My MBA Word Map. And some ‘Design’ Thoughts.

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As I research further and further into my future career aspirations and possibilities, I’ve realised how important the element of ‘design’ is to me. As a teenager, I attended a visual arts conservatory: I spent hours animating by hand, arguing over fonts, and painting oil landscapes. More than merely a hobby, art has impacted the way I understand the world. I’m a visual and tactile person who still needs to draw diagrams, flowcharts, and word maps to process complex concepts. As above, I still spend endless hours in coffee shops, allowing the caffeine to flow through my pen to form arrows, circles, and spider webs. As Han Hoffman says, “Design is the intermediary between information and understanding.”

Through my MBA research, I’ve  discovered design consulting firms that advocate ‘Design Thinking’ around innovation and business – that perfectly aligns with my creative soul:

  1. IDEO 
  2. DOBLIN 
  3. FROG DESIGN

From Doblin, I love their  Ten Types of Innovation framework – which provide a way to identify new opportunities beyond products and develop viable innovations.

Creative Confidence by IDEO founder and Stanford d.school creator David Kelley and his brother Tom Kelley is DEFINELY being added to my ‘need to read’ bookshelf!

 

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Am I able to give career advice? I’m only 22 after all.

I’ve been helping out at my old university – King’s College London – with their careers and employability office. A couple weeks ago, I went in to speak to current undergraduate and masters students at a career festival for the Film Studies program. After graduating in July, I now have 7 months of experience through my full-time job in a media agency. Walking down the all-too-familiar corridors created an interesting sensation:

Here I was in the exact same location and it’s very clear that it’s me who has changed and not the environment. In fact, the architecture, smell, feel, and people looked exactly the same as last year (when I was attending this career fair as a hopeful final year student). But this time, there was a different confident stride in my steps, not one of getting a first, but one of having job security figured out.

Most of the students were there looking for a way into the film industry. In that respect, I was their counter example of someone who veered away from the ‘artistic’ satisfaction of the creative arts for the more corporate world of marketing and advertising. I think speaking to the students was just as informative for me as it was for them. Nevertheless, I stood tall and explained my role and plans for the future in the business world.

Two weeks after the speaking event, the careers office asked me to write a blog post for them. And it finally came out, so I thought I’d share it (which was the point of my whole rant above). Enjoy:

http://blogs.thecareersgroup.co.uk/humanities/a-case-study-in-digital-advertising/

It offers some insights and advice to university students trying to figure out what they want to do after graduating by drawing on my own experiences of job hunting/soul searching.

I obviously still have so much to learn about the world of work: what skills are most employable, how to change jobs, how to progress, how to balance work/life, etc. However, I still feel that I can offer advice and help to university students, especially because the experience of transitioning lifestyles is still so fresh in my memories. It’s important for people to stay in touch with university students as they progress in their careers because, essentially, those students are the future of the work force. Their desires, mentality, and capabilities are a direct reflection of generational changes, economic situations, and cultural values. And it’s very hard to know what the future holds if you don’t understand the people that will be working it because let’s be honest, most business are people-led first and foremost. So an understanding of the younger work generation is ALWAYS key to any company that wants to grow.

Pukka Detox Tea, Chill Music, and a Sketchbook are the ideal Saturday night.

Desk **Quick observation sketch of what my desk looked like at 21:46 last night.  On a side note, my website was having difficulty with the gallery portion. Luckily, my magical IT guy (cough cough my dad) was able to fix it! So although it hasn’t been updated with new artwork… at least the old stuff is still available to view. My personal favourite is the figure drawings and oil paintings. I miss life drawing and hope to pick it up again this semester. The University of London Union do classes on Wednesdays from 18:30 to 21:30, so I’m going to motivate myself to go after work! Until then… here’s the current stuff: Figure Drawings.  And some Oil Paintings while we’re at it!

Reflections on my week in BOSTON… and a peek into Harvard/MIT.

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Reflections on my short trip to Boston:

  1. I personally found Boston to be the older and more attractive sibling of New York: the streets are cleaner, the people are friendlier, and the architecture is diverse. (Boston is the perfect mix between tradition and modernity). Plus, Boston is quite small, making the walk from the North end all the way to Cambridge a charming afternoon.
  1. The city has a bustling culture scene. I was fortunate enough to catch a Puerto Rican festival this past weekend. First, my friend and I stumbled upon a full free night concert and the next day we saw a parade! The atmosphere was absolutely joyous due to the wonderful Bostonian people and hispanic pride. The cultural diversity of the city adds to its dynamic ambiance. (Fun fact from a local: Boston has a large Puerto Rican community).
  1. Boston could easily be identified as a university area. The actual city is filled with names ranging from Northeastern, Berklee School of Music, Tufts, Boston University, and Boston College. And just across the Charles River are MIT and Harvard in Cambridge. As a student aspiring to their high calibre, I found the two prestigious universities to be aweing and yet normal. By talking to current students, it became clear that going to Harvard or MIT was difficult (but DEFINITELY not unattainable through hard work). Insider information: Harvard students pee on the statue of John Harvard, so DON’T rub the foot. Also, MIT students love climbing on things… buildings, the alchemist statue, etc.
  1. The transportation was easy to use and efficient. I was staying at MIT in Cambridge, which was closely connected to the city through the T (metro). There were also buses and other quick links. I’m biased because I live in London, but hey, for an American city the public transportation was pretty good!
  1. So much to do! So much to see! So much to enjoy! There are museums, historical sites, comedy clubs, malls, movie theatres, Red Sox games, food markets, parks and so so so much more. Additionally, the city appears to care for its citizens. For example, the greenway is a park stretch from the North End to South Station. AND there’s free wifi on this strip (it also has benches, tables, fountains, and vegetation).
  1. The people were absolutely lovely. The population sample was probably skewed away from students because it was summer, but I found Boston to have a nice mix of students, young professionals, and established business suits. Although it heavily depends on the area, Boston also has a nice balance between the different socio-economic classes.

