Ayushi Shah has just graduated from UNSW and sums up her time in three words: flexiblecrazy and diverse.

Flexible because it allowed her to structure her degree based on her interests. 

Crazy because of the opportunities and freedom of university life. 

And diverse due to the nature of working on a truly global campus. 

Ayushi was born in India and grew up in Singapore. She moved to Australia in 2015 to study a Bachelor of Arts (media and film) and Business (marketing) at the UNSW Kensington campus in Sydney.  

“I always knew I wanted to do something commerce-related,” Ayushi says. “And it was going to involve advertising and marketing.”

Ayushi studied commerce and media in her first year but in 2016 switched to a business and arts degree, which gave her the chance to delve into both media and marketing.

She advises future students to make the most of the flexibility on offer at UNSW, by trying a variety of subjects in their first and second years before deciding on their major.

“Really diversify,” she says. “Try out all the different fields and streams and explore them because you don’t get to do that after university.”

Obtaining the degree has put Ayushi on the path to realising her dream job, which is making billboards and commercials for television and Youtube for an advertising firm. 

She favours working for global ad agencies Omnicom or Ogilvy.

“I would walk into work and go into a brainstorming room,” Ayushi envisions her ideal day. “And we’d just throw ideas around about how we could sell a product and spend the whole day in a creative bubble.”

She has already put the practical steps in place to kickstart her career by doing work experience in her free time. 

During the summer holidays back home in Singapore, she worked at Omnicom’s smaller subsidiary PHD Media Group and the medium-sized digital marketing startup PurpleClick.  

There she tried her hand at SEO marketing, client presentations and pitches, among other duties. 

In Australia, she has also worked part-time at the Bondi-based organic beauty startup Wanderess, helping owner Jessica Kiely and her team attract new clients.

But it’s not all work and no play. Ayushi joined UNSW’s ARC student club and met some “fun and cool people” doing all kinds of different degrees whom she could just catch up or have a coffee with. 

Like Jeeves who sometimes does stand-up comedy. “He is this bubbly fun guy who will slip in jokes when you’re all serious in situations and catch you off guard,” she says with a laugh. 

Through ARC, Ayushi got involved as a senior volunteer in the annual Artsweek for two years, where creatives from UNSW display their works across campus.  

Her role was to help set up the structures for the artwork, answer questions and sift through applicants’ submissions to ensure their work fit the theme for that year. 

A big cardboard with paint-filled balloons attached was one of her favourite interactive installations. “We just threw pins at it, and that made the art,” she says.

And another, where people had to catch their cupcake orders from small parachutes that were dropped from the campus Clock Tower, she says. “That was a lot of fun to do! We also made those parachutes.”

“It was crazy because I did a lot of different things,” she says about her time at UNSW.     

As someone who is a very social person, Ayushi says one of the best parts about studying the arts at UNSW is the diverse range of people she got to meet. 

“We all kind of meld well together because we have that same goal of trying to get through a course or an assignment,” she says. 

Ayushi lived the first two years on-campus at UNSW where she had the support of staff and other students to help her transition into Australian university life.

“The first year was hard because I was away from family and friends,” Ayushi says. “But the second year is good because once you make friends then you go with the flow.”

In her third year, her sister moved to Sydney from Perth and the two rented an inner-city apartment together. 

Outside of university, she joined local fundraiser MKA Youth and helped build their website from scratch. She also reignited her passion for dance by choreographing for a group of about 12 friends for the annual Sydney-based competition BollyAus.  

As for the future? Ayushi is looking to kickstart her career here in Australia, but thanks to UNSW’s global education, the world is her oyster. 

Rachel Gray