Good design is all about systems thinking. To make sure we are not simply pushing pixels, designing for thoughtful interactions and meaningful experiences requires thinking at a broader level about the product construct, and what goals it helps end users achieve. Through the ESD curriculum, I’ve been trained to adopt a systems thinking perspective: seeing product features as interconnected wholes, rather than separate parts. This helps me collaborate with designers to craft research questions, by identifying operational assumptions and potential root causes of usability problems. I am thus able to design research studies to glean the most valuable insights.

Additionally, the broad-based learning in ESD helped me build rigour in multiple forms of systems design, making me familiar with technical implications of different design decisions. This helps me contribute to product discussions, such as by flagging out dependencies and edge cases to note.

Of course, it also helps that ESD projects give us plenty of challenges to push ourselves! I’ve had to step up to lead projects, liaise with industry partners, and present my thoughts in an accessible way – and I believe it’s shaped me to become a more effective advocate of good design in my workplace.

Tan Hui Min Grace, Class of 2021, ESD Alumni, UX Researcher, Singtel

The ESD curriculum is very well designed to equip students with not only the technical skills such as system architecture design, mathematical modelling ,and coding skills but also data-driven solution delivery, visualization, and presentation skills. I learned how to build models and perform data analysis, but more importantly, got many opportunities to present the result of the analysis to different stakeholders. This is very relevant to my job in the Standard Chartered bank as the banking industry is very client focused. The opportunities that ESD has provided me to meet clients and deliver data-driven solutions that help the clients to make more informed decisions are truly valuable. My current rotation with Standard Chartered bank data privacy transformation program requires me to understand the operational systems design and to perform data visualization in certain areas. The ESD curriculum has equipped me very well with the technical skills such as data visualization, and soft skills such as presentation and communication skills as well.

Pei Jinling, Class of 2021, ESD Alumni, 2021 International Graduate Program, Trust Data and Resilience, Standard Chartered Bank

The ESD curriculum trained me to ask questions in order to better understand systems. As I am currently working with Amgen Biotechnology Singapore to support their Manufacturing Execution System (MES) systems, this enabled me to quickly gain a broad understanding of the MES system and its role in the Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing process. This, combined with the holistic perspective from knowing how to examine systems, helped me to better understand the pipelines and bottlenecks of the systems here, and how to prepare the required communications and information in advance to expedite the change process. Thus, ESD provided the foundation for me to exceed expectations at work.

See Yong Chun, Class of 2021, ESD Alumni, Graduate Analyst, Cognizant

ESD students are equipped with design and analytical thinking skills that help tackle the inevitable complexities embedded in all systems regardless of industry. These skills are highly relevant and greatly sought-after in the world of solutioning and problem solving. My current role as Executive Product Owner (PO) at SIA (Singapore Airlines Limited) relies heavily on the design-centric approach to produce elegant system features that enhance the multi-faceted user experience. Together with the data obtained from our system usage, I can then interpret and analyse user trends and propose further enhancements to the system. Complementing and optimizing existing workflows with such solutioning would substantially improve both passengers’ travel as well as employees’ work experiences. We put customer-focus and care for our people at the forefront of the way we work and conduct ourselves. Especially in such unprecedented times, we strive even more to provide the most pleasant experience possible. Being able to seamlessly bring together and consolidate different perspectives in producing a holistic and satisfying solution is widely appreciated and embraced in the modern working industry.

Chloe Tan, Class of 2021, ESD Alumni, SIA Executive, Ground Experience Development, Singapore Airlines Limited

ESD courses have equipped their graduates with skills to be work ready and adaptable to changes in dynamic working environments. This is achieved by introducing multiple projects tasked during our studies to materialize our theoretical knowledge into tangible outcomes impacting the real world. Moreover, having their students work with different people, not only develops our analytical and technical aspects but also hones our interpersonal skills. The ESD courses have helped me, a Researcher and aspiring Data Analyst, to obtain skills such as critical and logical thinking. These skills help me to create frameworks specifically for different research projects and use logical thinking to construct data analysis codes that are efficient and user-friendly.

Jordan Tay, Class of 2021, ESD Alumni, Research Assistant, Aviation Studies Institute (ASI)

The analytical and programming skills are the best takeaway from the ESD curriculum. To put the programming skills into practice, the frequent partnerships with companies and getting real world data allow me to get a sense of what a company data is like and how to process it in a way that fulfil the project objectives. Analytical skills are also honed as ESD curriculum is mathematically-driven as we study algorithms from queueing systems to machine learning algorithms. These technical skills are immediately applicable in my workplace as I solve business problems and code on a daily basis. Additionally, SUTD’s strong focus on design enables students to be creative in ideating solutions and develop grit in implementing the solutions. As such, ESD graduates have the potential and aptitude to continuously improve and upgrade their skills after graduation, which is crucial as the data landscape is everchanging.

Wong Kay Jan, Class of 2018, ESD Alumni, AVP - Senior Software Developer, GIC

I am thankful for how ESD structures our education with an emphasis on industrial relevancy. The foundation of mathematical modelling and analytical skills equipped me with the right skill set to convert systems problems into solvable mathematical models. Furthermore, the multitude of industrial partnerships fostered an appreciation of academic knowledge through real world application. Hence, I am confident that the rigorous training in ESD has laid the groundwork for me to build a better working world with EY.

Tan Kwan Fu, Class of 2018, ESD Alumni, Tax Associate, EY

The ESD curriculum is structured to equip undergraduates with the technical analytics skills and mathematical knowledge necessary to decipher data in modelling and analysing systems. This is greatly relevant as the abundance of data in the knowledge era provides an opportunity to make informed decisions that impact a wide range of industries.

A systems data perspective coupled with technical analytics skills has helped me at my first job at Accenture, as a Digital Business Integration Analyst. My current role at Accenture translates data to inform business decisions in building a cloud-based, customer-centric system. Each project presents a different context in which data could be interpreted, which is a testament to how data analytics is widely applicable and sought after in many industries.

Jolene Quek, Class of 2017, ESD Alumni, Digital Business Integration Analyst, Accenture Digital