MA Design Management students exhibit their career plans


MA Design Management recently held their first ever exhibition as part of the Professional Development module. The module challenged students to map out their journey in achieving their ideal career in the form of a short presentation and a written illustrated plan which was then presented to members of the Faculty of Arts, Design and Media.

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Given the rare opportunity to collaborate with BA English students, who acted as a critical colleague, the students had to decide in partnership on appropriate designs, language and linguistic skills that would enhance their narrative, strategy and mission.

Creating a flexible professional development plan for the course and beyond proved to be a highly reflective process. Fully exploiting the opportunities provided by the Master’s course, students were engaged to learn about themselves and their goal setting by identifying their personal attributes.

Students took into consideration their qualifications, experiences, values, ambitions, motivators. After they reviewed the knowledge and skills they already possessed, they then pinned down what was further needed to maximise their future opportunities for potential employment, looking at factors such as resources, networks, contacts and target industries.

All this information combined helped them visualise and verbalise their stories in the form of a video, poster or both. Students also encouraged visitors to the exhibition to engage with their presentation, offering opportunities to give feedback and tips on career progression.

A vital aspect of the assignment was to understand that design management is a research-driven action-based learning experience. Students were encouraged to keep a daily or weekly research log of their plans, actions and observations. They were also introduced to professional development tools such as VARK, Kolb’s learning styles and personality tests, which once applied, gave an insight into their strengths and weaknesses as practitioners. Aimed to see beyond the Master's course, students had to picture themselves ten years from now and build a persona around the industry and companies they’re interested in, the people they might want to connect with, and the work they want to undertake.

Speaking afterwards, MA Design Management Course Director Mersha Aftab said: “MA Design Management as a subject is fairly new, and the exhibition enabled us to visualise some of the value this subject creates for its students. Through this exhibition, we wanted to highlight how the modules help students plan their professional development and career progression. We wanted to highlight what design managers learn and develop as part of their time on the course to the School and Faculty. We aim to help students break out of the box they might be caught in – you don’t have to stay within one discipline and the course exposes you to management responsibilities and return on investment.”

Professor Hannah Vowels, Deputy Head of Birmingham School of Architecture and Design, handed out prizes to the students during the exhibition and stated, “The idea of collaboration between the English students and the Design Management students was pretty inspiring. Students that I spoke to talked about how rest of the students in the cohort are so supportive, and how you work together as a large group. I really love the idea about understanding something about yourself through talking to students from another discipline, and how they have helped the MA Design Management students to reflect on who you are, what you are doing, and thinking about the future. What a great cohort this is.”

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