Global Design Manager reflects on Hyper Island Masters

In an on-going series we connect with our full and part-time Masters Students from around the world. A few times each month we will meet students and alumni daring to do new and carve out the path they seek in their lives or career. You will learn about the Hyper Island experience through the lens of those coming together to study, learn and grow in Manchester, London, Stockholm and Singapore. 

Hi there, I’m Adonis, a Swiss-Lebanese guy living and working in the beautiful city of Zürich, Switzerland. I am currently working as a Global UX/UI Design Manager for Sennheiser. Prior to that, I was a designer and frontend developer at Hinderling Volkart, a notorious web agency in Switzerland. On the side, I’ve developed the IOS game, Coogyloop, a Google Chrome Extension, created a Udemy course to teach the basics of IOT with Arduino and co-founded, an online marketplace that enables students to share or sell their notes with each other.

You recently completed your last on-site modules, how are you feeling?

Relieved! What a marathon this year has been (and still is). On the other side, I’m also feeling energized like never before. Although it might be challenging, I’m looking forward to keep this fantastic momentum going between learning and working.

What were you looking for prior to joining Hyper Island?

Hyper Island was in my mind since the age of 15, before joining my first design program at eikon, a school of applied art in Fribourg, Switzerland. I remembered Hyper Island being only in Sweden at that time. Therefore, I signed up for a BA program in Interaction Design at ZHdK, the Zurich University of the Arts. Finally, I had the possibility to apply for a Master degree at Hyper last year.

What were some factors that helped you decide on the Part Time Master in Digital Management?

Since a young age, I’ve enjoyed learning new things by myself from online tutorials. I always enjoyed this model of education where one can apply and test fresh knowledge directly in the field. I’m therefore more attracted to part-time education in general as it gives the chance to work with your learning immediately.

Secondly, throughout these years, I focused on developing my ‘hard-skills’ in the field of Motion Design, UI/UX Design, 3D modelling, video editing, online marketing and programming. However, I always had in mind to develop my management and leadership skills more deeply. For me, the Digital Management program fitted perfectly in my next chapter.

What are some specific moments or highlights where you had the chance to apply your learnings outside of Hyper Island. In your role, organization or life for example?

This is probably the most important learning that I had this year. Prior to joining Hyper Island, I set myself the goal to apply all of my 6 assignments on challenges and opportunities that I see in my workplace. From looking at the potential application of AR, to enhancing remote collaboration or suggesting new design processes, I was extremely surprised that all of these assignments have been used and shared throughout the company over the last year. Some findings are currently being tested and developed within the organization. Secondly, I was amazed by the positive reaction from my colleagues at Sennheiser. They were very receptive and enthusiastic regarding new processes and tools that I’ve brought from Hyper Island.
In summary, I would strongly suggest writing about topics that could be applied directly to your workplace. By doing so, it should help you to ease both your day-to-day workload by overlapping what’s produced for school with what is applied on the job.

What shifts have you noticed in yourself? Your work? What are you doing differently?

Reading dozens of academic and professional papers for each assignment gave me a wide range of knowledge in the field of Innovation, Design Thinking, Business transformation and how to manage effective teams. I would say that such wide knowledge helped me to shift from a quite static mindset to being generally more open-minded about new opportunities and change in the future. I would say that I still have a long way to go in that path. This year was just the beginning!

What kept you afloat and anchored in this demanding year so far?
To manage this highly demanding year, I put a special focus on the way I planned and organized each task between work, school and private life. It was crucial to stay as pragmatic and disciplined as possible to meet all the deadlines without feeling too exhausted along the way. To do so, I set little goals to reach almost every day in order to ease the heavy workload into small and clear tasks to take one after the other. Secondly, I tried to keep a more-or-less healthy balance by having at least one day completely off (usually a Sunday) per week.

Advice to anyone exploring further education?

I would absolutely suggest anyone take the challenge of learning new things. I know that Hyper Island also offers online courses over a 6 weeks period. Otherwise, there are tons of good online courses on Udemy, Coursera or Lynda that are worth looking at. Finally, if you really like a good challenge for the year and a half to come, I would highly recommend such a part-time Master program.

Final thoughts? Anything else you would like to share about your experience?

The last thing that I really had not expected during the last year was to meet and bond with such an amazing group of people from all around the world. The support and motivation that we shared with each other was an absolute must to get through this year. I wouldn’t have thought that bringing people with the same objectives together in London for just 3 days a month could bring such powerful results!