When I first arrived at Fuqua, I was sure that I wanted to pursue design consulting as a career path. I went through several detours and more ups and downs than I would have liked, but I’m glad to say that I did end up doing an internship at Academy, a UX & Design Thinking Studio in New York.
My summer was fantastic! Given that Academy is a small firm, I got to work very closely with the CEO, Adam Perlis, on all sorts of initiatives, though mostly I focused on a client project and the development of a new service offering. The expertise of the firm is a method called Design Sprints (look it up, it’s awesome!), and it was amazing to take such an active role in running one for a client and seeing it’s powerful results.
Though getting some training on design is enormously beneficial, I strongly believe that being a great designer is about solving problems in an empathetic and creative way. Many of us are more capable of that than we give ourselves credit for. Design teams tend to be very diverse because getting different perspectives is the only way to craft the best solution possible. And business thinking definitely has to have a seat at the table for that to happen. I think as a business school student trying to move into this field, it’s key to understand what unique viewpoints, questions, and inputs we bring to a project. We might not be formally trained designers, but that by no means precludes us from being great design thinkers and amazing assets on any design team.
I’m not going to lie, pursuing non-traditional career paths in business school is tough. It takes grit, a lot of patience, a great support network, and definitely luck. I was lucky enough to have had a lot of amazing opportunities to delve deeper into the design world while at Fuqua. A big part of that was the Design & Innovation Club and all of the opportunities and great connections it facilitated. As co-president, I helped build an amazing team and hopefully left a strong legacy that will continue to make design skills more ubiquitous at Fuqua.
In the end, what truly makes a difference is the people you surround yourself with, and nobody can ask for a better community than what we have at Fuqua. I couldn’t be more thankful to my friends, my classmates, and my Career Management Center coaches for the support and encouragement they’ve given me. So, find those people who support you when you need it most, those who help you thrive, those who believe in you when you don’t even believe in yourself. Find that community and your MBA journey (and beyond) will be that much more consequential.
I’m excited to be joining the Strategic Design team at BCG Digital Ventures as a senior strategic designer after graduation. So, if you too are passionate about design and want to pursue this as a career path, let’s stick together! Feel free to reach out, and you can count on me as an ally and a friend.