Hailey prepares for the construction industry with the Master of Construction Management

With a background in civil engineering, Hailey is studying Construction Management to develop a progressive understanding of the construction industry and establish a foundation of theory needed to excel on the professional stage.

Profile

It's a difficult year with COVID-19 impacting lives profoundly. What impact has this had on your studies?

In the beginning, studying at home was really challenging for me because I didn’t alter my mindset to acknowledge home as one of my study settings. I was mind-absented during lectures and everything in my apartment could be the source of distraction when I was doing readings or working on assignments. All of these made me realise it is time to change my mindset and adapt myself to the ‘new normal’ study setting.

Which subjects did you study in Semester 1, 2020?

I did Project Management, Advanced Cost Management, Advanced Construction Technology and Property Law (PG) in Semester 1, 2020. Those are all great subjects and I can see the teaching staff have put their maximum efforts into transferring the teaching mode while at the same time ensuring the teaching quality.

I’m also a Cadet Quantity Surveyor working in the construction industry. The Project Management and Advanced Cost Management subjects have strongly related to my work. It’s such an enjoyable experience recalling what I learn in class and applying it to work, as well as taking questions from work back to class for answers.

I’ve enjoyed all 4 subjects in semester 1 but Advanced Construction Technology and Property Law have been my favourites. I strongly recommend these 2 subjects to students who plan to develop their career in the construction and property industry.

I enrolled in Advanced Construction Technology because I have a civil engineering background and I’m always curious about construction technologies. Subject coordinator Giorgio Marfella delivered the subject in a systematic and comprehensive way comprising live lectures with guest speakers, lecture recordings, online group workshops and consultations. This subject refreshed the knowledge I learnt during my undergraduate study and developed my understanding for construction technologies in Australia and globally.

How has the online learning experience been with your subjects?

It indeed took me a while to adapt the new normal of learning, but personally it is satisfying and I am enjoying learning in this way. It must be admitted that online learning has some restrictions in terms of discussions, concept illustrations and team working. However, we should acknowledge and be grateful that university and teaching staff is trying their best to maximise the students’ online learning experience. In addition, modern technologies such as zoom meetings and discussion section on Canvas also improve my experience of online learning.

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Do you have any tips for other students which have helped you during lockdown and the transition to online learning?

  • Structure your learning. With nowhere to be, days can have very little structure. This can result in long, drawn out and distraction-heavy study sessions. Therefore, it’s critical to keep  study sessions brief but productive. Afterall, study is only one part of our life! I personally prefer making a checklist at the beginning of the day of tasks that need to get done. It’s rewarding to tick off things I’ve accomplished at the end of the day.
  • Treat online learning like in-person learning. When it comes to online classes, have the discipline to sit down and say, “I am going to work on this,” and have the dedication to follow through.
  • Ask for help. There are always difficulties in subjects, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and ask for help from teaching staff and friends.

Do you think the pandemic might change the way that Construction Management embraces new and digital technology going forward?

Definitely.

The COVID-19 crisis has sped up the Internet of Things (IoT) adoption in the construction industry. Far-reaching changes are being implemented and many of them are likely to remain in place after the outbreak is contained. As far as I know, many job sites have been rearranged with stringent safety requirements in place. Remote meetings, virtual inspections, and integration of social distancing safety devices are some of the technology-based solutions being adopted enabling work to proceed safely.

As COVID-19 recedes and economies open, contractors will face an industry that has been radically changed by both the public health and economic effects of the pandemic. This new reality will demand more connections between the job site and the office. Some office workers may have to keep on working from home. Stakeholders need up-to-date information all the time for project success. The need for shared data and digital connectivity for engineers, architects, site supervisors, project managers, project owners, and regulators is becoming the norm.

What has been your favourite aspect or experience in the course?

I really like the systematic course structure and the proper schedule designed for each subject. It’s a three-year course for students who do not have construction or civil engineering background. The course structure is designed to ensure an understanding of master theories and to look at the industry progressively. The broad subject contents across different fields and specifications offer various opportunities for students to develop and achieve their ideal careers after graduation. Apart from that, from the second year, almost every subject will involve industry insights by inviting industry professionals as guest speakers. In this way, I’ve been able to have general experience of the industries people and culture, be familiar with the industry working styles, and stay in tune with industry developments.

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- An example of work completed by Hailey in the Master of Construction Management

How did you get involved in the Leaders in Communities Award and why?

I learnt about Leaders in Communities Award (LiCA) by accidentally coming across a post on the university Career Online website. Then I registered and attended the introduction session to know what the Award is about.

I became involved because I want to maximise my life at university. It’s really important for me to be aware that study is not the only part of my uni life, and I can do more to feel satisfied and accomplished by attending extra-curricular activities and volunteering.

What activities and volunteering did you involve yourself in to complete the Award?

I attended a series of volunteering and personal development workshops and industry-related events arranged by the University, Faculty and non-profit organisations. I’m also a committee member of a student club – Construction Students Association. Here are some of activities / volunteering programs I participate in:

  • UMSM Host Program during orientation week
  • UMSM Mentoring Network Program
  • ABP Melbourne Peer Mentoring Program (MPMP)
  • MSD Graduate Ambassador Program
  • MSD Peer Mentoring Program
  • Welcome Dinner Project (WDP)

What have been or will be the benefits of the Award on your studies and career?

I didn’t expect any tangible benefits on my studies and career when I decided to involve myself in the Award, but I did see growth and change in myself during the journey, including a greater ability to think independently and critically as well as teaming my professional skills with leadership. I feel like this is assisting me toward an outstanding academic performance and will help develop fundamentals skills for my professional career.


Discover more about the Master of Construction Management

Learn more about the Leaders in Communities Award