My Greatest Degree on Earth

06 January 2016

​​Ever wondered what the Greatest Degree on Earth might look like? I have, and I went on a mission to find out! Read about my journey visiting 5 continents in 12 days, meeting some amazing people working for amazing brands, plus checking out some great places to study.

Here are some of my highlights

DAY 4, MILAN, ITALY

We arrived at Domus Academy at 9.30am to meet with Angela. Angela is the Marketing and Communication Specialist at Domus.

Angela took us to our first appointment which was to film a class in action. The class was run by a lecturer called Fernando G. Alberti, and the class was called "Entrepreneurship, creativity and (open) innovation". We were very grateful to be able to experience this class, and on this day the students were presenting their assignments to the class. The theme of the presentations was the 'power of creating a shared experience'.

We were then ready to meet our next tour guide Silvia Signorelli, she has two roles with Laureate, firstly she is the international student liaison and also the student experience manager for Domus and NABA and has worked with Domus for 15 years, and NABA for 5 years.

Silvia explained that students who are studying the Master of Car and Automation Design work on major projects in collaboration with companies such as Audi and Volkswagen to work on design briefs for car designs. She explained that the academy works very closely with Audi to decide a brief that will be mutually beneficial to the company as well as the student learning outcomes. This collaboration with companies provides for unique learning opportunities and building networks. Silvia was proud to acknowledge that the industry see Domus as a multicultural thinking and design lab.

At 10.30am a fire drill was scheduled to take place, so while we were wandering around the campus the students were emptying out into the courtyard. We used this opportunity to do a fly-through of the campus while it was mostly empty.

I was super excited to explore some of the common areas of Domus and NABA which included a Textile lab, Knitting lab, jewellery lab, dyeing and printing labs, and a 3D design lab. WHAT AN AWESOME PLACE! Sign me up!

While we were waiting for the students to come back to class we went to The Corner which is the campus cafeteria. On the wall inside the cafeteria there is a large display of students artwork including this very professional concept wall for "The family Cargo E-Bikes" showing some of the students incredible bike designs.

We went into the textile laboratory and met with 4 students. All of them were different nationalities, Russian, American, Indian and Cambodian. Silvia tells me that there are 70-80 nationalities on campus at the moment, mainly from Europe, Asia, America and South America.

The fashion students were so welcoming and they invited me in for a demonstration of what they are currently working on.

Alicia Pinckney from the USA was stitching together a knitted men's jumper. She was ready to reinforce the seams around the cuffs of the sleeves and so proceeded to stitch the area with the overlocker. Then I had a go while she carefully guided me through the process of using an overlocker. Then Ekaterina Okhotnikova from Russia showed us the garment that she has designed from scratch. In preparing to produce the floor length elegant coat, she had done various types of sketches and even a digital mock up using scanned images of the fabric she was planning to use. She asked me to help her to pin the pattern pieces to the mannequin so that she could see if her pattern pieces were fitting correctly together.

DAY 8, MADRID, SPAIN

We with Gonzalo who is the founder and CEO of Steve Mono, a leading leather accessories manufacturer. Steve managed a global operation with just the help from one employee Louis.

Gonzalo and Louis worked in a small workshop/studio/office in a cobbled street. They had been in this location three and a half years, and Gonzalo had been running the business for just 8 years. He prides himself on gathering all his materials from Spain, north, south and central Spain in order to support the local economy.

The studio was very tidy and minimalistic and opened out into a small organised office space. The showroom featured some very classic handbags, clutches, wallets and coin purses. The colours of winter season were red, brown, orange and black. Suede shoes came in yellow and blue, and belts in many colours. His bestseller is the man's leather briefcase.

Gonzalo gave me the official tour of the showroom and the office pointing out each item on display. Then he took me back to the office area where he was going to teach me how to process an order and prepare the stock for shipment. I was taught the intricate detail of polishing the leather bags, neatly rolling the shoulder strap into a tight 'doughnut' shape and stuffing the bag with tissue paper to maintain its best shape.

Then he would put it into a branded bag and into a box. Golzalo showed where the order is on the computer and how he would mark off the order and prepare for shipment. A fair amount of time and work went into this process and getting it right. This is obviously the high quality that Gonzalo continues to produce which keeps his customers and distributors coming back. He told me that he has two stockists in Sydney, one of them based at the Bow and Arrow in Manly. I must pay them a visit! 50% of his production goes to Asia, mainly Japan, Korea and China. And he travels 7 times per year to the Paris, New York and Tokyo fashion shows.

Want to read more about my search for the Greatest Degree on Earth? Jump onto the blog of Torrens University, also part of the Laureate Network of International Universities.


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