Hello! I’m Asha Samuel.
Storytelling is one of the most critical approaches to engaging with our audience that allows us to connect through words. I am here to tell you my story in 5 steps from how I chose my career as a graphic designer to why I moved to digital marketing; and how Salford Business School prepared me for a career to set my foot in the world of Digital Marketing.
Step 1: Choosing the Right Path
Art has always sparked my curiosity. I’ve always been a creative and artistic person. Since childhood, I used to draw, sketch and paint with various mediums and have also conducted holiday workshops.
After high school, I chose to do a graduation course associated with my area of interest. I’m a B.Sc Visual Communication graduate. During my academic years, I was a rank holder in Graphic Design subject. I also had the opportunity to do my internship in a well-reputed advertising agency.
Step 2: Finding My First Job
I found and started my very first job as a Management Trainee and Client Servicing Executive where I learned a lot and it was indeed the best job anyone could wish for. Planning, development, vendor management, multi-tasking, problem-solving, IT skills, copy writing, meeting deadlines, negotiation and coordination for sales. I was offered an additional opportunity of being an in-house graphic designer and I took it up without any second thought.
As a fresher, I was relatively unskilled in design and found the profile very interesting and challenging. However, as I progressed, I found myself developing new skills and was able to multi-task and learned to practically and creatively apply what I had learned in college. My company allowed me to learn, try and experiment and had the confidence in me, which I am grateful for to date.
Down the line, I realised I cannot be a jack of all trades so I focused and specialised to be a Graphic Designer. Meanwhile, I took up freelance projects (mostly unpaid like many amateurs) in the beginning and once I got a good project, I upgraded myself and started getting paid.
Step 3: New City, New Career
Later on, I moved to a new city and found an exciting job in a digital marketing agency as a graphic designer. I had developed numerous branding designs, digital campaigns, presentation decks, social media posts, and newsletters to name a few with an experience in various sectors. During my work tenure, I had closely worked and coordinated with the in-house digital marketing team and effectively liaised and developed cross-functional relationships. With my design experience, I could manage the design process from conceptualization to final delivery.
One day during work I got to collaborate with my colleagues on a project and realised how the job responsibilities like SEO, SMM, SEM, campaigns for the target audience, cost-effective paid promotions, consumer insights, customized solutions, brand management, analytics and strategies to create a brand value, etc., have made an impact digitally on every aspect of life, be it a small-scale business to multinational businesses. Underlining the importance of working digitally in today’s environment is ever increasing day by day which inclined me to know and learn more. That’s when I decided that a master’s degree in Digital Marketing was the best option to pursue an in-depth understanding of the subject and would help in instilling better ideas creatively and efficiently.
Step 4: Delayed Decision Making
I always wanted to do my higher studies but, once I had started my first job I was way too focused and didn’t want to go back to being a student. Later I had taken a career break and things were great until the pandemic hit in 2020, changing everything overnight. People were losing jobs while my desire to restart and find a new job was way off my control. Like many others, I was stuck at home feeling unclear and clueless, when a friend of mine jokingly said if we could go back in time and be a student things would have been less stressful. That did strike a chord.
Unlike most students, my decision was quite delayed but, I didn’t give up. It’s never too late to learn something new, and now is the best time to learn. One of the most thought-provoking aspects of studying after a long break, migrating to a new country and leaving your family behind was not a piece of cake for me. I gathered the courage and made up my mind to go forward to pursue my higher studies. Of course, with perseverance, dreams and the support of my family and friends. COVID-19 was indeed a blessing in disguise for me to realign my plans in life.
Step 5: Self-motivated Salfordian
I had opted for the University of Salford for several reasons as it is one of the highly ranked Globalised Universities in the UK, with outstanding student satisfaction and great research quality. I was interested in the way the course was outlined providing the expertise demanded in the digital marketing environment, managing digital marketing assets and campaigns, social media management, and understanding the psychology of offline and online consumers. The CIM-approved and accredited curriculum was yet another significant factor where we could improve and specialize our current talents from the diverse options provided; empowering us to enhance our professional profile while gaining the digital and social media marketing knowledge essential in today’s demanding digital global economy.
The course had 4 modules – Digital Marketing Analytics and Strategy, Online and Offline Consumer Behaviour, Digital Marketing Communications and Search and Social Media Marketing followed by an Industrial Collaboration Project which would further reinforce the subjects studied.
Each module had theoretical learning with interactive lectures and Q & A sessions. However, the seminars, case studies and workshops were engaging as we had to collaborate with a group of diverse students to discuss, strategize and implement essential marketing strategies into practice. We had an opportunity of running our own virtual company, and to manage that business as part of the practical learning. We got to share our ideas and come up with exceptional results for the tasks given within the stipulated time. This practice helped me to interact, express my ideas and to work efficiently and also to have an in depth understanding. It also enhanced my research and presentation skills and developed my analytical and problem-solving skills further.
As part of the course, we had a practical assessment for the last module – Search & Social Media Marketing to develop our brand where we had to promote ourselves as a brand to the job market in the UK. I had the opportunity to analyse, plan and implement all that was taught to enhance my online presence. The subject covered areas of Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, Communication Strategy, SEO tools, Keyword Research, Marketing Strategies, Paid Advertising, UTM Campaign Tracking and Google Analytics to name a few.
I was a part of the Salford Business School – International Students Committee as a Wellbeing Officer. I have also had the opportunity to be a Student Mentor for two groups of new intake students where I got to interact, communicate, maintain relationships and build a student network which bettered me as a person. I can proudly say having good time management skills made me efficient in everything I did.
I strongly believe that this is one of the best life decisions I made. Moving into Manchester was a great option as it is the next big tech hub offering innovation and growth and also by being the third best city to live in the world.
Lastly, I cannot emphasize enough that if we are hardworking and passionate, we can reach places we never dreamed of. Dreaming big means seeing past all obstacles and limitations to achieve our life goals, even if they appear to be impossible.
This is my story in short…What’s yours?