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    Kemi Gbadebo - Design Management | A roller coaster ride

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    I love my course! I’m currently studying for an MA in Design Management at Coventry University (CU) and enjoying it. If you had asked me this time last year where I would be, I couldn’t have said here, doing what I’m doing now. With things all topsy-turvy in my life at the beginning of 2020 (and I don’t mean COVID-19 alone), I hoped that I would have started school, but it was hard to predict where I would be. It’s been a crazy roller coaster ride from school application to Covid, admission, visa application, and school registration. I’m glad to say that the roller coaster eventually deposited me at CU.

    This article is not so much about my journey through 2020 (well, it partly is) but about my current adventure here at CU. My start at CU was not great. I’ll blame it on the Covid-19 confusion that was raging then. Things fell through the cracks, there was a communication gap, and enrolment was such a nightmare that I was quite disillusioned about why I had chosen to study here. My classes have been online from day one, which was another thing to get used to. However, things smoothed out after a while, and I began to enjoy it.

    The first project I did was in the Collaboration in Practice module. It’s a project that involves all post-graduate students of the Faculty of Arts and Humanities. Our task was to create an art installation concept celebrating Coventry as the City of Culture, 2021. I was quite distracted and at sea when the module started, as there was a lot on my plate at the time. I began to understand gradually, and it became such a fun project to participate in! I was blown away by my team members’ creativity and talents and was quite impressed by our final concept.

    I should mention here that CU designed the MA Design Management course to educate managers on how to lead and manage creative people. You also learn how to look after the business side of things like budgets, resource management, etc. Participating in the CIP module gave me a taste of what this would be like in practice (without the budget part). It was fascinating to discover people’s talents and skills and learn how to draw out the best from each person. It was also humbling, facing my shortcomings, and making myself open to learning from others. I must say that the team of people I worked with were fantastic. I hope to be so lucky in the workplace. That’s one area in which CU stands out. There is such a diversity of students here- different nationalities, ethnicities, ages, backgrounds, and course disciplines. You definitely get a vast pool of terrific talent to draw from here.

    The MA Design Management course itself has been challenging on another level. My first term individual project was quite gruelling because I had to develop skills I hadn’t used before. As a creative professional, I only focused on the content, ideas creation and writing parts of projects; the visual aspects – design and output, were always handled by dedicated professionals. Suddenly, with this project, I found myself working as both the writer and the visual designer. I had to learn some basics quickly, at least enough to give my presentation a polished look. Just like engaging muscles that have been idle for a long time, it was quite painful in the beginning (at a point I wasn’t sleeping properly), but slowly, I’m getting used to them.

    Another thing I enjoy about my course is its self-study aspect. If I wasn’t sure before, this part quickly set me straight. There’s no handholding here. CU provides the materials and guidance you need, and the rest is up to you. And when I say guidance, that’s one area in which CU has shone. They provide support at every turn and ensure that students can easily access help from using the library to the Talent team, who help students access internships and job opportunities. My course director and module tutors have shown an outstanding level of support and always make themselves available to us students when needed. I’ve experienced more of that in Term 2, with the FMP and the professional context modules.

    In Professional Context, the tutors urge us to take our post-Masters’ degree lives very seriously indeed, by reflecting, planning, and taking concrete steps towards where we want to be when we graduate. I’ve never experienced this kind of dedication to planning for my life after school. The module requires us to prepare our portfolios and provide the help we need, through technical lab practice, to create excellent digital portfolios. Currently, I’m learning how to prepare a research proposal and build a research topic to be followed by the research process itself- all mind-expanding stuff, I tell you. One key thing I’ve learned about myself in this course is how much I like helping people, especially with cerebral stuff.

    Another lesson I’m learning is how to strike a balance between helping others and managing my expectations and time. This MA design Management is giving my mental, social, and cognitive skills a major revamp with every experience. Be sure to check back in about six months for the new 3.0 CU-updated version of me!

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