Career

The MDes prepares students to work in creative and technical roles designing products, services, experiences, and environments. The diversity of our student body is mirrored in the exciting and varied professional roles our graduates step into beyond the program. Alongside that tremendous richness in career trajectories, our students and graduates are all connected by a deep desire to design with humans and the planet at the center of their work, and a passion for leveraging technology to improve lives. 

Our program equips students not just for the jobs of today, but also careers of the future. As the world sees rapid change enabled by emerging technologies, our graduates are expected to work in an ever-expanding set of roles at the intersection of design, technology, and social impact. 

This page provides some data on MDes alumni career outcomes, a look at how our dedicated staff provide programs and services to support students and alumni at every step of their career journeys, as well as some characteristics that make our program a great place to launch, pivot, or supercharge your career.


Career Outcomes

From designing immersive experiences at world-renowned design studios to developing digital products at some of the world’s largest enterprises, our alumni are making a global impact across industries. Here is a selection of roles MDes alumni are working in:

  • Designer @ Tellart
  • Immersive Experience Designer @ Rock Paper Reality
  • Design Analyst @ McKinsey
  • Head of Product Design @ Poised
  • Designer @ IBM
  • User Experience Interaction Designer @ Google
  • Product Designer @ Uber
  • Head of Design Innovation @ Schoolab
  • Digital Insight Product Innovator @ Nike
  • XR Designer @ Accenture
  • Co-founder, CEO @ milvia
  • Materials R&D @ Bilio
  • Design Engineer @ 10xBeta
  • Product Manager @ Mushroom.gg
  • Founder, AR/XR Designer @ BroadAR
  • Product Design Manager @ Speechlab
  • Digital Sculptor @ General Motors
  • Mechatronics Engineer @ Pictorus

Benchmarked against the most comprehensive national data on career outcomes for masters levels students in the US from the National Association of Colleges and Employers, our MDes graduates have higher rates of job placement 6 months after graduation and are earning more on average. Below is some summary data for our two graduated cohorts (up to date as of October 2023).

Career Outcomes Summary Data
Accepted offer before graduation (%)* 44%
Accepted offer w/in 6 mo. after graduation (%) 88%
Median base salary** $122,500
Mean base salary $114,608
Leadership roles 1 out of 4 graduates
* Knowledge rate of roles our students are working in is 91%
**Knowledge rate of mean and median base salary for graduates is 45%

Our graduates are working at companies of all sizes, with a little over a third of all alumni at large enterprise companies, about a third at startups, and the rest at small to medium size businesses, as shown in the table below.

Organization Size
Startup 37.0%
Small-sized business (0-100 employees) 13.0%
Medium-sized business (101-999 employees) 8.7%
Large enterprise (>1,000 employees) 41.3%

 


Alumni Testimonials

Benal Johnson

MDes Fall 2022

Designer at Tellart

The MDes influenced my career greatly; I came in thinking I wanted to work in one specific space and then my mind was opened up to a whole other world. I wasn’t too aware of the work happening at the intersection of the tangible and the digital before I came to the MDes, but I was incredibly drawn to this space the more I was exposed to projects, writings, and readings in the program. All of this eventually led to me working in immersive media and immersive interaction design, where I get to combine storytelling, technology, speculative futures, and tangible experiences. I never would have thought I’d end up working in this area, but I’m so glad my path led me where I am now.

 

 

Felicia Renelus

MDes Fall 2022

Innovation Designer at IBM

Being part of the MDes program strengthened my critical thinking as a designer. Being able to apply these skills in real life settings and to be able to think about the implications of technology and how it can be used to help but also hurt people, is something I use in my day to day life as an Innovation Designer at IBM. Design strategy was a field I knew little about, but was exposed to after taking Design Frameworks as part of MDes core curriculum. Beyond my day job at IBM, I’m really passionate about exhibition curation and development, more specifically, working in science and art museums to create educational, yet speculative pieces. MDes allowed me to explore speculative design throughout all my coursework, inspiring me to continue to create thought provoking pieces that incorporate technology in my personal life. 

 

 

 

Akash Mahajan

MDes Spring 2022

Design Analyst at McKinsey & Company

My experience in the MDes program at Berkeley was instrumental in preparing me for my role as a design consultant at McKinsey. The opportunity to interact and have 1:1 relationships with professors, guest lecturers, visiting industry professionals and career coaches helped me build a strong network of mentors who provided insights and regular guidance on how to prepare and navigate my career choices. In addition, the diverse cohort and the program’s interdisciplinary approach played a big part in developing a holistic perspective on how design interacts with various fields like tech and business.

 

 

Eleanor Mayes

MDes Spring 2022

Designer, Media & Accessible Design Lab at LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired

I came to MDes with an engineering background, an appreciation for design, and a desire to use my knowledge, effort, and time to advance social good. The emphasis on interdisciplinary learning in MDes illustrated to me that charting a career trajectory aimed at social impact was feasible while still undertaking more traditional engineering activities. Through MDes, I realized that STEAM holds immense value beyond that of STEM alone. I came to understand that I could have a career that involved design and engineering instead of picking just one, especially by pulling from relevant parts of both fields. The course that typified this most for me while in MDes was Designing Emerging Technologies. I gained so much inspiration from the interactive examples we learned about in class; they pushed my imagination further than when I was learning just engineering essentials. Now, I work with clients from various industries and sectors. I love specializing in accessibility because while the format stays the same, the content differs considerably between clients. I design within the constraints of my medium while ensuring that the designs are accessible to blind and visually impaired individuals.

 


Career Development Resources

The MDes Director of Career Development, Stephanie Bianco, is committed to supporting you professionally in the program and beyond. She offers a range of programming and services to fuel your career growth. Here’s a high-level overview of the support she provides to MDes students and alumni:

  • One-on-one unlimited career coaching sessions
    • Our students and alumni get unlimited, lifetime career support through one-on-one coaching sessions with Stephanie Bianco and career coach Arya Zarrinkelk, offered both in-person and virtually.
  • Rich offering of design industry engagements
    • Every year we host a range of exciting industry engagements from Career Treks to Bay Area companies to hosting panels, portfolio review nights, alumni events and more right here in Jacobs Hall.
  • Dedicated mentors
  • Career development workshops
    • We offer career development workshops across a wide range of topics to help MDes’ians at every stage of their job search, from tailoring your resume to negotiating a job offer.
  • Slack access for life
    • Our MDes Slack workspace is a vibrant hub for sharing job opportunities, events, resources, and community news. Our students and alumni stay connected to the community through lifetime access to this platform.
  • Professional development funds
    • The MDes program provides up to $500 per student to engage in professional development activities, such as attending conferences, participating in competitions, obtaining a certificate, etc.

Design@Large: An Immersive Professional Development Experience

An important avenue for professional development in the MDes program is students’ participation in Design@Large during the summer between their second and third semesters. Design@Large is a professional development experience that empowers all MDes students to explore potential career directions and gain important professional skills while they are pursuing the degree. Students identify and engage in an immersive experience outside of an MDes course or studio and apply what they have learned in a broader context, whether that’s through an internship, academic research, an independent project, a new start-up, or working in the public sector. For more information and to see examples of students’ experiences, please visit our dedicated Design@Large page.