From Student to Staff Member

CSVPA’s Class of 2021 Graphic Design alumna Frida Manchego has just completed her first few months working as part of the marketing team at CATS Global Schools (CGS).
Frida, from Lima in Peru, initially chose to study architecture but soon realised that her true calling was visual communication.
We caught up with her to find out how it feels to go from student to staff member.
Frida (centre) at her graduation with Rector of CSVPA, Karin Askham and CGS CEO, Chris Stacey
Why did you choose CSVPA?
I heard about it from a friend, who previously attended, and they had great things to say about the school and the experience of living in Cambridge, so I decided to apply.
What did you study?
I studied Visual Communication: Graphic Design at CSVPA, from September 2020 until September 2021.
What was the best thing about your CSVPA experience?
The relationships I got to build with my former tutors and fellow students. It was a very collaborative environment where students from different disciplines but equally creative could work together and develop their skills.
Who at CSVPA that contributed to your success?
I had excellent tutors. From Martin Andersen, I learnt to look at design from different perspectives than my own and enjoy the process of working on multiple visions. While Edward Dimsdale encouraged me to follow a research-led creative path.
Do you think your CSVPA experience prepared you well for your professional life?
Yes, absolutely. As a CSVPA student, I learnt to work following creative briefs, presenting ideas and implementing feedback received from tutors and fellow students.
What attracted you to work at CGS?
As a CSVPA graduate, I believe in the power of education, as I have experienced it myself. Supported by Matt Bonito, I’m developing my creative skills further, and I found very exciting the idea of being part of their team and applying the experience gained as a student in a commercial environment.
Before joining CGS, I worked in a design agency in Cambridgeshire, developing graphics for multiple brands. But this is the first job where I get to grow and develop working under one company’s vision.
What does a typical day look like for you?
In the morning, we get together for a 15 min creative team huddle, where we talk about what we are working on at the moment. After that, I carry on working on the current projects. During the day, Matt Bonito, my manager, and I have small chats to see how things are going, I show him my progress, and after that, I implement his feedback.
What are you currently working on?
I’ve just designed the logo for ‘The Den’, CGS’ new intranet. I’m also updating CSVPA’s handbooks for this year.
What three words would you use to describe your role?
Creative, Innovative, Collaborative
What’s the biggest misconception people have about your role?
That Graphic Design focuses mainly on developing graphics based on our own vision. But the best part of the job is to be a team player; collaboration and communication are key to getting to the ideal result.
What tip would give to a new CGS recruit?
The CGS team is very welcoming, and they make you feel like part of the team immediately, I think that is very helpful to know during your first weeks.
What advice would you give to a young Frida?
That things are not set in stone; it is alright to change lanes while you are still trying to figure out the future of your career. Going from Architecture to Graphic Design was major decision, but I am very happy I made it.
If you could switch jobs with someone, who would it be?
I am a Formula 1 fan, so if I could switch jobs with someone, I would like to be a Formula 1 driver for a day, but just one day as I don’t think I could handle more.
What is your motto or personal mantra?
You can always do it again. I think that takes the pressure off trying something for the first time; I have been doing that a lot since I have been in England.
If you could choose a superpower, what would it be?
Tele-transportation! I could be in Peru for breakfast and then be back in England for lunch.