With a new director at the helm, Deakin’s revitalised Master of Commerce provides students with a range of career-strengthening specialisations.
With 2020 almost in the rear-view mirror, many of us are now thinking about ways in which we can future-proof our lives and careers.
Perhaps a tree or sea change, a new career, or simply boosting our skills to lock in greater job security.
In the wake of a challenging year, Deakin Business School (DBS) is now offering a refreshed, contemporary Master of Commerce program that provides more choices, greater flexibility, and a suite career-enhancing practical skills.
Newly-appointed course director Dr Huong Le says it’s designed for students from diverse backgrounds.
‘This could be in business or other areas such as education, arts and engineering. It’s also for those who may be wanting to upskill, change career paths or simply advance their understanding of core business knowledge to pursue a career in the modern commercial world,’ she explains.
Dr Le is a senior lecturer in DBS’s Department of Management and specialises in research around employee health and wellbeing, career management, organisational inclusion, diversity, justice climate, and social support at work.
With articles published in A* and A-ranked journals*, she has also been awarded Visiting Research Fellowships with Drexel University (US), University of Sheffield (UK), the University of Sydney, University of Melbourne, and the University of Wollongong.
Dr Le says her research is driven by curiosity about the factors that influence employee wellbeing, attitudes, behaviour, and career development.
‘I am also interested in providing solutions through developing health interventions or health promotion in addressing job stress and improving employee health and well-being. I particularly like examining these issues among migrants, minorities, and women in the workplace. Perhaps these groups of employees resonate with me as I am also a migrant from Vietnam.’
One of the key aspects of her research is investigating the link between an inclusive work environment and the role of managers play in facilitating inclusion.
‘Specifically, when managers value inclusiveness, organisations benefit from employees’ positive judgments and reactions that are particularly related to organisational decision-making processes. Both theoretical and empirical research suggests that fair treatment from managers who endorse inclusion and diversity conveys a message that employees are respected and valued, and that this message can shape employee well-being,’ she says.
* Australian Research Council categories for the highest quality academic journals.
Over her career, Dr Le has noticed a number of changes in her field of research.
‘First, research evolves very quickly and become increasingly complex. Daily, there are many exciting and interesting research papers making us think about how to develop and design research projects which have greater impact to the society,’ she says.
‘Secondly, as we are living in highly-competitive environments I believe we are required to fit in and/or adapt to changes quickly and this is particularly important for our career development. The reality learned from the challenging experience during COVID-19 really shows that ongoing learning and development is important for us to succeed in a changing environment. Overall, great research collaboration is a key to keep us actively engaging in good research.’
One of the ways her research makes a difference is its potential impact on policy development for employees, managers, and organisations.
‘Considering globalisation and the current multicultural context of Australia, the issue of inclusion and managing a diverse workforce is critical. My research publications provide important practical implications for managers and organisations in maximising the effects of inclusion on the workforce.’
Identifying research problems and providing solutions for both business and society has provided Dr Le with a strong background for steering the Master of Commerce into a program that provides the skills needed for the dynamic, post-pandemic commercial world.
Embedded with work-integrated learning and fundamental units in accounting, finance, management and marketing, the new course structure also offers a number of information system and business analytics units.
‘This highlights the importance of using data and technology to inform decision-making processes to increase graduate employability and provide better links with industry,’ Dr Le explains.
‘It’s a focus that particularly aligns with post-COVID business recovery as well as the funding focus of the federal government for higher education sector. The new course structure with its variety of specialisations will plays an important role in providing graduates with a competitive advantage in the future job market.