Driven by graphic design, IMA major Teng Ma (Martin) ‘18 used his study away semester at NYU Abu Dhabi to join the basketball team, introduce a logo to the sheikh of Abu Dhabi, and contemplate how to open up design jobs in his northeast China hometown.
Why did you choose to study away at NYU Abu Dhabi?
I’m an IMA major who is passionate about technology, graphic design and basketball. The year before my study away, I had visited New York as an actor for the NYU Reality Show, and I wanted to explore Abu Dhabi to complete my travel among the three main global sites. I also had heard many good reviews about the design courses there from friends--plus, I couldn’t resist the fact that they had a state of the art indoor basketball court.
What was it like for you there?
I joined the basketball team--practice was rigorous and as early as 6:30am--I took up boxing and other fitness activities, and made a lot of friends with whom to explore the city. I loved the courses I took; a friend recommended a class called Yes Logo, taught by Goffredo Puccetti. In that course, we designed logos for WWF--the panda logo, as well as a logo for Italy and UAE’s 45 Years Celebration. My logo was picked in the top 3 of all the students’ individual designs. Professor Puccetti taught us through direct experience--from start to end, from brainstorming, using software and creating finished products. We even presented our WWF logo to the sheikh, who was impressed.
Along with design, I took a painting course and a strategic management course out of pure interest. And I believe that studying across disciplines will inform how I approach graphic design in my future plans. Learning about how people succeed and what they do to reach their goals was eye opening for me.
One the best experiences was making new friends in Abu Dhabi who are now visiting me at NYU Shanghai while they study away here for a semester. It’s really cool that our adventures together will continue.
Where are you interning and what will you do in the future?
I am currently interning at Bigger Lab, an educational startup aimed at high schoolers in China and based in Puxi, Shanghai. I am helping them meet their various design and branding needs as well as create a new visual identity. After graduation I will probably work in Shanghai for a while. But, I’m keeping an eye out for opportunities in my hometown, Changchun in Jilin province.
My hometown is far from being a big city like Shanghai. Maybe right now people aren’t paying much money to focus on branding and development of logos, but I want to eventually return and empower people there with the experiences I’ve gained in Shanghai and abroad. I want provide opportunities for other people to learn about and understand brand consulting, especially how having design skills can benefit their endeavors.