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Student spotlight: learning to think creatively and lead by design

10 September 2020
Meet Master of Design student, Portia Page Hyland
Portia has always been “fascinated by the intersection of technology, people and business” leading her to pursue postgraduate studies in Design at the University of Sydney.

Why did you choose the University of Sydney to study a Master of Design?

I was initially drawn to the University of Sydney to study architecture for my undergraduate degree (Bachelor of Architecture and Environments) as it was the leading institute for architecture in the country. I was particularly interested in the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning as it had smaller cohorts than other degrees. I chose to continue my postgraduate studies at the University of Sydney as I had been encouraged to think creatively and had pushed me to think outside of the box.

How is your degree going so far? What have been the highlights?

I am in the fourth and final semester of the Master of Design (Design Innovation) (Strategic Design) and am thoroughly enjoying it. I have found that it has helped me to think both creatively and analytically whilst getting to work with industry partners. The degree is fairly hands-on and helps you put theory into practice by working with real clients and getting to speak to several people in the industry. The smaller class sizes foster collaboration between students whilst working with industry helps to prepare students for working in the industry.  

I am fascinated by the intersection of technology, people and business. This intersection is commonly known as innovation and can create meaningful solutions that create business and customer value. I also love being tasked with a difficult problem and not knowing what the answer may be but having to delve into the problem space and figure it out.  
Portia Page Hyland

What sort of career advantage do you think your degree in Design will give you?

I think that my postgraduate studies in design will help me to approach challenging environments and problems by thinking creatively and leading by design. Design has also equipped me with the skills to think critically and evaluate problems from various perspectives rather than using my internal biases. I have learnt to maintain a customer-centric approach.

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering studying a Masters in Design?

Design is not a required prerequisite for the Master of Design, having students from multidisciplinary backgrounds is excellent. Having a group of students with diverse backgrounds encourages different ideas and a wider range of skills. I have learnt countless skills from students who came from non-design backgrounds.

What are your plans for the future?

Once I graduate, I hope to work for a tech company or an innovation or strategy consultancy where I will be exposed to a broad range of projects and be able to build a broader skillset. I’m not quite sure what I will be doing in 20 years however I hope to be solving complex problems and providing customers with the best possible solutions.


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