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  • Writer's pictureSMS USYD

Surviving Undergrad Marketing (Core Subjects Guide)

Updated: Jul 18, 2019

By Tianyi Angela Lin

Edited by Olga Zerefos

If you’re wondering what the core subjects for an undergrad marketing major are all about, and how to do well in them, you’ve come to the right place!

Note: This guide is based on 2015 – 2016 classes, hence the lecturers may differ. The assessments and style of teaching may vary with different lecturers.

Structure of the Major:

Prerequisite subject (6 credit pts): MKTG1001 Marketing Principles

Core subjects (18 credit pts): MKTG2112 Consumer Behaviour MKTG2113 Marketing Research MKTG3118 Marketing Strategy and Planning.

Electives (18 credit pts): For more information on elective subjects, check out our free digital careers guide here!

MKTG1001 Marketing Principles

Difficulty: easy


Varies. Dr Jeaney Yip – amazing lecturer with an efficient, organised and structured teaching style. Very knowledgeable about the subject.


This is the introductory subject to marketing, where you learn how marketing differentiates from advertising, and the crucial role it plays for any business. The course outlines key concepts and frameworks that are the basis for any marketing plan. Here you start sharpening your teamwork skills and also understand the basic assessment format for most future marketing subjects – i.e. theory-based exams, group work, tutorial participation and the 2% research tasks.

How to do well:

As the exam is set in multiple choice, learn all the concepts from the slides and test yourself on them. These concepts are also to be applied within your group assessments, wherein you’re required to further expand on lecture content. You can raise your overall WAM and GPA relatively easily with this subject, so strive to do well. Also, you should know that attending the tutorial does not guarantee tutorial participation marks! Make sure you raise your hand and make your presence apparent, to ensure that your tutor remembers you, and appreciates your contributions.

Note: There may be people who choose this subject as an easy filler, so be aware when you choose your group members (as with any other group work).

MKTG2113 Marketing Research

Difficulty: medium


Dr Jeffrey Lim – Very helpful and friendly lecturer. Well-organised lectures and very knowledgeable about the subject. Tests are fair.


This subject is about learning to design and conduct primary research (e.g. questionnaires, interviews) and analysing those results (using the software SPSS) to form marketing insights (i.e. conclusions) that will inform your marketing plan.

How to do well: 1. In the multiple choice exams, just understanding the concept is not enough. You will need to learn how to apply them (e.g. what is snowball sampling and in what situation should you use this sampling method?). 2. Designing your primary research – this part is crucial!! Do not skip the planning process and don’t randomly compile a set of questions for your surveys. Think about your hypothesis and design all questions with care (i.e. follow the theory you’ve learnt when structuring the questions). Some students may find that after they’ve collected the data, it may not be relevant (this would be the worst scenario) OR it isn’t quantitative and isn’t able to be processed using SPSS. If this was to happen, you can definitely address this within your report findings, noting areas for improvement. 3. Properly learn how to use SPSS. Always concentrate within your tutorial and follow the demonstrations that your tutor will give. You will need to know the foundations of SPSS, how to run tests as well as read results for your group assessment and the final exam. Make it a priority of yours to spend time practicing your skills at the lab – even buddy up with a friend to make the understanding process easier!

Note: Don’t feel daunted by the fact that this subject involves a mathematical approach! The subject focuses on statistics (we can assure you it’s bearable!) and teaches you how to use the software SPSS. The subject is concerned with your data process, and ability to draw judgements from the results you receive. You will be taught how to conclude meaning from your results – for example determining whether colour is a significant factor when choosing an energy drink brand. In the final exam, more emphasis will be on reading the results i.e. deciphering what the result implies. Make sure you are able to read and understand the SPSS output tables!!

MKTG2112 Consumer Behaviour

Difficulty: easy – medium


Varies. Dr Christina Anthony – engages students in the lecture, is also an active market researcher.


A fairly interesting course that branches into psychology and sociology, with a strong focus on examining the consumer buying process. This course looks at the customer journey, and one’s engagement with a product/ service. You’ll learn about the processes involved in the initial stages of hearing about a product/ service, the various elements that influence a customer’s decision and the post-purchase stage. Here you can put yourself into the mindset of a consumer.

How to do well:

There’s quite a lot of theory, but thanks to the lecturer and her collection of videos, the theory is linked to real-world examples that makes the concepts more easy to understand. The application of theory is extremely important (i.e. concept + effect), and you will be rewarded for detailed answers.

Note: Depending on which semester you’re taking Consumer Behaviour; the textbook may vary. Ensure you check your Unit of Study Outline for the correct version.

MKTG3118 Marketing Strategy and Planning

Difficulty: medium


Varies. Dr Rohan Miller – Dr Miller provides a practical view of the sphere of marketing, exposing students to numerous case studies and draws from his industry experience.


Content-heavy course. Marketing strategy is the foundation of a marketing plan, that focuses on meeting the needs of customers, and achieving profit potential. It covers product strategies, competitive strategies, brand and brand portfolio strategies, global strategies, and entering and exiting processes. You’ll learn how to combine the goals and strategic direction of a company into a comprehensive plan.

How to do well:

Would recommend compiling a list of concepts covered in the course. Students should aim to understand why these strategies are employed and go beyond the theories/ textbook notes! The final exam may ask you to give strategic advice for a company and to justify it.

Note: utilise consultation times with your tutor, to ensure you’re on the right track with your assessment ideas!

We wish you all the very best with Semester 2, 2017!


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