Crossing The Bridge of “No, I Can’t Be A Multidisciplinary Person”: Part 1

It's graduation! What's next?

This is the first of twelve installments in a column,  that will explore her experience of combining both worlds that seem so close, yet so far: Interior Architecture and Business.

To any of you who have recently just completed your four-year Bachelors’ education: Did you walk out of your last class of the program and had “I’m done! What should I do next?” popping out of your mind? The question lingers for days, weeks, or even longer? While many aspiring new graduates have a long and exciting agenda, I am not ashamed to put myself in the category of “Damn right, what am I going to do next with all these gained experiences?” I am not saying that I am completely clueless – of course getting a job is the first thing I should try having some shots at, which I have done even way ahead prior to graduation. I landed some nice opportunities to be explored on back home, and for a split second I feel content and safe. A few weeks to go and I will be back in Indonesia, working my days off the 8 to 5 routine.

It was until I headed home, sitting in the comfort of my soon-to-be-sold couch, thinking that this might not be what I really want to do at heart.

I tried thinking about all the sweet and good things about college  and asking myself questions on what made me feel most alive, what  made me ignore everything I was currently doing and what kept me excited every single morning. One thing came out loud and clear: I have a knack for exploring new fields, and I love the idea of combining multiple disciplines into new ideas that benefit society. I want to make an impact through the creation of things that can be experienced – spaces that people can enjoy, visuals that people can see and feel good at, and new concepts that improve people’s living in a more realistically personal level.

One of the best highlights from studying at Boston University (read my inner thoughts here, although it is not specifically mentioned), is competing at the Annual New Product Challenge, a yearly school-wide business plan competition hosted by Boston University School of Management. In essence, teams of about 8-9 students who are currently under the ever-so-famous “CORE” semester, four months of intense courses in Finance, Marketing, Operations Management, Information Systems and Business Strategies & Policy, are assigned to come up with a solid business plan of a product that has not been introduced to market yet. There are about 100 teams competing each year, and I was fortunate enough to be part of one of the best team I ever worked with, ever. There is one ultimate question left to be answered before anyone even start thinking about the overall business strategy: What product are we selling? Off we went to numerous brainstorming and conceptual thinking sessions, which truly that became one of the most enjoyable part for me throughout the semester. I became actively involved in proposing ideas of what we can possibly create and launch to the market – be it silly or rather useless (we thought of hair catcher, no-tilt teapots, and other items that people most likely will not buy the idea of it at all.) I loved sketching and explaining them to my teammates, and sometimes even applauding myself on how bad or good of a job I have done. Long story short, the semester ended well with a product concept I proposed and we walked out of the final presentation feeling solid. So well we unexpectedly ended up snatching the First Place of the competition – our product even caught the attention of Pitney Bowes and Digitas, two of the Fortune 500 companies.

That experience, eventually, became the inflection point of what I decided to do next and perhaps, even the rest of my career. As I have explored the world of business strategies, quality control, sustainable design and supply chain management deeply. And I think it is a good time to study another discipline that will complement my already owned skills and fulfill my personal goal as a multi-disciplinary professional. Why can’t I combine all of my interests into one possible exciting career and make every day a new opportunity to learn new stuffs? The world of design for me has always been intriguing and compelling – only I did not have the courage to venture it for so long. I am appalled by how close it actually is to our lives are. But then I also feel distant at the same time, considering I have zero background in it and have only gained some “experience” from random sketching and expressing my ideas on a flimsy sketchbook. There were also doubts on how in the world am I going to relate my undergraduate study with this new field I am about to explore. As a person who believes in the power of  creativity, I believe there are no bounds within disciplines, with business and design are related even more these days.

With all these thoughts floating on my mind, I know there is only one direction I am heading towards to: Go to design school, give up the work opportunity (and make everyone surrounding me screaming on such decision,) and dedicating my professional life on creating an intersection of design and business. It excites me and I know this is it.

Now I just need to have that leap of faith and prepare well. Very well.

– To Be Continued

The image above belongs to the Author.

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Having interests in the world of design, quality control and sustainable practices all at once, Alicia Kosasih earned her Bachelors degree from Boston University in 2014, majoring in Operations Management and Environmental Science. Throughout her study, she and her team of nine is awarded First Place at the Annual Boston University School of Management New Product Challenge for both product design and operations strategy plan of an innovative pet product, Lock-A-Bowls. Her interest in both quality control and sustainability issues is well reflected on her being a Six Sigma Green Belt Certified and LEED Green Associate. Alicia currently resides at Boston, USA pursuing her Masters degree in Interior Architecture at New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University. Academics aside, she enjoys her free time baking macarons, room decorating, and watching DIY videos on Youtube.


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