by Belinda Breeze

Saska Louise Povall Macnab, who graduated with an MSc with Distinction in Media and Communications at the University of Wollongong in Dubai in 2022, talks to Education UAE about her time in post-graduate studies and how it prepared her for a career in brand marketing.

Education UAE: What were your expectations going into university, and how did they compare to your experience once you got here?

Saska Louise Povall Macnab: My expectations were different to when I gained my undergraduate degree for two reasons: mainly, I began my Master’s at the end of 2020, so Covid restrictions prevented us from attending campus. Secondly, I was more focused on the academic potential I could have from the course rather than the overall ‘aesthetics’ of attending university again. The university handled my journey incredibly and I was extremely impressed with how attentive they were through online means.

EdUAE: Do you feel that there is anything unique about the University of Wollongong that sets it apart from other universities?

Saska: They have such an appreciation of their Australian roots and they welcome opportunities to allow crossover between the two universities, both with staff and students.

I am currently in between jobs and seeking a new and exciting opportunity in this field

EdUAE: What type of career are you following, where are you now living and working, and how did the university help you to prepare for this new life?

Saska: I am living in Dubai, and am following a career in Marketing, Branding and Communications. I am currently in between jobs and seeking a new and exciting opportunity in this field. The university gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation for the media in a more philosophical way.

EdUAE: What were the biggest challenges you faced in university?

Saska: I lacked confidence in myself, as I tended to interpret the tasks in a different way from my peers. However, my professors greatly appreciated and commended that, as they praised me for having a creative and enlightening perspective they hadn’t seen before.

EdUAE: What is your favourite memory of your time at university?

Saska: My favourite memory was when producing a group project, in the module Social Marketing. The project focused on supermarket chains, plastic bags and the recent turtle rehabilitation project in the UAE. The girls I worked with on this were amazing, and have become friends. Putting together this project was so interesting and we all shared a great passion for it. It made the work so enjoyable.

They have such an appreciation of their Australian roots and they welcome opportunities to allow cross-over between the two universities

EdUAE: Knowing what you know now, would you still choose the University of Wollongong if you had the chance to do it all over again?

Saska: Yes, 100%! Although I didn’t experience everything the university had to offer due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The university, the course and the professors were truly enriching, inspiring and encouraging. More so than I have experienced previously.

EdUAE: Are you still in touch with any of the other students you spent time with there?

Saska: A few, such as the girls I undertook my Social Marketing project with, and a few others with whom I was fortunate to go through the whole experience alongside. They are an incredible group of intelligent and aspirational individuals, whom I am glad to have met.

EdUAE: Finally, do you have any advice for students getting ready to start university?

Saska: University at any age, I believe, is a time to truly be yourself and become immersed in everything you find interesting. The support group from professors to peers that you can build is amazing. No one else should dictate what you should do. It is a time for you to grow!