Interview with Mark Ashbridge – General Manager, The Left Bank

We caught up with The Left Banks’ General Manager, Mark Ashbridge and talked to him about why the Left Bank digital marketing business school was established, what idea was behind launching the nationally recognised Diploma of Business course and why people should consider studying at The Left Bank.

Q: So Mark tell me, what is The Left Bank?

The Left Bank is a digital business school that provides students with the opportunity to undertake Australian nationally accredited qualifications in important and emerging areas; such as Digital Marketing, SEO and SEM, Social Media Marketing, E-commerce, Website strategy and more.

The Left Bank is part of the RedHill Education Group, which is a highly regarded ASX listed private tertiary education group delivering quality education experiences to both domestic and international students.

Q: What idea was behind launching The Left Bank?

I have a background in marketing and digital strategy and recognised that the education sector was lagging behind in teaching relevant and up-to-date digital business courses.

We researched the Australian market to see if there were any quality digital marketing qualifications available, and were not overly surprised to discover that none existed. We saw this as an opportunity to develop a quality course that allows students to study this increasingly important and fast-growing area of marketing.

Q: Why did you choose the name, The Left Bank?

The Left Bank aims to provide a unique and liberating education experience and draws from the inspirational earlier era of creativity and liberation in Paris fostered by prominent writers, philosophers and artists.

Q: When did you launch The Left Bank and how has the journey been so far?

We launched in April of this year (2015) and have received an amazing response from our students and leading industry bodies. There is clearly a real appetite to support the emerging digital marketing industry with quality education.

Q: So which courses do you offer to your customers?

Currently we offer an online Vocational Diploma of Business which specialises in Digital Marketing. This course covers all of the key aspects of digital marketing and provides students with an in depth knowledge across key areas such as, Marketing basics, Websites and Digital Ecosystems, Content Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Search Engine Marketing and SEO, Paid Media and Display Advertising, e-Commerce, Data Analytics and Digital Marketing Management.

We are currently working with leading industry experts on the development of a further 2 new nationally recognised digital qualifications, so it is an exciting time for us.

Q: There are many Diploma of Business courses on the market offered by other educational providers. How does your course differ from those?

Well, we wanted a nationally recognised and accredited course that was business orientated but focused on teaching all of the relevant aspects of digital marketing and the Business Diploma qualification provided us the framework to achieve this.

Q: You mentioned you offer accredited and nationally recognised course. Could you please explain what it means for your customers and how it differs from other courses on the market?

There are many ways to access information about digital marketing. You can read tons of articles on free blogs or watch a multitude of videos on You Tube. It seems like there’s a new social media seminar or digital marketing day course being held every day, but most of these are not accredited by tertiary education regulators in Australia.

To deliver a nationally accredited course we are required to place a huge emphasis on the quality of our education and service delivery, and overall educational governance.

Q: So does it mean that it can help your students to secure a better job? Or why did you decide to launch an accredited course?

We are confident that our courses will help our students progress their careers. They might be looking to broaden their existing knowledge, looking to get a promotion, or use what they learn to improve the way they run their own small business.

Q: How did you design the course? Considering it is purely an online study, I assume there must be a lot of content available to your students.

A lot of credit for our course being so well designed must go to Jenny Williams, who helped us write and create all of the content for each subject and provided some incredible ‘learning constructs’ for us to develop the course around.

From there we utilised the many skills that we have as an education provider to introduce different delivery methods for our content and teaching so that the course is an engaging online experience.

We use a combination of interactive media files, video, some of which is our own and some through our partnership with Lynda. Quizzes, case studies and assessments round out the current content strategy for the course.

Q: How do you know if your students are enjoying The Left Bank learning experience?

We are frequently in contact with our students and also survey them several times per year to hear their views on our courses; this helps us understand where we need to improve. Our approach is that this area of education is changing daily so we need to agile enough to change our course at the same pace.

Q: Do you plan to stay in contact with your students once they complete their course? What happens when a student finishes their course?

Yes, we have a program that continues to provide students with regular and updated digital insights. The future will see some new announcements with regard to increasing our ability to connect graduating students with industry leaders.

Q: What is the plan for future? Do you plan to offer any other online courses?

As I mentioned earlier we are moving quickly to introduce two new digital qualifications by the end of 2015, which again will be written and developed by well-known market leading experts.

Anything after that is about ensuring we are providing a liberated and quality focused education experience to our customers.