IPD alumni pursue a wide variety of careers. Some work for design consultancies, some pursue in-house roles that integrate design, engineering and business and others start their own companies or join start-ups. Below are some stories about what IPD graduates are doing and how they got there.
After graduating from IPD, Phillip joined General Assembly in New York City as a Software Engineer. Phill uses the interdisciplinary thinking taught in IPD every day to collaborate with designers and product managers. Together with his internships in finance and technology and with several startups, Phill was ready to step immediately into product development. With a passion for hacking the latest technology and experience in both hardware and software development, Phillip naturally takes things apart to figure out how they work. Phillip also completed his undergrad at UPenn in the Jerome Fisher Program in Management and Technology, earning dual Bachelors' of Science in Economics and Electrical Engineering.
Amy had fifteen years of experience in project, client and brand management and product development for consumer products companies such as General Mills and Revlon and was Vice President of Operations for the U.S. Green Building Council (LEED certifications) when she decided to pursue a degree in Integrated Product Design. While in her final semester of the IPD program, Amy served as TA for Wharton's Vice Dean of Innovation for a global, online design course for over 30,000 students. This led to her current position of Director, Course Operations for Penn's open learning and lecturer in Wharton's required MBA course in management communication. In this role, Amy is able to combine her sharp operational and execution skills with the creativity and innovative problem solving skills that she honed in IPD.
Sooyoung "Yulie" Cho
Before coming to Penn, Yulie worked for Samsung Electronics as a Mechanical Engineer and Project Manager. She had studied Mechanical Engineering and Business as an undergrad. After six and half years at Samsung, she decided to pursue Master's degree in IPD program at Penn, seeking more challenging work and an opportunity to redirect her career. Through IPD course work and multidisciplinary projects, including acting as a TA for Design For Manufacturability, she was able to build on her existing skill set while developing new capabilities in design. Now she is back at Samsung Electronics, in a new role. As a Design Strategist, Yulie has many opportunities to apply the principles of integrated design that she learned at Penn.
As a mechanical engineering undergrad, Nils developed a keen interest in product design, manufacturing, and user experience and submatriculated into the IPD program to round out his engineering background with foundations in business and design. After Penn, Nils joined Samsung Mobile, where he currently works as a Product Manager. While his day-to-day R&Rs don't include the type of work that got his hands dirty at Penn, he continues to use the same design and engineering principles to influence the features and functionality of some of the world's best mobile devices.
Emily is a Senior User Experience Researcher at AnswerLab, a UX research firm that assists clients in measuring and improving the experience of their customers. She works with clients across industries from automotive to healthcare and everything in between, serving as the lead researcher on research design, study execution, analysis, and reporting. She works in the New York City office of this San Francisco-based company. As an undergrad at Penn, Emily studied Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Creative Writing. In IPD, she focused on design and especially enjoyed the freedom of doing creative work combined with her engineering foundation.
As an undergrad in Mechanical Engineering at Penn, Jason developed the prototype for a portable solar generator and continued to build out the product and business plan during his time in IPD, taking advantage of marketing and design courses, as well as the array of entrepreneurial activities and competitions offered on campus. His company, Gridless Power, has applications for the military, disaster relief, domestic agriculture and use in developing nations. Jason received a $500,000 grant from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to develop a full-scale prototype, and is now working to bring this high-tech product to market.
Thabo joined the IPD program as a dual Master's candidate in IPD and Architecture. She took the opportunity to engage in the robust curriculum that offered exposure to both the engineering and business side of design. After graduation she joined Gensler's Lifestyle studio to work on architecture, product design, brand design and environmental graphic design projects. She worked closely with the Managing Director of the Washington DC office on the set-up of Gensler's Fuel Lab, a group that partners with universities, public institutions, and other clients on global design challenges in product design, architecture and urban design. Through the Lab she has worked on projects in Thailand and Zimbabwe, partnering with Penn IPD, Penn Design, the MIT media lab, IBM, the CP group/ Thailand and the Mayor of Harare. In her free time, Thabo founded Tatusi, a company that creates handmade skirts from Zimbabwe, with her two sisters. The company's mission is to make an impact in their hometown through job creation.
Julie Lorch is a Product Designer in San Francisco. Her liberal arts background and early career as a writer enabled her to take a unique perspective on problem solving within the product design process. While in IPD, Julie enjoyed learning from classmates with diverse backgrounds in engineering, design, and business. She learned to speak each of these languages and developed particular interests in user-centred design and design research. Following IPD, Julie worked on cross-functional teams designing new to the world products for startups and not-for-profits. She's currently User Experience Lead for Olark in San Francisco. Previously, Julie designed for DoSomething.org, The Engine Room, and Live in the Grey, and also launched Holy Sh*t My friend has Cancer with her friends. Julie continues to write, most recently published in The XYZ Factor.
As an English major, Philip had his first introduction to the world of creativity and business while working for a branding agency following graduation. It wasn't until IPD, however, that he learned to bring together engineering, design and business to create products that have the potential to impact the world in a positive way. After working at Smart Design, Philip struck out on his own, launching his first startup Lokalty, a hybrid Hardware/Web/Mobile product designed to assist consumers to support local businesses. Phil is now working furiously with his small team on their second startup, 200days.
Jon is a Product Designer at Jaklitsch/Gardner Architects in New York. Jon joined IPD with a mechanical engineering background and work experience at DEKA Research and Development and in the packaging design department at Johnson & Johnson. While in IPD, Jon focused on developing a strong design identity that incorporates skills in rapid prototyping and an emphasis on sustainable materials. Jon spent his first year summer interning with David Trubridge Design, an award winning eco-design firm in New Zealand. His current projects at Jaklitsch/Gardener span furniture, lighting, and tabletop.