25 Apr 2013

CMA: The Only MAD School in Asia!

If you need some help with chasing your dreams in the creative industry, CMA’s MAD formula – an integration of marketing, advertising and design concepts – may just be the perfect mix you are looking for!

The process of pursuing one’s ambition may not always be fast and straight-forward. Instead, it may be like what Gerry Seah has gone through – with several stops and detours, before you finally find the right direction to the desired destination.

The 34-year-old had wanted to enter the advertising line upon her graduation from polytechnic, but was then hindered by the economic crisis. Instead, she had opted to work for a governmental agency and as time passed, put her ambition at the back of her mind.

Despite dabbling in various industries and even a five-year stint in the F & B sector, nothing really captivated Gerry's heart. However, her interest in advertising and design was rekindled when attempting to make her own name cards and marketing collaterals for one of her business ventures.

Gerry says, “After all this, I know I have to stick to my passion or I will regret it for the rest of my life. That’s when I put myself together and went to search for a related course, because I know I have to be qualified before I can do anything, so that’s how I came to know about CMA.”

Amalgamation of approaches for the best result
Being one of the institutions recommended by the professional advertising association Institute of Advertising Singapore, Chatsworth Medi@rt Academy (CMA) prides itself on providing an innovative and exciting learning experience for its students. Its courses combine marketing, advertising and design concepts to provide students with a real-life perspective of the industry.

This integrated approach attracted Gerry to take up a professional diploma in Advertising and Design from CMA in 2007. Already armed with a diploma in Marketing from Nanyang Polytechnic, Gerry recognised the importance of marketing even for design and advertising products. Thus, the marketing skills taught at CMA served as a refresher course for her, and when coupled with design techniques, gave her a more well-rounded view of the profession.

Comparing CMA’s course with those of other institutions, Gerry says, “In other schools, they are very much design-focused, which is good, but in reality, you must also know how to sell, and this is where marketing comes in. The way they teach here is much more relevant to what the market requires.”

During the course of her two-year part-time studies at CMA, Gerry decided to utilise both her new knowledge and her previous working experience to start a new business. She started a creative firm which focuses on designing brochures and catalogues for mostly new businesses. Together with her partner, Gerry did everything herself, from pitching proposals to clients to implementing the project ideas.

She is currently also planning to expand her one-and-a-half year old business into the China market by collaborating with a similar enterprise in Cheng Du. The Cheng Du business is set up by a classmate she got to know at CMA.

Gerry attributes her enterprising spirit and the success of her career to the education she received at CMA.

“CMA has helped me to realise my potential. All the modules here are very useful and the learning environment is fun. Lecturers are very professional and the sharing of real-life examples and their personal experiences is invaluable. There are also a lot of hands-on experiences which give us an assurance that we can actually do all this,” she shares.

Real world education
Similarly, 25-year-old Tracy Wong only discovered her aspirations to be a creative designer upon her graduation from Singapore Polytechnic in 2005 with a diploma in IT. Under her friend’s recommendation, Tracy then chose CMA to pursue a Professional Diploma in Advertising & Design.

The intensive training programme helps motivate and equip aspiring design students like her with the necessary skills and concepts to bring a communication design project to fruition.

But CMA is more than just a school for Tracy. “It’s fun, cool and cosy like family. CMA is very focused on the real experience so it’s very much like intensive on-the-job training with professional knowledge through the whole course,” she says.

Real work experience, site visits, case studies and hands-on assignments are some practical teaching methods that CMA uses to groom their students into successful designers who can effectively develop and implement every stage of the project. In their course of study, students are also given ample opportunities to build up their portfolios to serve as credentials or credits if they wish to pursue a design-related career or further their education in related fields.

Tracy’s portfolio, which she named the Creative Book and developed while in CMA, took her places. She used it to attain direct admission into the final year of RMIT’s Bachelor’s programme in Communication Design in 2008. This allowed her to complete her degree in just 12 months.

To further test and stretch her abilities while in university, Tracy also took part in the stomp AIDS Challenge 2007, a nationwide marketing competition to raise HIV awareness. Tracy and her team impressed the judges with their innovative campaign idea which included a movie concept that conveyed their Aids Awareness message to the target audience in an entertaining and engaging manner. Tracy’s team walked away with the top prize of $10,000 and was even sponsored a budget of $3000 by CMA to execute their proposal.

Having had her talent cultivated in an accepting and motivating learning environment at CMA, Tracy recommends aspiring design students to chase their dreams there too.

“It’s a school that gives chance and hope, and everyone is given the opportunity to try and learn,” she concludes.

By Becky Lo

Contributed by JobsCentral Pte Ltd