AUT students take on global virtual communications

Thursday 26 May 2011, 8:14AM
By AUT University


Small local businesses now have the opportunity to take on international clients, without even leaving the office, thanks to recent improvements in global virtual communications pioneered by AUT University.

The University’s 25 postgraduate public relations students have been exploring new theories of global communications over the last three months, while creating an authentic communications campaign for a global company with peers from universities around the world.

The project’s global team mentor, AUT senior lecturer Averill Gordon, says the opportunity offers kiwis the opportunity to be at the forefront of current international business.

“It’s a unique concept that pits global virtual PR teams together in a competitive academic environment, so these students are really pioneers in this type of study,” she said.

Gordon, who is researching global virtual teams for her PhD, says the project - called GlobCom - presents real challenges in working with different cultures, languages and time zones using a variety of technologies.

As part of the project, the students will get the chance to meet their international teammates when they present their campaign face-to-face with their client, Carl Zeiss, next month in Barcelona, Spain.

Even though it will be a great opportunity to see this project through to completion and represent New Zealand on the world stage, many of the students are struggling to finance this educational trip.

One of the students, Scott McKee, is leading the fund-raising efforts which have all been inspired by their intended destination.

“We’ve already held a Spanish themed fiesta night, where people from the community had a great time learning salsa with a Spanish dancing expert,” says Scott.

“Our next big event will be a Spanish film premier at Bridgeway Theatre in Northcote tonight, where we will be showing Biutiful, the Cannes festival winner, starring heart-throb Javier Bardem.”