Marina Utami MA  Advertising and Design student

Marina Utami

Please tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

I have always been interested in art and design ever since I was a child. I knew back then that I was going to take a Bachelor degree in a design course. After I graduated in my home country, Indonesia, I worked as a Motion Graphic Designer and Art Director in a couple of branding companies. Then I worked for a digital agency named Talk Creative Design Studio, based in the U.S and Indonesia for 6 years. It was here that I finally learnt that my passion lies in animation, branding and digital promotion.  

What made you want to apply to your MA course and to Leeds?

Even though I have so many experiences and skills in the industry, I always felt that it was not enough. There were some things I could not learn by just working in a design agency. I knew that I needed to expand my knowledge and gain a different perspective. When I compared the quality of my design to the international level, I realise that I was out of the equation. I was a big fish in a small pond. So I decided to get myself out of my comfort zone, by applying for a Master Degree in a country where Art and Design thrives. The UK was on top of the game with many Design awards and powerful agencies based there. That is why the UK has always been my first choice as the stepping stone to my career. 

The Advertising and Design course at the University of Leeds is based in both the Business School and Design School, which I think was a very good combination. Another reason that I chose Leeds is the city’s atmosphere and the quality of life, especially for the students. Leeds welcomes international students from many countries, allowing me to expand my network.

What is it that makes you passionate about your area of study?

The MA course helped me develop my interest in the Advertising industry further. I love the progress of brainstorming, being able to solve problems and coming up with ideas. The course offers many different aspects and theories to learn. I got to learn the design side and business side in one course at the same time. 

What would you say about Leeds as a city?

It is a ‘student city’ indeed! From the first time I came to Leeds, I have enjoyed the quality of life here. The city centre was near enough the university, plenty of shopping areas, bars and good restaurants. It is full of amazing events and festivals throughout the year. 

Whenever I feel bored, I can always visit the countryside around Yorkshire easily by the bus. Ther are plenty of things to do in Leeds, such as: visiting the museums, the canals and the historic sites.I had a good time during my stay and it felt like Leeds has been my home all along.

What has been the most surprising thing about coming to Leeds?

I did not expect that my student life would be this fun! I thought that I would just study, study, and study. But there were many things that I saw and did which became my inspiration. 

Another surprise is that my course was filled with many people from different backgrounds of education and nationality. It allowed me to expand my network.

What would you say about the learning facilities in your School and at the University in general?

The University offers plenty of study areas in several Library and Computer Clusters, but I spent most of my time at the School of Design where they provide good spaces to study too.  The Grass Studio was a good place for the team to do some brainstorming, and the iMac & Computer Cluster includes Adobe Software that can help us with the design activities. 

I'd also like to thank my tutor, Kishore Budha, who always helped me and my team whenever we needed his guidance. His fast response really helped me whenever my team and I had to make a critical decision.

What other activities are available for students to take part in outside of their studies, and which ones have you tried out yourself?

I attended several international students meeting where I was able to socialise with other students in a similar situation to myself. The ‘Game Night’ was totally fun too!

I often go to the Edge Gym, where I swim or take part in the classes. There were also ‘Get Out Get Active’ activities to enjoy at a weekend, such as trekking and hiking around the UK. There are plenty of societies that can match your interest. I was surprised at how many groups and societies there was at the Student Union, they have everything!

My team and I also took a part in several Design competitions and can proudly say that we made it into the finals. It was such a good experience for us to be featured in international design awards (D&Ad Awards and Edcom Competition).

What do you plan to do now you’ve finished your course, and how do you think the skills and knowledge you’ve developed at Leeds will help with these plans?

I am planning to continue to work in an agency where I will be able to use my skills and knowledge that I gained at the University of Leeds. My long-term plan is to do a PhD in Design at the University of Leeds as well.