Skill-Based Institutions vs Big Universities - Everything You Need To Know - mages

As students aspiring to have a career in the creative industries, the central question is where do you study? Should you go for big, generalised universities? Or do skill-based institutions ensure a better ROI?

In other words,

Are skill-based institutions better than big universities?

If you’re aspiring to build a successful career in creative industries like games, art or films, where you choose to study matters.

It matters because creative courses are in demand but scarce, and are often offered at a premium price. Especially if you’re considering big universities.

Do you want your education to become a financial burden? Do you want to spend the first few years of your career repaying your education loans? Or invest all your parents’ savings on a single course?

Even if it’s not a matter of money (which is unlikely in several situations), are you willing to risk leaning things in a generalised manner as opposed to skills based, niche-education you’d need to stand out in the creative industries?

Before you decide where to enrol, it’s good to know how skill-based institutions help you achieve your goals.

What Skill-Based Institutions Do Differently

1. They offer specialised programmes that are tailored to your needs and specific goals.

Specialisation is key to standing out and having a lucrative career.

This is even more true for a career in the creative industries like art, films or games.

It’s always best to go for an institution that offers you a specialised program in your chosen field or industry.

Skill-based institutions can tailor programmes in a way that fits your needs and serves your larger goal. In this sense, they’re more flexible in their curriculum than large universities.

A rigid, one-size-fits-all curriculum will do you no good.

2. Skill-based institutions tend to provide personalised attention to students.

Mentor: Kobe Sek : Senior Art Director at Ubisoft Singapore @ MAGES Workshop

Getting personalised guidance or attention is a matter of numbers.

Big universities by their sheer size and number tend to lack a low-student-to-faculty ratio.

Small and skill-based institutions are more successful at making this a reality.

This is why you’re more likely to enjoy individual academic attention by professors in institutions that offer specialised courses than in big universities. There’s more scope for close interaction with the faculty daily.

When it comes to creative courses, this matters even more.

Excelling at creative courses demands practical learning. You’ll need constant feedback from your mentors to produce quality and industry-relevant work.

It’s impossible to clear your doubts or have quality interactions with your mentors in large universities with lecture halls containing 200-300 students.

Also, you don’t have to worry about too much competition, especially since –

3. Skill-based institutions offer students equal access to opportunities.

While big universities enjoy a certain reputation and popularity, they tend to optimise opportunities for a very small percentage of students – the highest achievers.

The sheer number of students makes it impossible to do away with this systemic drawback.

On the other hand, skill-based institutions are often able to create a space where opportunities are not restricted to the highest achievers alone. You won’t have to worry about competing with a large pool of students.

Or being denied opportunities just because you do things differently or have a different set of skills.

Higher personalised attention would also mean getting tailored opportunities to hone your craft.


4. It’s easier to make friends and strong connections in a smaller, skill-based institution.

Focused institutions are characterised by a close-knit community.

You’d find yourself surrounded by students and professors as passionate about what you’re doing as you are. As a result, it’s easier for you to meet people, make friends and develop strong bonds with them.

Such an environment will work in your favour by acting as a catalyst for learning and pushing you to greater heights. After all, getting constructive criticism about your work from your peers is one of the best ways to learn.

5. Unlike large universities, there’s less administrative red-tape to deal with.

Large universities tend to suffer from a lot of administrative red tape.

The case is different for smaller, skill-based institutions.

Less red tape opens up many possibilities.

In case you need the institute to be flexible for you, or you need something specific to be done quickly, you won’t have to wait forever. You won’t have to wait for multiple committees to approve an important leave…

Or if you need a specific class or course that’s normally not offered in your course (say an interdisciplinary program), you wouldn’t have to keep waiting for approvals.

As a result, there’s more room for you to try different things and explore your creative potential.

6. It’s easier to stand out in a skill-based institute

Large universities can be confusing. It’s quite easy to feel lost, intimidated and insignificant amidst a sea of people.

It’s hard to have your voice heard.

You feel less like an individual and more like one among many.

Skill-based institutions, by virtue of their size, allow you to carve your own space within the institution.

There’s more room to showcase your talent and skills. There are more opportunities for you to stand out.

Final Thoughts

The higher education scene is experiencing a major shift. It’s no longer deemed prestigious to study in big universities just for the sake of it.

People are wary of doling out thousands of dollars or taking big loans to fund their education.

They are wary of the return on such huge investments.

And rightly so.

Generic education catering to a system that only prioritises 1% of the population is taking a backseat.

It just doesn’t cut it, especially when it comes to studying creative courses (games development, game design, concept art, 3D animation, film-making and so on).

People want to study in institutions that promise them their goals in their chosen fields – however niche, unique or different they are.

They want to ensure the institution’s goals are aligned with theirs.

What do we mean by this?

This simply means that your chosen institution’s programmes should help you get what you want.

There should not be a huge gap between what a course program promises to deliver

and what you, as an aspiring creative professional, want from that course. Your goals

should matter to the institution of your choice.

Especially when those goals coincide with making it big in creative professions.

We also understand that everyone’s goals mostly revolve around a certain form of external recognition, whether it’s recognition from a dream game studio (employment) or recognition from the social community (respect and status).

If a skill-based institution makes you skills-enough to land your dream opportunity at an affordable price and thereby also garner community respect, why should you or anyone be hesitant to enrol in such institutions?

Skill-based institutions are in vogue. Not just because they’re more affordable than larger, generalised universities, but because they offer so much more!

Skill-based institutions offer you –

  • Programs and courses that are focused on your needs and goals
  • Personalised attention and feedback from mentors
  • Equal access to networking and professional opportunities
  • A space to make strong connections, friends and get enormous peer support
  • Relief from excessive administrative red tape
  • Flexibility in curriculum

Have you set your sight on making the next big video game? Do you love creating

stunning pieces of art and then bringing them to life? Is film-making your passion?

MAGES offers expert, practical, specialised education that sets you up for a career in the Games and Film Industries.

 We help you achieve your goals by providing you with –

  • Specialised and affordable course programmes for a career in games, art and

film industries.

  • Advanced infrastructure with access to industry standard software.
  • Individual Guidance from mentors with industry experience.
  • A hands-on learning environment for developing new and relevant skills.
  • Exclusive focus on building a strong portfolio as a launchpad for a fulfilling career in games, art and film industries.
  • Low student-to-lecturer ratio for better attention and interaction.
  • Unique opportunities every month (Networking, Game jams, industry placements, art showcases).
  • International recognition – Our educational partners include Abertay University and Academy of Art University. This helps keep our standards high – at an international level.
  • Relevant employment opportunities.

We regularly revise our courses and programmes based on input and feedback from

our professors, mentors and research teams. We believe this helps us offer nothing but the most relevant programmes and work opportunities that align with the latest

developments in the media industry.

Here’s how we’ve helped our students do what they love:

  • Our lecturers helped a Game Technology realise her goal of becoming an

AR/VR developer. She was given additional hours where she learnt AR/VR. Her

final project was an AR game which was also selected as a finalist in Rookies


  • We provided students across different fields – Game Tech, Concept Art &

Animation – the opportunity to come together and build a game. 

Remember, when you do what you love, work feels like play and learning comes naturally!

Begin your creative journey with MAGES now.



Need guidance or course recommendations? Let us help!

    Mages Whatsup