“21 things you should know before you graduate” lecture held by Richie Manu

Richie Manu   image (4)

A week or so ago I received an email from my college inviting me to a lecture “21 things you need to know before you graduate”. Now, whilst I am currently a first year fashion degree student and this is aimed towards people slightly closer to graduating, I felt ‘this is something I should know!’, ‘I want to hear what Richie Manu has to say & how it might help my future’. so today at 14:00 I attended “21 things you need to know before you graduate” in the lecture theatre of Plymouth College of Art. I found it highly informative and it has opened my eyes to how I can get myself out into eyes, ears & minds or the career world.

Richie Manu  is a man of many things. He focuses on three main career areas, one, he is a lecturer. Richie teaches MA applied imagination (design studies) at Central ST. Martins and Creative fashion management at The London College of Fashion. Two, Richie Manu is a designer. He is involved in branding & communications and started out his career as a “band chaser”, finding out about new bands and getting involved in designing for them. Three, Richie is a mentor. working in sharing his views and what he has learnt about career development and touring the UK holding seminars like the one I visited today.

The creative industry has the biggest employment in the UK. It is worth £36 billion a year.

There are 232,000 designers working in the UK, of which 65,900 are freelance (something I am interested in) and 82,500 are consultancies. Nearly 10% of the UK’s creative industry is in the south west, which is a huge amount but of which less than 1% is fashion & textiles. With 11,000 graduates each year, I need to be at the top of my game to get my foot through the door and into my desired fashion career.

Richie talked a little about work placements. A fellow audience member mentioned how going on a work placement had helped her to experience working to deadlines and how it gave her a whole new view on the industry and how much she got to experience from it. Richie asked how big we all thought the industry was…..HUGE, it is a huge industry,so hard to get into, and with employers finding it difficult to hire graduates with them supposedly being “good on creativity but lack the finishing skills..” Richie developed a short film in the beginning of his career. It was made to create more connectivity between industry & education. Students/Graduates held up white card with their insights and thoughts noted down, whilst employers/businesses held up black card with their views. This helped to voice each side of opinions and knock down the barriers. This film got a lot of attention and created thoughts and opinions (good & bad) of people in the industry/public/people trying to get into the industry. This in turn helped to get Richie out into the network and into peoples minds…..”Consurgo!”

image (3) image (2) image (1)


Personally at the moment, I don’t feel like I make myself stand out that much in any way. But I intend to, using the information I have learnt from “21 things you should know before you graduate”;

  1. become a pest  –invite potential employers to shows & projects. –get their opinions
  2. be prepared for criticism  –take on board all constructive criticism good or bad.
  3. build a force field 
  4. residual networking  -get people talking about you. -whether its good or bad. -networking & connecting.

This is similar to Richie’s flip idea of the CV. A CV should not just be a 2D piece of paper, it is made up of 5D’s;

Differentiate, Devils advocate, Dynamic, Disruption & Deliver.

essentially these key points help to put you ahead of all the other ‘apples’. Create change or process, stand out, get critical opinions, change the way people see things and deliver.


Of course having qualifications and work experience are key in applying for a job or appealing to an employer, but the most important part is your personality. Your likeability, can you fit it, are you desirable. its the things that push you apart from the other ‘apples’ and make you stand out, make you different. Be unforgettable!

two apples

Now, I have mentioned ‘apples’ one or two times. This is because as part of a demonstration Richie got us to describe these apples. These two apples were exactly the same, just two run of the mill ‘apples’. first he asked for key words….”fresh”…..”green”…”shiny”.  Then without those key words…..”organic”….”edible”…”hard”. But after that Richie asked us to sell an apple to us, both exactly the same but he wanted us to make one seem so much more appealing to the other….”solid”….”strong”….. “provides nutrients”….”keeps the DR away”. But we hadn’t quite grasped it.

The apples were a metaphor for where we are in our lives professionally as potential employees. essentially we are each an apple. same key points, same CV, same everything……Until we add a story. Dan Pink talks about ‘story’ as one of the main senses, it influences culture and helps to differentiate us.

To get ahead in which ever path we plan to take in our careers we need to make ourselves STAND OUT. we need to be UNFORGETTABLE. and we need to NETWORK ourselves into peoples minds. collaborate. be yourself but an unforgettable you.

I loved the lecture, I found it very informative. Richie went into a lot of detail and being in the lecture and experiencing how everyone around feels and understands what is going on is a great atmosphere. I felt that Richie was really easy to talk to, very approachable and he made it all so easy to understand. If you ever hear of this lecture being held near you I would advise you to go to it! whether you are graduating this year, next year or not for a few years, or even if you are just looking for a job and want to find a way to get more response, it is a great experience. I would definitely go again.

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most images are ones I have taken myself whilst sat in the lecture but a few have been taken from PCA email link which I was sent, so they are not my own.


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