Personal recommendations for places to visit:

  1. Boston Commons
  2. Faneuil Hall Marketplace/Quincy Market – bustling food and clothing stores
  3. Beacon Hill – where the rich people live
  4. North End – Italian part (must try cannoli)
  5. Newbury Street – shopping and beautiful area
  6. Freedom Trail
  7. The financial district
  8. The Boston Harbour Inn
  9. The different university campuses (especially Cambridge)

Food/Drink:

  1. Eat lunch or dinner on top of the Prudential Tower for an amazing view of Boston
  2. Coffee and a sandwich at Thinking Cup
  3. Coffee shop experience =  Flour Bakery and Cafe 
  4. Brunch in Cambridge – Area Four (they serve pizza!)
  5. Boston Common Coffee (why go to Starbucks when Boston has its own chain?)
  6. La Burdicks – for a hot chocolate experience like a true Harvard Student
  7. Georgetown Cupcakes – there’s one on Newbury street

Final Conclusion: Boston… I’ll be coming back for you someday. You absolutely took my heart away!

An extract from the introduction of my Film Studies Dissertation (King’s College London)…

This dissertation is situates within the growing research around the stylistic use of digital technology and new media in contemporary cinema. My main area of investigation will be the virtual camera in narrative computer-animated films, with a precise interest in musical cinematography. The term ‘musical’ refers to the narrative premise of analysing song or dance sequences, while the term ‘cinematography’ refers to the stylistic and aesthetic form of the camerawork. The musical context provides a point of consistency across the films and sequences chosen for formal analysis, thereby providing a lineage between different production methods and styles. Prince argues that that digital technology builds “on stylistic traditions established by filmmakers in earlier generations … while providing new and more powerful tools to accomplish these ends.”[1] Likewise this dissertation will explore the stylistic developments in computer-animated films in relation to past cinematic traditions.

This investigation is structured around the aim of outlining and testing the term ‘digital cine-mobility,’ as a cinematic style, through comparisons with established stylistic traditions. Chapter One will explore the visual effects of cel-animation and computer-animation in relation to the Walt Disney Animation Studio. Chapter Two will study the moving camera of the American film musical. And finally, Chapter Three will scrutinize the term ‘digital cine-mobility,’ which we will initially define as, the selection of fantastical, playful, and impossible camera movements in computer-animated films. The concept of digital cine-mobility is framed around a lively camera that presents spatially dynamic, effortlessly integrated, and kinetically expressive movements. The aim of this investigation is to progressively examine, and attempt to define, the descriptive terms above.

[1]  Stephen Prince, Digital Visual Effects in Cinema: The Seduction of Reality (New Brunswick, New Jersey, and London: Rutgers University Press, 2012), 4-5.

What Does It Feel Like To Write A Dissertation? … it’s like braiding hair!

What Does It Feel Like To Write A Dissertation? ... it's like braiding hair!

I like to use the analogy that writing a dissertation is like braiding hair.

Don’t be fooled if it sounds easy. This isn’t a simple three-part braid. No no, your customer (or dissertation supervisor) wants a whole hairstyle, not just the braid. You have three chapters, each is like its own braid, which then has to weaves together into one. Plus, you have your introduction and conclusion, the equivalent of styling the bangs in the front and the stray hairs in the back.

It’s also a process, a journey. You try one strand of hair here and then another there and when that doesn’t work, you undo the braid and try again with the knowledge and experience you gained in trying the first time. It’s a constant process of putting a strand of hair in and then stepping back and seeing if it works. Then if that quote, errrm…. I mean strand of hair, doesn’t fit in with the other twists and turns of the style… Then it has to be taken out. Sometimes, you finish a whole fishtail braid and just as you’re about to tie the end… You realize the fishtail style doesn’t work with the hairpins you originally chose! Time to re-try weaving the hair strands together in a French Braid.

Lastly, let’s not forget about functionality. Hairstyles not only have to look clean and well-put together, they also have to hold when put to the test. Wedding hairstyles, gymnasts’ buns, horse-riders’ braids… They all have to stand the event/physical activity. Similarly, your dissertation has to be well-written/presentable AND be defendable/rooted in a research methodology.

And at the very end, you hairspray the style with footnotes, a bibliography, a filmography, a cover page, and a table of contents… And voila! You step back and you have a dissertation hairstyle!

Study Abroad Experience on the King’s College London Website

Well ladies and gentlemen,

I am officially on the King’s College London Website for a second time. This time I was asked to write about my study abroad experience at the Sorbonne – Paris III and I even got to include some pictures!

Click here to read about my Study Abroad Experience on the King’s College London Website