A BA in Creative Writing can help launch a successful portfolio career in the creative industries. Maja Antoine has set up own company and built her expertise as a diversity and inclusivity consultant in marketing and publishing.
Since graduating from Essex, where has your journey taken you?
Since graduating, I have started and maintained my own company - Maja's Education Project, I am a Diversity & Inclusivity Consultant and Campaign Manager for marketing agency Tandem Collective, and I am a Youth and Diversity Officer for Essex Book Festival.
Why did you decide to study at Essex?
When visiting the campus, I felt welcomed almost immediately and could imagine myself living/studying there straight away! The LiFTs department seemed like my kind of place, and I couldn't wait to be a part of it and put it as my firm choice.
What did you enjoy most about your studies?
Screenwriting was my favourite module and writing my dissertation! I loved the creative freedom that I had in most of my assignments, I think I really flourished in the modules where the assignments involved a lot of creative writing/thinking. My dissertation let me study closely into something I really cared about and use everything I'd learned over my studies, which I loved too.
What is your favourite memory of your time studying at Essex?
Meeting my best friend! Living together and having our university experience together really made the tougher times so much easier.
How did you find your current job?
It found me! After starting my company, Tandem reached out asking to work with me and I said yes. I think my advice would be to put yourself out there as much as you can! I had no marketing experience, or professional consultancy either! But Tandem had seen my work and reached out. So, put yourself on the platforms/in the places that you want to be in one day.
Please describe a typical day in your current job:
There isn't one! Every day I get to try new things. From content creation and blog writing to managing indie film campaigns and interviewing authors, I love it all. My favourite element is that I get to develop new skills and try new things whenever I want to. As a freelancer, I'm in control of my work and Tandem allows me to work in areas I want to try out. One day I might be making a film review TikTok at a Curzon cinema, the next I might be reading an unreleased book and pitching a campaign!
What words of advice would you give to someone looking for a similar role?
Take things at your own pace, and only do what makes you comfortable. People might jump into things you're not quite ready for and that's fine! You might even come into tough times, just take things one step at a time. Don't put too much pressure on yourself, use all of the resources you can, and reach out for help when you need it. I wish I did that more!
Do you have any current challenges?
Being self-employed whilst Autistic/ADHD is tricky. I'm in charge of a lot of things that a salaried job would usually take care of, and there is a lot less security than a regular grad job might give me. It's hard to keep up, and it's a lot of pressure! Especially owning my own company and doing so many things, time management has never been my strong suit. But I think every time I go through something difficult, I remind myself that I'm very capable so power through regardless!
What’s your next step? What are you working towards in your career?
I want to develop my company further and hire people to help me out! I also want to dip into the tech world, so might look into some online courses. I always want to try new things and push myself in as many areas as I think I might be good at, so my next steps are figuring out what my next steps are! There is no end goal, I just want to keep going.
Would you say your degree is relevant to what you are doing now?
Yes and no. I wanted to go into marketing before I applied to university and changed my mind, then changed it back during my second year. I chose my course based on something I loved rather than future career prospects, then brought the two together. I'm now in marketing for film and book releases, which is great for me as I studied film and creative writing and took marketing courses on the side!
How did your time at Essex prepare you for the workplace? Did you have support from our careers centre? Did you undertake a placement or work experience while studying?
Honestly, I didn't think much about the future whilst I was studying. I just wanted to experience life as it came and think of the future later down the line. By doing this I was able to learn more about myself and what I wanted to do or was good at before looking into what careers I could apply that to, rather than jumping headfirst into a field I might hate in the end.