Immersive learning helps organisations create impact
A UTS marketing subject that sees students apply pricing theory to real-world client projects is delivering beneficial outcomes for not-for-profit organisations and students alike.
Now in its fifth year of real-life pricing projects, the postgraduate UTS Pricing & Revenue Management subject facilitates immersive learning by giving students a “pricing issue” project to research, analyse and solve.
This year’s clients, Tranby National Indigenous Adult Education & Training and Parkinson’s NSW, assigned UTS students the task of developing fair and practical pricing strategies for the development of new courses and programs.
“If a student can master a not-for-profit pricing project, they not only learn about the importance of applying their skills to assist the community, but it also gives them the confidence to take on any future pricing challenge for any type of product or organisation,” said subject coordinator and lecturer, John Burke.
Supported by Lisa Andersen and her team from UTS Shopfront – a key UTS program that champions social justice and social change – the subject has previously matched students with many diverse not-for-profit organisations, including the Arts Law Centre of Australia, Monkey Baa Theatre Company and the China Australia Millennial Project.
Mr Burke said the students – who presented their recommendations in a presentation last Friday – provided this year’s clients with “highly implementable and well thought out” pricing recommendations.
“The students have worked extremely hard on these projects and their efforts have paid off,” he said. “They now have embedded pricing knowledge and their client has a practical pricing plan.”
Student Alena Oppenheimer, who assisted Tranby with pricing for an Indigenous Business Hub, said the process of pricing for not-for-profits presented a new and unique challenge for students by asking them to take into consideration a range of complex criteria.
“At the start of the project it was very challenging to figure out how a non-profit organisation should price their offerings, as they’re not allowed to make profit,” she said.
“It was essential for us to ensure that Tranby continue to provide low cost education and business training through the new Business Hub, while also being aware that they still needed to cover costs – such as for a manager for the Hub.”
Citing the Tranby National Indigenous Adult Education & Training projects, Mr Burke said the students’ exceptional recommendations for the organisation would provide “foundations for the growth of Australia’s oldest not-for-profit independent Indigenous education provider”.
Student Karan Multani, who also worked with Tranby on a different project to develop pricing recommendations for a new cultural competency course, said the practice-oriented nature of the subject had expanded his understanding of pricing and pricing theory.
“My idea of pricing a product or service was initially limited to the fact that it involved calculating the costs and then adding up the profit margin for an organisation aiming to yield revenue,” he said.
“Through this subject, however, I’ve had the opportunity to price a service for an actual client, and this has given me a thorough understanding of the many aspects and complexities to be considered when pricing a new good or service.”
Mr Burke, who also works as a pricing strategist for Channels Pty Ltd when he is not running pricing at the UTS, said the subject was ultimately designed to help students gain a more robust understanding of pricing – something he believes must be “experienced” and not simply learnt from the “pages of a textbook”.
“Pricing involves not only understanding the theory, but also being able to apply it,” he said.
“I have never found a perfect pricing textbook which I could hand to a student and say, ‘here you go, go price that product’. They don’t exist and no matter how much research you do, a textbook or case study will never replace actual real-life pricing experience.”
By giving students a real-world project to work on – with tangible results for the client – Mr Burke said students were graduating with valuable and sought after work-ready skills.
“From the client’s point of view, they’re provided with a workable pricing solution, which, in many cases, would not be possible due to the general shortage of resources.”