Meg Walker, Auditor to Graphic Designer

Growing tired of her career as an external auditor Meg yearned for a job with more creativity. After attending an Info Session in Brisbane she signed up to the full-time course at #ShilloBRI to retrain as a designer. Flash forward and she’s now relocated to Brooklyn, New York and is working as a UX/UI designer for Milkshake

Read on to find out more about Meg’s amazing story—her experience at Shillington, life as a designer in New York and her advice to those desperately seeking a new career. 

What were you doing before Shillington?

Before Shillington. I was working as an external auditor at Ernst & Young in Brisbane. After four years of kicking and screaming, taking as much annual leave as was allowed, as well as a six-month sabbatical where I travelled a huge portion of the US, I earned my professional qualification. That was when I felt I’d truly ticked something important off my list and earned the right to move onto something that really excited the heck out of me.

Why did you choose Shillington?

I had heard about Shillington from people who had been and from ads I’d seen in magazines. I had a look at the Shillington website and thought it looked right up my alley and that there was an info session coming up in Brisbane. I had just resigned from my job and had decided to join my brother and best friend in NYC after months of nagging. I went to the info session and was really impressed with the presentation and especially the way the teacher (Belen) was able to engage the room and answer all manner of questions.

I spoke with her afterwards about the NY and Brisbane campuses and walked out of there with a skip in my step.

In the marketing material I walked out with, I saw that someone I knew had some work featured in the student work section. I reached out to him and he gave me a very honest recommendation based on his personal experience. This was the final push that pretty much sealed the deal on enrolling to Shillington.

What was your Shillington experience?

I was super excited to go to design school. I must say, having previously studied a degree in creative industries at university, Shillington was definitely more challenging. The Shillington course is basically design boot-camp. It’s a lot of hard work and I definitely found it to be an emotional experience, especially for the first time making yourself vulnerable by sharing what you create.

The teachers as well as the students become your comrades pretty quickly.

It’s such a safe learning environment and the teachers were always there to catch you if you felt like you were going to fall. Most importantly though, they make things a lot of fun and really push you to flex your design muscles so to speak.

What are you doing now? 

I hopped on a plane to NYC the week after I graduated from Shillington, spent some time interning at a not-for-profit and a digital agency. Now I’m the UX/UI Designer at a lovely amazing digital design studio in Brooklyn called Milkshake Studio. We do brand and production strategy, UX/UI, prototyping and development as well as some print design. I’ve had the opportunity to work with clients across a diverse range of industries including finance, biotech, health, services, film & production and more. When I interviewed at the studio, the partners were impressed with the breadth of work in my portfolio across both digital and print, as well as how prepared I was to talk through my design process and concepts.

What’s the best thing about your new career?

The best thing about my new career in design is loving my job! I’m very well aware that I’m one of the few people I know who actually do. They say NYC is a great place to find your ‘tribe’. I feel pretty pleased to wake up in the morning and sit at a desk amongst my ‘tribe’ of people with similar taste and ideas and get the client exactly what they need. Also, I get to wear ripped jeans and work flexible hours. Everything is much more casual than I’m used to.

We also have a lot of fun in what we do because the partners at my studio also left other careers to start it! 

What would you say to someone wanting to change to a creative career?

Brisbane to Brooklyn; auditor to designer—is not something that happens overnight. There was a lot of blood, sweat and tears that go into a change like that. I was scared to take what was a massive step in my eyes and leave everything I knew behind. In reality, it’s only a series of small and manageable steps that I think anyone can take if they’re really passionate about what they want to do and prepared to work really hard. Like me, you might look back and smile at how much you worried, how dramatic you were when the going go tough and how some moments felt like the end of the world. Hopefully though, also like me, you’ll look back at where you were and where you are now and be really damn proud.

Follow in Meg’s footsteps by discovering out more about retraining as a designer at Shillington. Head to shillingtoneducation.com for more information about our courses in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, London, Manchester and New York. 

Check out more of a amazing student’s work in our Student Showcase