1.    Tell us about yourself — what’s your story and what are you studying?

I moved to Cambodia when I was 15 because of my dad’s job. This was a big change for me as I transitioned from an all-girls private Catholic school to an international school.
I had always wanted to study abroad, specifically in the United States of America, but my time in Cambodia broadened my view of the world and brought me to reconsider not only where I wanted to study, but also the degree I wanted to pursue.

I was set on doing a business degree somewhere in the States but I unexpectedly fell in love with art and design largely because of my new school’s art programme, which was very supportive. The art programme allowed me to express myself in a way that I hadn't been able to before, leading me to consider pursuing design at university. However, I did have my doubts due to the stereotypes surrounding art/design degrees and how they aren’t the most practical courses to take.

At a college fair that was hosted at my school, one of the top design universities came to visit and I expressed my interest in both business and design. The college representative brought my attention to the course ’Design Management’ which is the degree I am pursuing today.

2.    Why did you choose the UK as a study destination? 

When I decided that I wanted to pursue design for university, I knew I had to go abroad as the design and creative industries in the Philippines are not as developed as those in other countries. I chose the UK because of the university I was accepted into and the new graduate visa scheme which allows international students to stay an extra two years after graduation to find a job (which is more time than other countries give their international students). Also, I liked that the course was only three years. I felt that this wasn’t too long or too short and would allow me to enter the design industry earlier than if I had taken a four-year course. This was important to me as design is obviously a very practical industry and I believe that the ’real’ lessons will only be learned by working in the industry itself. Lastly, I liked that I would have the opportunity to explore nearby cities like Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin to learn more about their art and design practices.

3.    Design Management is a unique programme. Can you share with us something you learned in your course—a concept, a best practice, a quote from your professor (anything really!)—that would help us understand this subject area?

I get this question a lot! I would say design management is the practice of selling creativity, ideas. In our world today, creating something beautiful isn’t enough anymore. You need to emphasise and share what makes your creation unique and desirable.
I learn how to take ideas apart, find their selling point and make them known to a market that will appreciate them. Some people would think that it’s just another marketing course, but I think what makes it unique is that we are taught to sell products/services in a manner that brings justice to the intention of the idea. Intention in the business world oftentimes gets lost in the pursuit of making a profit but as artists ourselves, we know the importance of staying true to intention as we do this often when creating our pieces.

4.    What has been the most exciting part of your experience studying in London? 

The most exciting part is exploring London with friends. There is so much to see and do in London, sometimes I feel like I’ll never experience it all! I also really love going to school. A nerdy answer, I know, but I am really enjoying my course and I am excited for what the second year has to offer.

5.    What are your ambitions?

I want to be successful in the design industry which I hope will allow me to bring some of my knowledge back home to the Philippines later in my career. I am not too sure what job position I am striving for exactly but with the knowledge that I have about the design industry, I feel there is a need to become some sort of mediator between the business and the design world. With this, I hope to work in a position that allows me to successfully bridge business and design together whereby the process behind creating a product/service remains intentional and fully aware of its effects.

6.    What advice would you give to Filipinos who aspire to pursue an undergraduate degree in the UK?

Do your research, ask for help, and don’t lose hope! Applying to university felt like the most stressful and daunting task ever but looking back, it doesn’t seem as bad anymore. So I would say, keep at it and trust yourself! When it’s all over I am sure you will feel the same way. Lastly and most importantly, pursue your passion. It’s going to be three years of your life (or more) so might as well pursue something that you are going to enjoy and be motivated by. The UK offers opportunities that are not available back home so if you feel that these opportunities are valuable to the career you want to build, I would say: apply, learn a thing or two, and if you are interested, bring these lessons back home to help expand the opportunities that we offer in the Philippines.


Course trip to view the London Design Biennale 2021 at the Somerset House ©

Andrea Concha

Notting Hill with friends ©

Andrea Concha

After uni picnic at the park in April ©

Andrea Concha

Walking through the Jubilee Bridge in the Summer gives you the best views of the London Eye and Big Ben ©

Andrea Concha