2022 Interview with Liz Danzico, Co-funder of MFA Interaction Design of School of Visual Arts
Interview Q&A of MFA Interaction Design of SVA
What I applied: MFA Interaction Design Fall 2022
Date: 3/14/2022. 1 day before they make the admission decision. (I was like 😱…)
Interview Time: 20min. She asked me 3 questions first, and then I asked 3 questions.
She said she read all of my documents like SOP, PS, resume, and portfolio. She wanted to know more about my intention like why I want to study a master program, what I want to learn or get from it?
First of all, I talked about my previous experience, which focused too much on designing “apps.” However, I think interaction design is a broader industry, and “app design” can only be a kind of “medium.” I think my experience was too limited in one field, so I want to expand my horizon and solve problems through more proper ways with proper mediums like wearable devices or service design, etc. I want to equip myself with complete knowledge about interaction design and be inspired by students and faculty worldwide.
Moreover, I mentioned that SVA MFA Interaction Design has a lot of classes focusing on how to become an entrepreneur, how to manage your business and design, how to cultivate your leadership, etc. I expressed that the biggest goal I set for myself is to build my own business, which helps human life better through design, and SVA can offer what I need.
>> Her reaction: “Right, it’s what we focus a lot on in our program. I don’t know other schools about their classes, but it’s what we do care about. You can firstly join some big companies and learn from them, and then you can start yours. It can reduce the risk of try and error in your own business, the things that might not have many chances to fail.”
She emphasized that this question didn’t have the right answer. She asked, in my perspective, what field do I think is the most significant field being changed by interaction design in the next few years?
I said, “the first thought that came to my mind was what people talk about a lot recently like Meta or AR/VR that are so fancy and cool recently. However, what I actually thought was the disability field since my grandma is blind, and users in the company I am in are the minority group in the society. Though few designers want to go for this path because it might not be very profitable or fancy.
>> Her reaction: “Good answer. As I said, there is no right answer. … There’re lots of big companies having large groups for that field. If you want to build your business about it, you can join them and learn from them. Like Apple, Google, Microsoft, etc. …”
Lastly, she asked me whether I wanted to share anything related or not related to the project, like whether you have a dog or what you like to do.
I mentioned how much I love animation. I thought I would be an animator when I was younger. But after lots of experience, I felt I am more into Interaction Design. I was so happy that I could initiate micro-animation to a company where I work and animate many features to make them fancy but with good reactions from users and data.
Also, I mentioned I do have a dog. … (She smiled. haha. Since she is a dog lover.)
“SVA offers lots of resources and lots of information. Students can do many things and have many directions to choose from, but sometimes it might be too much for some students. Did you meet anyone getting lost when they came to SVA and were overwhelmed by those things? What suggestions did you give to those students? How did you guide them out from this situation?”
(She said it’s a great question, and it was never asked before. She thought it’s what students should ask before they come here.)
She said she did meet those students. Though they wrote their goal and intuition in the document while applying, it sometimes happened. She said she wouldn’t see this situation negatively. She thinks it’s a process of exploring themselves. They can find their way after losing for a while since they experience more on the lost road. … (She didn’t answer how she supported or guided them out of this situation. Maybe it’s just what students should figure out. People take the responsibility to themselves.)
“What supports do SVA offer students who need financial support?”
She introduced detail about the scholarships and the application time or whether you need to do additional things or not. Also, she mentioned that students can apply to be an assistant in some classes and earn some extra money. There are also lots of out-campus scholarships people can apply for.
“What words or suggestions would you give to a student who is going to start her or his new life to study in SVA?”
“Don’t be the students staying in the department or dorm all day, all semester. Well, but of course, sometimes when the final is coming. You might want to make your grades perfect, but good grades do not mean all the aspects of one person. So just go out, experience the city, absorb whatever you love, and meet people.”
What did I do before the interview?
- Research Linkedin, personal website, portfolios of faculty of MFA Interaction Design, note each professor’s style of works and fields they work in like do they have their own business, what mediums do they love to use, which companies they worked before, etc.
- Research Linkedin of their alumni and watch their portfolio or companies they’re generally working in to see if their career path matches what you want.
- Read and analyze all classes it has, combine them with your goal, find their specialties.
- Read and listen to the podcasts or any news you can find about their faculty or students.
- List many questions and ask yourself. Recommend to type them down so you can enhance them each time you read through them or practice. (You will find you never understand yourself or the design industry that profound before loll.)
Note: there might be some differences between the original conversation. They’re just recording the approximate meanings.
One day after, I got its admission (with scholarship) 🎉🎉🎉