Grad school help required!

Dear Yo and the Rest

I am a fan of the Core77 blogs. Though I have not actively participated much through writing blogs and comments like the rest, I do take interest in visiting the various topics and browse through some of the posts regularly. Let me introduce myself to you all. I am a Product Designer based in Singapore and currently working as an Industrial Designer for a corporation. I graduated from a not a very well known arts school with a degree in Product Design. To tell you the truth, I actually had no idea what Product design was all about until I started my college education. now im happy and comfortable choosing design as my career. I believe in the knowledge economy and would like to expand my possibilities more through the medium of a good and a credible ID graduate program.

Singapore is great place to be. It is good to live here and it is closer to my home country-India. Though the design scene is not that extensive and exciting, it is surely enough for one to earn the basic skills to design. As an individual I am quite passionate about traveling and learning about different cultures and cultural ideologies. Singapore being a multiracial society has been a great place for me to learn about people in general, which I think is instrumental for designing objects and products.

Though it has not been a long time I started my job (a year now and that too in my first job), I am already thinking as to what I should do next. I would be delighted to pursue a good Graduate course but may not want to do it from Singapore or Asia per say. I have been doing a brief research on the courses offered at European Institutes and the likes of places like Design academy, RCA etc., but I some where feel lost to understand as to what to believe in. And then there is US universities like UC and RISD, Art center etc. which sound quite stable.

My strengths: Sketching, hand rendering, conceptualizing, communication (English). Committed to my work and at least understand and ensure a certain level of quality at my work place. Open to criticism.

Weaknesses: don’t have a wow! industry experience, I don’t have great awards under my belt (though I do try participate in a few).
Software: I can pretty much fulfil the industry requirement (Photoshop, illustrator, rhino, ProE etc.) though not great with slick 3D renderings

My short term goal: to work for a reputed MNC (preferably in the field of consumer product design) for couple of years.
Long term goal: to have a decent design studio in Asia.
Very long term goal: to be socially responsible (it’s not that I’m not now! But want to do it fulltime), do something good for the people, Charity, education etc.
I have strated to compile my recent works, and planning to re-work some of my school projects. Planning to revive a few concepts. The last time I worked on my portfolio was after school to get a job. I have worked out a time plan and would like to discuss in another post may be :smiley:

Why US for me:
The design industry scene is big. Credible education scene. Lots of companies. At least I can partially get back the return of my investment. Some of my family members reside there. I am might be interested in temporarily relocating to the US , but there are too many options. I am not a rich lad so money is great problem for me as I have already spent a chunky share of my dad’s savings doing my Bachelors. But cost can be overcome with determination and hard work. Places that I have chosen to apply for graduate studies in the US:

Ohio-State Univ.

(Please suggest somemore if possible and also I would like to know which places require GRE.)

European Schools :
I’m quite confused about the European scene. And I hear the EU is a tough nut to crack compared to the US. No idea of the cost. I didn’t like London that much in my last trip. But I have no idea of the rest of the countries in Europe.

Asian schools:
I’m already a UG from one!

when: July/August 2009 or fall session should be the ideal for me.

I know it’s a lot of questions, but I would be really thankful for all your help and guidance.


you say your short term goal is a better job and long term is to start your own business, correct?

I don’t think either neccessarily requires an MID to achieve.

Work on your portfolio and apply to firms you respect, either part time, or full time (quit your current job).

Once you’re in a good firm and have a seinior/mgr type role, study small business (again part or full time) practices before creating your own start-up.

ID grad programs don’t actually prepare you for the reality of running a business.

Dear No_spec

thank you for your quick reply. In singapore, due to its small geographic size, there are not many design firms compared to the US and Europe. More over, singapore is a logsitics hub, so a great place for business studies, banking, finance , IT etc. My only option would be to go overseas to try for another, say, job/oppurtunity.

a very strong reason for me to choose a grad degree is I have an interest in design research and i might want to consider teaching as a fulltime profession.

there has been quite an amount of pressure from my parents as well my peers to opt for business studies or MBA (i even took the GMAT!) but somehow down the line i didnot acquire the taste for business studies, accounts and numbers.

I like to go back to my drawings board, think of ideas, get critcism , fight with mech. engnrs than gazing at a spreadsheet. (but if i am put into a situation that requires me to do excel, i dont mind drawing some tables and graphs , if its for a design costing, material procurement etc.)

i would treat a masters degree as an asset and one of the good ways for a designer to penetrate an ecnomy say the US, EU (if one already has a BID)… but i do not have long term plans in the west. im creating a base in asia and then branching to the west for some mind candy and exposure as i have not travelled and experienced the western way of thinking. im considering US in particular cos it appears to be clear and defined.

it seems like you’ve considered all the angles, and your going at it for the right reasons.
Apply to 10-15 schools of several teirs.
In the states it’s triple tuition at universities, but you usually get an assistantship 2nd year. unless you can teach - then perhaps 2 years of aid.
financial aid at art schools is anybodys guess.