Master in Design Engineering

By: Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

I was originally looking at MBA programs and I just happened to stumble upon the MDE program and I really liked that it was a combination of design, engineering, and business. Well, I was literally stalking websites of design schools, looking for something that was interdisciplinary and very collaborative, and there were not a lot of programs like that. This idea of trying to link design, plus engineering, plus business or entrepreneurship, I think it is exactly what many companies and the society is asking for. It's really cool that everyone is from all over the world, and we're a unique group of people from all different academic and professional backgrounds. Everyone is incredibly motivated. They are accomplished young professionals in their own disciplines and incredibly interested in other disciplines as well.

I expect my experience in this program to help me later, primarily through how I interact with other teams and knowing how to work with other people from different disciplines and how to use that to our advantage. What struck me about the program is that it wasn't try to enforce a solution on the universe based on what you're good at, but it was trying to basically look at the problems that actually exist, in reality, and trying to pick up those problems and recognizing that none of those problems are very disciplinary. What I found through working on a project in the food systems is that a complex problem is so big and so messy.

Being able to find simplicity among complexity is very difficult. As you are trained to work with that, and as you iterate through that process, it becomes easier over time. My studio team's project is currently working on developing agricultural metrics, as it relates to the entire system of farming and producing food.

So, we're creating agricultural food hubs, or clusters, that small-scale farmers can use to operate their businesses more efficiently and deliver their product to cities as a lower cost. So, we are developing a digital assistant to promote food security, mostly through the distribution of better information at the right time. I really like the flexibility and the fact that we can make it our own program. We all come in from very different backgrounds, and so being able to have the kind of core business foundations from our Frameworks class and also the collaborative design engineering studio is really nice, but then we also have electives, so you can really tailor your experience to what your future career aspirations are, and what you're looking to get out from the program. The most innovative thing about the MDE program is the fact that it crosses multiple schools at Harvard, not just with the core between the Design School and Engineering School but also with the flexibility of the electives, to be able to go to the Business School, the Kennedy School, the Law School, and even MIT. By being exposed to different sets of methodologies and design techniques that we're seeing here at the Harvard MDE program, we will become much more well-rounded professionals and we will be much more ready to address complex challenges in a variety of different industries.

Master in Design Engineering

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