I was excited about the broad prospects and opportunities in communications. Knowing I could enter the world of Public Relations, Advertising or Journalism (just to start!) gave me hope for a diverse career that would enable me to flex my love of people and creativity with business acumen. I knew that being able to choose and study unique areas like Expressive Arts AND Business Management gave me well-rounded knowledge in the wide area of communications, which has helped me immensely in my career too.

Massey had a well-rounded approach to teaching communications in totality, unlike other institutions which seemed very niche or practical. Covid-19’s impact on certain industries has taught us that having a wide, broad skillset is always beneficial. The theoretical elements to Massey’s learning combined with the case studies and real-world business cases made me excited for a thorough overview, where I could then decide where to focus my career after exploring all the possibilities in communications. I’ll never forget my open day in 2009 where I got to have a go at news reading in a news anchor set up – this gave a great overview of the opportunities that would arise.
The study experience at Massey was full of absolute highs for me. I made friends who’re now like family, I still keep in touch with some of my lecturers, and I felt I had a great work/life balance in relation to study. The Wellington campus was perfect for this work/life balance, with a great library, gym, good value eating spots and quiet areas to study. I particularly and genuinely loved the challenges presented by the outstanding lecturers. Getting challenged opened up my perspective, allowing me to grow my experience and apply a wide worldview to the application of work and study. The business world beyond study is full of interpersonal moments, and Massey gave tangible, practical experiences to allow me to arrive ready for the corporate environment, such as group assignments on presentations, how to give constructive feedback, and how to critically examine your own work and others’.

I was fortunate to be a recipient of the Massey Captains’ Club scholarship, which gave me great leadership opportunities that I couldn’t get elsewhere. In my Expressive Arts papers, we did drama performances, which I poured all my time into and loved (how many people can say they acted out scenes about Oedipus?!) because they were so fun. In Media Studies, I made short-form films, interviewed interesting people, and I made lifelong friends from these papers! I was actively involved in the student magazine Massive, initially as a sometime casual writer, to then being the Albany campus reporter, to then moving to Wellington to work at the Massey Wellington campus as the editor full time. Massey provided great extracurricular activities and opportunities if you were open to putting yourself out there and trying them!

I highly recommend the Expressive Arts major – drama, which teaches you about self-presentation, is like Toastmasters to the extreme! In regards to being confident, and able to present and talk to anyone in any workplace, the EA major is immensely useful. The skills from the drama papers will help any grad working with talent in advertising or film, and the literature/writing papers will set any grad up for future success with reports, writing radio, TV or social media copy, or press releases. Trust me – you have no idea how much enhancing your written and verbal skills lends to a workplace, even if your workplace is a corporate and seems far removed from drama and literature.

A broad Media Studies approach proved really useful to my career too, as I had looked in media in all forms. As my career moved to specialise in social and digital media, the context of the broad Media Studies knowledge I gained was really helpful. Although communication students aiming for a career like mine might be unsure whether to major in business or choose Expressive Arts/Media Studies, I strongly recommend majoring in Expressive Arts/Media Studies. These majors teach unique, personal skills, and from both an employee and a previous employer perspective, these skills are harder to teach in the workplace, so grads in EA/MS come ready to go, with cultural, interpersonal skills and a strong grasp of written and verbal communication.

Since graduating I have worked, initially, for the students of Massey as the Massive (student magazine) editor. This gave me a good overview of balancing journalism with the business acumen needed to run a successful magazine. From there, I decided that I loved the creativity of advertising, and that I wanted to work in brand and communications. I’ve enjoyed roles in the marketing teams at Spark, NZ’s largest-listed property company Kiwi Property, and now at 2degrees, managing social and digital media, in the 6 years since. Not many people can say that they make memes and GIFs for a job, right? 😉 I also believe in supporting small business and community groups wherever I can, so during the Covid-19 lockdowns I hosted sessions on social media tips for small Kiwi businesses, and I volunteer my marketing skills to Kiwi charities/organisations who don’t have the resource to do it themselves.

Social and digital advertising is always changing, which presents exciting opportunities to grow and adapt the knowledge that comes with this. I hope to continue working in advertising with businesses whose values align with mine, are community minded, purpose-driven and meaningful. Working in companies that put humans first will always be my goal and exploring new ways to give back to my community alongside my career and my ever-growing skills will be too. At the moment, I’m studying free online courses in negotiation, because it’s always good to keep learning. Beyond that, we’ll see!