Sergio Robles de Medina

If you want to go abroad, start on time!
Keio Media Design (KMD), Keio University Graduate School of Media Design, Japan
Class of 2010 (Graduated in 2013)

What was important in making up your mind?
The most important thing for me was the decision to really go for something that I really wanted. As such, I really wanted to study abroad, especially in Japan, which eventually led to me applying to the Keio University Graduate School of Media Design in Tokyo. Since the application procedures in Japan were a bit different, and I wanted to have some time to focus on other things, I decided to apply for a position for 2014. Fortunately, I was accepted, and I will be starting the Media Design Master in September. In the meantime, I am doing some online courses (MOOCs), learning some basic coding/programming, and I am also improving my skills with regards to the editing of images and videos.

What made you decide to choose for this master?
It was a relatively easy decision for me, really. I am simply really interested in Japan, and in the third year of IBCoM I already went on an exchange to Keio University in Tokyo. It was there that I initially heard about how much fun the Keio Media Design Master students had. Media design is something that I find interesting, and because people were so enthusiastic about it, it immediately got my attention. So I did some research on it and found that I could really identify with the Master’s philosophy and way of educating. While, of course, the Master deals with theory, it also puts a great deal of emphasis on practice, which was something I was really looking for. Generally speaking, the Master options in the Netherlands are really theoretical and are only one year programs. These simply did not appeal to me, which made the decision for me to try for the Media Design Master in Japan much easier. Moreover, Keio University is quite a prestigious and rich school, featuring a state-of-the-art learning environment with all the newest technologies. I figured that if I really wanted to focus on media design, this would be a good place to do so.

How would you describe the connection between IBCoM and your master?
That is still hard to say, as I have not started as of yet. I can say, however, that IBCoM has given me a solid foundation of knowledge and research skills within the fields of Media and Communication. I expect the Master in Media Design will build nicely upon that foundation, and will allow me to go beyond the theory. There will also be lots of collaboration involved in an intercultural setting, which is something that IBCoM has already prepared me for.

How would you describe your master?
The main focus is on creativity. KMD aims to train talented individuals to become media innovators on a global scale, building and running new industries for the coming “creative society”, where the driving force is creativity. This then concerns new innovative technologies and the enrichment of human societies, amongst other things. In order to establish all of this collaboration is one of the most important aspects. Furthermore, while the Master is named “Media Design”, it includes much more than one would initially think. It deals with the core creative skill areas of Design, Technology, Management and Policy. As a student, you master professional skills in one or two of these areas, and work together with students from the other areas in what they call “Real Projects”. This way, you get to combine all the creative areas mentioned before and work on actual projects together. It really sounds like fun – at least to me – and I am really looking forward to it.

In hindsight, what would you have liked to have known before, what you know now?
If you want to go abroad, start on time! Different countries have different deadlines. This especially counts for scholarships. You would be surprised how ridiculous some scholarship application deadlines are. For some of the good ones you may have to apply a year (and a half) up front. Yes... You read that correctly: a year (and a half).

What kind of job would you be interested in after this master?
To be honest, I am not sure yet. Since it is a 2-year Master program with various skill areas I still want to keep my options open. You could say that I am very open-minded. And I suppose that is also the exciting part about it! Especially in the fields of Media and Communication I feel it is crucial to keep an open mind as it concerns a dynamic environment, in which ongoing innovation is a necessity to survive. For now, though, I guess I am most interested in the Media Design- and Management aspects.

Any other points you would like to add?
The most difficult thing for many students is knowing where to start. I would recommend you to start thinking of what you really want. If you already know what direction you want to go in you will have to do some research into what different universities have to offer in that direction. Do you want to study abroad? If so, what country? You can start by looking what universities they have there and what they have to offer. And if you still have a hard time deciding on it, you could also consider taking a year off. You do not necessarily have to rush into your Masters. There are lots of other things you can do on the side while you are making up your mind, such as working, following online courses, or pursuing one of those interests you never really had the time for.

Studying abroad is an exciting experience, but it is expensive and requires a lot of planning, so make sure you start (thinking about it) on time. Good luck!