Graduate Success

Karen Uji

Employed at Collect

“After graduating from Yoobee in 2012 I got the opportunity to work in a start-up company called rewardjunkie! for eight months before landing a job as a web developer at an advertising agency called Luvly. Now I’m working in design and front end development for Collect. I design mobile app interfaces, manage the web page design and visuals and prepare marketing graphics, working in closely with the marketing team. The people in my workplace are amazing – we discuss the things we’re passionate about, our ideas and dreams and they are so supportive of our personal goals. To be able to listen to inspiring stories and visions from my bosses and work colleagues keeps me inspired.

“Spending time exploring and executing my personal project ideas is important to me. It’s not about being famous or rich, but about doing things that get me excited. Last year I published my own book, which I wrote and illustrated – a really interesting and exciting experience – and I’ve also worked as the main illustrator with an IT company in Japan to develop a chat application.

“My ACG Yoobee studies have helped me a lot in the workplace. They taught me to have a deadline or target-driven approach towards projects, which was really helpful because when I started working in the industry it wasn’t a big shock. Through the student projects we completed I learnt that sometimes actually completing a task is more important that trying to do it absolutely perfectly. My tutor also instilled in me the habit of using a visual diary. It works brilliantly if you have a creative brain and I carry one round every day, brainstorming project ideas in my lunch break and sketching and recording things that come into my head!

“I started at ACG Yoobee straight from high school. I’m Japanese, but was born in Hong Kong and spent my school years living in Bali. I knew that I was interested in design and was already exploring it personally, but I didn’t have the knowledge and skills I needed. I looked at several universities who had amazing portfolios, but their programmes were more generic and contained some subjects that I wasn’t interested in learning. Yoobee was perfect because the course was condensed, there were no exams, and I could upskill myself whilst working on projects.

“During our studies we got the opportunity to work on fun and realistic projects, aligned to the industry standard. I had the opportunity to design the cover of a book from a Japanese publisher, and I also won first place in a character design competition, with a character called Cup the Cake Thief.

“After graduating I came back and spoke at a Behance portfolio review session at the Wellington Campus. One of three speakers invited to the event, I shared what I’m passionate about, what keeps me motivated and what creative projects I’m working on at the moment. It was a very cool event to be a part of!”

Karen Studied