What comes to mind when you think about going to university? The hallowed halls? The secretive fraternities? The partying? The long commute? Not being able to get a job after graduation despite shelling out big bucks at a private institution?

M2 Academy is planning to change all that (except the partying, of course), starting with its spacious four-storey Orchard Gateway campus opening right in the heart of town in September.

M2 Academy is on the 11th floor of Orchard Gateway @ Emerald

M2 Academy is on the 11th floor of Orchard Gateway @ Emerald

Night or day, Orchard Gateway is your study room and playground

Night or day, Orchard Gateway is your study room and playground

Awesome view of Orchard Road from the M2 Academy campus

Awesome view of Orchard Road from the M2 Academy campus

The first thing chief executive and founder Mark Coggins will have you know is, the aim of an education at M2 Academy is to equip you with the right skills and make sure you get a foot in the right door even before you graduate.

M2 Academy CEO and co-founder, Mark Coggins

M2 Academy CEO and co-founder, Mark Coggins

Partnering with the University of South Australia, M2 Academy first looks at the needs of the workforce before rolling out courses for targeted industries. Students who are already diploma-holders and starting classes in September can choose from four Bachelor’s degree programmes, namely: Communication and Media, Business (Tourism and Event Management), Engineering (Honours)(Mechanical) and Commerce (Accounting). A Master’s degree programme in Engineering Management is available for those who are interested in furthering their progression as a professional engineer.

The industry-relevant coursework will include:

 Corporate case studies, workshops and projects with opportunities to assist with industry-based projects or work alongside professionals from relevant industries

 Regular industry-led practitioner presentations

 Networking events

 Career mentoring

 Access to dedicated and experienced career services team

 Partnership with specialist recruiters and Industry Associations & Memberships

University of South Australia (UniSA) is recognised globally as one of Australia’s rising stars. UniSA is also the youngest university in the world Top 50 of new universities in both the Times and QA University surveys; 14th in research rankings in Australia.

M2 Academy has already lined up behemoths such as McCann, Ogilvy, Bloomberg, Hyatt, Marriott, Microsoft and OCBC Frank to get involved in their hands-on learning components. CEOs of these key industry players will also be invited to share what undergraduates need to know about their dream jobs.

Interactive tutorials are held in spacious and well-lit classrooms

Interactive tutorials are held in spacious and well-lit classrooms

Such interactive learning components are supposed to help students formulate where they want to end up in the industry, said Mr Coggins. The industry-led, up-to-date curriculum will be taught by a full in-house academic faculty, of which 70 per cent hold doctorates and most have working experience in their respective fields.

Internship programmes are in the pipeline for next year. And as two more varsity partners from the United Kingdom and the United States join them next year, students can look forward to more job-of-the-future type of Master’s degree programmes, like Cybersecurity, said Mr Coggins, who was the CEO of Kaplan Asia-Pacific from 2003 to 2012.

Teaching staff at M2 Academy will be permanently inhouse

Teaching staff at M2 Academy will be permanently inhouse

Doing a time trial discussion with a tutor

Tutorials are highly interactive and intellectually stimulating

He added, “My philosophy is that a university shouldn’t be all about delivering a degree. I’m more concerned about how to deliver ‘experience equivalence’ – the process of how one has studied for the degree is more important than the certificate itself.”

The academy is looking to enrol a quota of 500 students for the upcoming semester. With 13 classrooms which can seat up to 36 and one auditorium which can seat up to 72 people, the city-centre campus is comfortably outfitted so you won’t feel cramped. When I visited last week, I was happy to see cosy cubbyholes, plush chairs, open benches and tables positioned in areas which look out to the lush rooftop garden of Orchard Central. Who needs hallowed hallways when you have the perfect view of our metropolis from floor-to-ceiling glass windows?

Love the classrooms with a view!

Love the classrooms with a view!

Spacious auditorium

Spacious auditorium

Study area on 11th floor

Study area on 11th floor

If you’re looking to acquire not just a fancy degree but some really useful employability skills, look no further than M2 Academy. It looks all set to help you become somebody.

M2 Academy in a nutshell:
Address: 11th floor, Orchard Gateway @ Emerald (across the road from [email protected])
Courses offered for now – Bachelor’s degree programmes in Communication and Media, Business (Tourism and Event Management), Engineering (Honours)(Mechanical) and Commerce (Accounting); Master of Engineering Management (MEM); Diploma programmes also available, check out their website for the full list
Partnering university: University of South Australia
Length of study – Two years for diploma holders to achieve their BA
Cost – $21,000 to $28,000, depending on which BA programme; POA for MEM programme
For more info: http://bit.ly/M2Academy_Alvinology

Don't miss the entrance to Orchard Gateway@Emerald; there's an M2 Academy standee there to guide you

Don’t miss the entrance to Orchard [email protected]; there’s an M2 Academy standee there to guide you

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Just visit the M2 Academy campus to get a 3-month premium Spotify Account for free

Just visit the M2 Academy campus to get a 3-month premium Spotify Account for free