MSSDM Alumni Webinar on March 10

March 2, 2023


Join us on Friday, March 10th, from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM for an alumni panel conversation on Crafting Strategic Solutions. The conversation will be moderated by Claire Zhuang (SDM’23) with panelists Kelly Ernst (SDM ’22), Senior Product Strategist at Method; Silvia Garuti (SDM ’20), UX Designer II at LexisNexis; and Sundar Subramanian (SDM ’19), Sr Business Designer at Ford Motor Company, London, UK. To know more about the panelists’ experience and thoughts around MS SDM program, please check out their alumni stories.

The panel will be virtual. All MS SDM students are invited.


Event Sign Up Portal CLosed




Quotes from the Panel


Kelly Ernst:

  • “The ways in which you get out of discomfort is apply strategic design process, not only in your projects but yourself and the way you are engaging with your team and the problem & ultimately just asking questions”
  • “Strategic design is quiet leadership, the idea of having a design toolbox really helps me & everyone has their own toolbox”
  • “Changing the direction, being flexible, and admitting you are wrong, asking why are so much easier if we build our own design toolkit”
  • “One of the most useful things I learned in a conflict management workshop is, If you have already built a case (against a person), you have let the problem go too far, and you have not communicated.”
  • “You can apply the strategic design process to your life & your career. We are in a constant iteration, constant discovery. You are never at the end and never at the right answer. There are always things to learn”


Silvia Garuit:

  • “The first step to strategic design is to truly actively listen to people”
  • “If expectations are not aligned with your team, users and stakeholders, then you may create the most amazing service or a product and still not serve the purpose”
  • “Different opinions are super useful to the project, discomfort brings a lot of value”
  • “Collaboration is one pillar of the Strategic process and management comes with it. Building human connections can help in understanding: What is the type of communication? How are people operating on the project level?”


Sundar Subramanian:

  • “There is no comfort zone when you are a strategic designer, you are just constantly in an uncomfortable place, and that’s not a bad thing, it keeps the job interesting”
  • “It is important to be bold & have a strong point of view than being neutral and trying to fit in, it is about having those strong opinions loosely held”
  • “I have found my own biases and blind spots through these discomforting conversations. The key to learning is to have interactions with people who are different from you and a varied perspective from what you have”
  • “One thing that has been particularly useful especially from a strategy perspective is the ability to think in systems and basically draw connections that might seem completely unrelated”

Full recording of the panel here