Communication graduate: Samantha Packham
Account Executive for MercerBell
Bachelor of Communication (Digital & Social Media) - 2018
As with a lot of young adults during the HSC, I had no idea where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. What inspired me to pick the Digital & Social Media course at UTS was the fact that this course was so reactive to the changed media environment. No other Australian university at the time was current enough to offer students a course that really was trying to keep with up modern day issues.
Looking back, what were some of the highlights of your time at UTS?
I do have a number of great memories of my time at UTS. A number of them actually occurred abroad. Specifically, in the summer of 2016, I attended Michigan State University and studied digital media marketing and social media planning. On this exchange, I was with a number of young Australians from across Australia. Being my first trip abroad on my own, it was great to hear some familiar voices. I would highly recommend this exchange course to anyone studying Digital and Social media at UTS. In 2017, I was again sponsored by UTS and attended Loyola University Chicago where I spent 9 weeks on a summer course learning principles of design and advertising. From this, I have honestly fallen in love with the city of Chicago and dream of living and working there.
What is your current title and what does the role involve?
While at UTS I completed two internships at startups that both involved me coordinating social media accounts. I am now currently an Account Executive for MercerBell, a leading customer experience agency that strives to deliver customer delight. My role involves me actively participating in a number of marketing campaigns across a number of clients including Caltex and Toyota financial services. I am closely involved with designers, copywriters and strategists in executing marketing campaigns that give real value to our clients' brands. This role is a real eye-opener on what the real world of marketing and advertising is like.
Why did you choose to study Digital & Social Media at UTS?
As with a lot of young adults during the HSC, I had no idea where I wanted to go and what I wanted to do. What inspired me to pick the Digital & Social Media course at UTS was the fact that this course was so reactive to the changed media environment. No course at any other Australian university at the time was current enough to offer students a course that really was trying to keep with up modern day issues. Specifically, the evolution of digital media and the impact of social media today. In saying this, there were some hiccups along the way with the course. Nothing is perfect. But overall I can say I made the right decision of picking the Digital and Social Media course at UTS as it taught me to be super critical and question everything.
My group among others were selected to present to the real-world client our ideas, strategy and concept. This was such a great experience and opportunity at the time.
How did UTS help prepare you for a career in digital media?
In all honesty, UTS did not prepare me for a career in digital media. This is not a problem just at UTS but a systemic issue that I think all Australians Universities struggle in preparing their students for the workforce. But UTS has taught me the best way to work with others (all of those group assignments paid off!). In any workforce, you work with people. At UTS with any Communication course, it will involve you working with a group to execute a project. I think while at UTS I underestimated and dreaded the group assignments. But, after finding the right people for my group assignments I can confidently say UTS has taught me how to effectively communicate with people and get the best out of them.
UTS also offered real-world projects. Funnily enough, UTS hosted a marketing campaign brief from MercerBell (my future employer at the time) that gave students the opportunity to work on a real-world brief from a real-world client. My group among others were selected to present to the real-world client our ideas, strategy and concept. This was such a great experience and opportunity at the time. I encourage UTS to continue to host work/assignments for students to work on as this gives us the opportunity to build our portfolio. This, by the way, was a great talking point for my interview later on in the year at MercerBell.
What advice would you give to Digital & Social Media students?
If you are ambitious and want to get stuck into the world of media, do internships while at university. You will be graduating with hundreds of your peers eyeing for the same jobs. Set yourselves apart and get yourself out their early. Employers want young future employees that have had exposure to their industry. Also, you aren't going to graduate and get straight into your dream role. I started as a part-time Office Assistant at MercerBell and applied for a junior role later on. Just put yourself out there.
What are your long-term career goals or plans?
Well, the long-term goal and dream would be to work at Leo Burnett in Chicago as a User Experience Designer. But, my plans for now include completing my Master's degree and getting as much exposure as I possibly can in Marketing. I want to be able to take all the knowledge I have gained and transition this to be a User Experience Designer specialising in customer journeys.
Learn more about the Bachelor of Communication (Digital & Social Media)