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Prof. Suma M reveals how JD School of Design’s network and the final showcase lay out the red carpet for students in the industry

“We have different categories of students; some are driven by their passion, and others look for professional achievements. Each one has their own goal, and at JDSD our mission is to work closely with them to help them achieve their true potential. Through individual attention and mentorship they are prepared for the challenges of the industry,” says Prof. Suma M, Academic Manager, JD. From providing counselling to playing a major role in executing the annual showcase – JD Design Awards, she is closely involved in students’ growth trajectory at the institute. She talks about the initiatives and platforms at the institute that lead to student transformation.
Prof. Suma stresses on JDSD’s vision to prepare students for the industry right from their college days. The institute has focused on creating a friendly and supportive ecosystem for students to express themselves freely, voice their concerns, and pursue their interests while being guided by the best mentors. “JD makes sure that emphasis is given to sports, cultural events, social work and other co-curricular activities for the overall development of students. We also acknowledge that to students’ mental health is crucial, and they have to be prepared to face the rigours of the industry. So regular mental health counselling sessions and seminars are organized,” she says.
But as the industry evolves, so does its requirements of future professionals. Prof. Suma talks about JD School of Design’s strong industry rapport and the role it plays in helping students launch their careers on the right note. From reviewing the curriculum every year to getting industry experts on campus for workshops and seminars, the institute leverages its network to offer students valuable insights. “At JDSD students are not only taught the curriculum but also get immersive learning through workshops, visits, projects, talks and seminars, collaborations. They work closely with practitioners on live projects and understand how the industry works,” she explains.
The strategy has ensured that Jediiians are ready for diverse industry roles after graduation. The prolific careers JD alumni have gone on to build are a testament to it. Prof. Suma highlights that many of them connect with the institute to guide students in their journeys as well. “They collaborate with our placement team to create a wonderful network in the industry. We are one of the first institutes in the country to have a job portal for students pan India. JDSD has tied up with over 500 companies in different streams to ensure that there are campus interviews and regular job opportunities for students,” she adds.
JD Design Awards announce their grand entry on the professional stage with the annual showcase, which has become the marquee event of the year not only for Jediiians but also for the industry on the whole. Prof. Suma reminds us that the graduation show for students from different streams also sees them working together seamlessly on different aspects of the event. “Every student goes through intensive mentoring from an internal and external mentor. Students are taken through different stages of the process and execution. The final event is witnessed by 1500-2000 spectators and gives them a taste of what to expect in the future,” she says.
In a way, the showcase is a curtain raiser for the future changemakers of the industry. According to Prof. Suma it is a celebration of students’ talents and works wonders for their portfolio. In fact, many of them are handpicked right from the jury and exhibitions by recruiters for different job placements. “The idea of moving ahead from the monotonous formats of shows has been our USP at JDSD. Every year there is a theme for the event, and we thrive on being innovative and raising the curiosity levels of the industry. The entire experience helps students understand the idea of creating and representing their own brand,” she ends on an enthusiastic note.