Graduate Student Interview: Marie Parra

Why did you want to go to UT for your master’s degree? 

I really wanted to get more knowledge and experience working on advertising campaigns, meeting peers who were interested in the same topics, and learning from professors that have been in the field before. I studied psychology in undergrad so I was really interested in consumer behavior, which is a large part of advertising. I looked at some of the courses that the graduate program had to offer and they spanned a variety of topics that peaked my interest. 

Why did you choose the general track? 

It allowed me to take a variety of classes that span a wide range of topics. When I was looking at the different classes that the grad program had to offer, I really wanted to be able to cover a breadth of courses relative to advertising. I’ve taken classes like fashion PR and consumer behavior, which both tap into psychology and communications. They gave me the foundational skills so I can be successful in the advertising industry.

What is your favorite part about being in the program?

I've gone through more than half of the graduate program so far. I would say the best part is the people I’ve met. I think when you’re able to collaborate with creatives and strategists you can gain a lot of important technical and soft skills. Not only has it been great to learn from other peers and work on group projects together, but also making friends and finding a community and support system in Austin has been nice.

What’s your favorite class you’ve taken so far?

My favorite class so far has been Fashion PR with Dr. Amber Hutchens. It's part of my elective class that I chose to take. It’s an asynchronous class, which means we watch video recordings and read articles on our own time. It’s really interesting to be able to see how much social media can affect fashion, but also how much fashion can affect advertising and social media. There’s a flow where they both affect each other. 

What is your best advice for graduate students who don’t know which track is right for them?

I would say to talk to your classmates, peers, and also your professors. The really great thing about the program is that in your first semester you have to take core classes that do give you a glimpse into what each track is like. But definitely asking the students a year above for their experiences, what they like and what they don’t like about the different tracks. 


Emily Hoppie