As a school student in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Samurdha Jayasinghe always had a hankering to study overseas.
She was looking for a global university study experience and says she first decided on Australia because of its spectacular scenery and multicultural environment.
‘It also seemed to be easy to get around and safe. Overall, I thought it had a very chilled out, happy-go-lucky vibe, so who wouldn’t want to live in a place like that!’
With friends in Melbourne, Samurdha began researching the city’s universities and chose to apply for a commerce degree at Deakin because it seemed like the ‘perfect option’ for her study and personal goals.
‘The course offered some great study units that I would actually enjoy learning and I was super-impressed by the Deakin Melbourne Burwood Campus, its location, the Faculty of Business and Law and the student culture. The facilities were great and Deakin even supported me in finding accommodation off-campus before I moved. So, I guess it all just fell into place,’ she says.
Looking for a career path that was both dynamic and diverse, Samurdha chose to specialise her degree with management and marketing as it provided ‘a perfect balance’ for her study goals.
‘It’s learning about people, what makes them tick and how businesses can stay relevant. The course offered by Deakin included all this and more so it was an easy choice for me to make,’ she says.
During her second year of study, Samurdha completed an internship at a hotel in Colombo.
‘I worked in sales and this really showed me how theory can be applied practically – it also made me realise I liked marketing more than sales! These two functions aren’t separated in most companies but it helped shape my career goals and made a lot of sense when I returned for my third year studies. It was also valuable when I started looking for graduate jobs, as employers look for industry experience.’
Graduating in 2015, Samurdha is now working as a Marketing Executive at the Academy of Design (AOD) in Colombo – a leading Sri Lankan design school.
‘My job is in marketing communications. Basically I handle content creation and execution for multiple channels. I work with our internal team, including graphic designers, videographers, photographers and content writers to ensure that all campaigns run smoothly,’ she says.
Samurdha says she loves working in a busy environment that encourages – and values – creativity.
‘We also have so many things going on at any given time. For example, AOD is behind some great initiatives – like Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Sri Lanka – we also offer design degree programs to creative students who are ready to take on the future.’
Importantly, Samurdha’s role with AOD provides her with the opportunity to explore her own ideas, initiate new marketing strategies and tap into her passion for writing.
‘I love to write and content writing is a big part of my job, so this is also a major positive. Work is constantly challenging and we’re pushed to always come up with new ideas and campaigns so it keeps me excited about the future,’ she says.
It’s also a position that enables her to use the skills and knowledge from her Deakin degree on a daily basis.
‘From strategising to content creation, I use what I learnt at Deakin. Studying in Australia really helped me in terms of shaping my thoughts and priorities and also made me value my independence and learn how to function self-sufficiently.’