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Homepage / My Cranfield Journey

My Cranfield Journey


Looking back over my MDes year, it was filled with a lot of happy memories both academically and socially. The course was so varied in terms of content and delivery; some of which were very familiar and some which were very new – I can not recall one moment of it whereby I did not take away something from a task or challenge.

Right at the beginning of the year we were plunged straight into a design “hackathon” which was in conjunction with the University of Exeter and the Ellen Macarthur foundation, focusing on the topic of circular economy. Not just having to work within our new Cranfield cohort but in mixed teams, it created the ideal opportunity to network. This was common across several of the modules because they may be in conjunction with other courses, so you get to meet a lot of different people with different specialists and expertise.

As we progressed through the modules, we got the chance to build up our skillset with a variety of assessment tasks which helped in guiding us towards what areas we would be most interested in for our industry-linked thesis project. Having met Leon (Head of centre) back when I was 17, when he came to do a talk at my college, I knew instantly that I wanted to study design at Cranfield. The links to industry in C4D is vast and whatever sector you wish you specialise in, there are connections that can make this possible for you!

Having been nudged into studying engineering at A-level, the “hardcore” maths and science were not where my strengths lay. I knew I enjoyed problem solving and design gave me the opportunity to be creative and ‘think outside the box’ in a structured way that tackled real-world problems. C4D really nurtured this.

One of my favourite memories of my MDes year was the site visit to Vitsoe in Royal Leamington Spa. Vitsoe are a circular economy based furniture company that have been designing their products the same way for over 60 years – if you buy a product now it will still work perfectly in conjunction with a Vitsoe product from 1980 for example. Being able to see that design can be integrated into everyday life and still have a positive impact on the world (and reducing less waste!) really inspired me. It was a great day of learning about the company, and interesting to see how the principles covered in the Whole Systems Design module were being used by companies in industry.

I am currently a Research Assistant in C4D and working on developing the designs I created as part of my thesis project. This has been an amazing opportunity to work on a project that directly affects how a company would operate as well as developing my portfolio of skills. In 5 years’, time I would like to have worked on a variety of projects and be able to say I have made a positive impact on the world through my design work. My dream job would be to have a senior consultancy role in world-renowned companies.

My advice to anyone thinking of applying for the MDes Design Thinking course is to just do it! It is a year full of exciting tasks and experiences that you can tailor to suit your own specialism or interest!

Emma Marks

Written By: Cranfield University

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