APAC leaders of design: 4 schools preparing graduates for the global market
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Business is growing diverse and connected on all four corners of globe. While a business may once have only traded on a local basis, there are now few whose consumer base and expertise doesn’t stretch over international borders.

With the greatest impact falling on purchasing that takes place overseas, employers seek to take advantage of this increasingly global market. In doing so, they are looking to hire workers with international competence and a universal skill set – including the capacity to understand and act on issues and market trends of global significance.

In this everchanging world, architecture and design firms are discovering that their work is affecting the world in ways and in places they couldn’t have imagined a decade ago. A significant portion of companies now operate internationally, a fact that shows signs of expanding in line with globalisation, just as other corporations have done.

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Graduates within the design arena are increasingly drawn to international projects through the dynamics of this global business, and those that are reap the benefits if they have an understanding of global operations, already acquired in the course of their studies.

By producing competent, globally-minded graduates, universities can boost the professional success and level of workplace engagement in this competitive arena, also creating a pipeline of workers and committed lifelong learners who will be able to engage around the world and grow the international economy.

Having global experience continues to move from being ‘nice’ to a ‘must-have’ in terms of driving career success. And students who are prepared to work hard in this interconnected world will generally have exponentially greater career opportunities on graduation, whether they work locally or abroad.

With the increased need to compete, connect, and co-operate on an international scale, higher education institutions are key in providing the education standards needed to prepare the next generation of workers. But the unique combination of globalisation and computerisation has implications for architecture and design education that many schools are only starting to confront.

Schools must meet the challenge of providing curricula that prepare students for professional practice in a transnational arena, ensuring they fall parallel to the market strategies and advancements, as well as keeping pace with global change via a multidisciplinary approach that extends the capacity of individual schools and enriches the student learning environment.

Here are 4 APAC schools that perfectly prepare you for work in the global market…


Source: Victoria University of Wellington

Victoria University of Wellington is ranked in the top 2% of universities globally.  This recognition stems from our international connections, high quality research and teaching achievements, underscored by collaboration with leading industry partners that are unrivalled, most notably with the Weta Group of Companies—responsible for delivering such blockbuster films as The Lord of the Rings, Guardians of the Galaxy and The Adventures of Tintin.

The University’s degree offerings in film, animation, post-production, game design, VR and music scoring will soon have a new home— the Miramar Creative Centre. This multi-million dollar facility, located in the heart of New Zealand’s film district, is equipped with green screens, editing suites, motion capture stage and new computer labs with the same software used by film production companies around the world.

These subjects will be delivered through two degrees:

  • Animation, post-production, game design and VR are the focus of our new Master of Design Technology programme.
  • Film and music are offered through the Master of Fine Art (Creative Practice) programme.

For more information about the Miramar Creative Centre, and applying to these new degrees, please click here.


PolyU Design thrives on its geographical position in bridging the East and West, allowing students to develop their design strengths through a uniquely international cultural awareness at both professional and social levels.

Founded in 1964, this School boasts an impressive wealth of accolades to its name, including being consistently ranked one of the top design schools in the world by BusinessWeek magazine since 2006. In 2015, the School was ranked 1st in Asia and 24th in the world on the QS World University Rankings for the subject of Art and Design.

Source: Hong Kong Polytechnic University

The School offers a wealth of both undergraduate and postgraduate degree courses, including Product Design, Environment and Interior Design, and Communication Design.

The curriculum also incorporates an international exchange programme for those keen to experience study and work in different cultures, giving them a taste of what it is like to operate on a global scale.


MADA students graduate with a global outlook and sense of purpose, as well as being instilled with the skills and confidence needed to make a positive change on the world.

This tight-knit community of 2,000 students and faculty get to utilise MADA’s outstanding facilities to make their design ambitions come true. The School hosts a wealth of studios for all interests, including Architecture, Digital Fabrication, Foundry, Robot Manufacturing, and Sculpture.

While the School is based at the Caulfield Campus on the outskirts of Melbourne, it has a thriving global creative community that students are encouraged to engage with.

Here, students can pursue an international exchange or join a travelling studio – ‘working laboratories’ for design thought and production that involve the exploration of complex, real-life issues. This exposure to unfamiliar cultures, places and people stimulates students’ ability to think creatively and problem-solve.

Monash Uni also has a campus in Tuscany, Italy, where undergraduate students can apply to study part of their degree. The exquisite palaces, awe-inspiring churches and winding cobbled streets of Prato are bound to get the creative juices flowing.


The Department of Design’s academic objective is “to train creative designers of the 21st century”. Its aim is “to become a global cradle for creating novel design value,” equipped with the cutting-edge facilities and research centres needed to achieve this.

Source: Seoul National University

Located at the University’s Gwanak campus in Seoul, South Korea, the Department is home to the technology needed to take your degree to the next level, including a UX Lab in which usability evaluation and interview recordings are possible, and Mock-up Production using Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machines and a Rapid Prototyping (RP) machine.

The Department offers one four-year undergraduate program, and two-year Master and PhD in Design programs. In each of these, students are taught to appreciate the cultural significance behind design methods and tools by studying the international histories of design.

In senior years, the department nurtures professional performing ability in its students by exposing them to many different professional design fields, in which students can participate in numerous design projects with the guidance of expert teaching and research staff.

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International

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