Ashish Goel – Life at Stanford University, Stanford Design Program
Today we have Ashish Goel talking about his life at Stanford University while doing a Design Thinking Program.
Sundar Rajan G S
* Brief Intro about yourself
Grew up in Gurgaon. Studied Biochemical Engineering at IIT Delhi, worked at a consulting startup for a year before staring iTasveer.com, which I was a part of for ~5 years. Did a few other short gigs before going to graduate school.
* Entry Criteria:
– Approx CGPA range
Undergraduate CGPA 7.5
– Gre & Toefl scores range
1480 GRE Score, TOEFL waived
– Research Experience at undergraduate level
– Does the graduate program favor PhD applications more ?
No. There are no PhD position in the design program at Stanford. (Though there are some at the Center for Design Research, which is different).
– What are the general strengths of the departments ?
A great program if you want to learn about how to use design as strategic tool (Design Thinking), and also make things (Design Doing) (Stanford has the d.school + Product Realization Lab and a great set of students and teachers)
– Any advice for writing statement of purpose ?
Who are you, why here, why now? Tell a good story and state why the program is right for you and what you bring to the program (the latter should come through in your story, as against being explicit). Definitely share what you hope to achieve by being in the program. The website for the program has some good tips on writing an SOP.
– Any trend in the amount of Indians in the graduate program in the department ?
Usually one per year of Indian ethnicity (maybe NRI) out of class of 12-15 students
– Is it advisable to email professors prior/during applying ?
I’d suggest you visit during the Info Session that happens in September/October. If that’s hard, try writing to a current student for advice.
* After you get in:
– Aid scenario – #number of ppl who come in with aid, chances of aid after coming in, more details on RA/TA/small work around campus.
You get assigned TAships in your second year, but if you ask around there are lots of opportunities. I was able to fund over a year’s tuition + living expenses through TAships
– how much money should one shell out for the entire course if it completely unfunded.
6 quarters, About 14k per quarter is tuition (~$9500) + graduate housing rent (~$1000 per month). Additionally, you’d probably spend about $1k-$1.5k on other expenses.
– What are the living expenses?
– How easy it is to switch departments?
– switch from Phd to MS or vice versa?
No MS Design PhD’s are offered
– Availability of public transport ?
Stanford has a shuttle called Marguerite. Most likely you would bike around campus, to travel around Stanford there is Caltrain
– Any big concerns for weather ?
Nope. Amazing weather
– Any Indian activities or Indian associations?
Look at the associations page on Stanford’s website
* After the course:
– Career opportunities after the course?
Quite varied. Some people get into design consulting, other into mechanical/product/interaction design gigs, or some even design strategy or product management gigs depending on their interest. I am currently doing a fellowship at Stanford after my program. However there isn’t a recruitment process per se, you have to explore such opportunities on your own. Expect that an ongoing process in your last quarter.
– Typical Money made during internships?
Depends on the company. A classmate interned at Apple at got over $5k per month, while others have earned that over the entire summer. I’d say focus on getting a great internship experience and not the pay. If it is paying for rent, do it.
– What is your area of specialization?
This is definitely a ‘design generalist’ degree, which was right for me as a past entrepreneur. Even so, if I were to pick a speciality, I’d say UX Design.
– why did you choose to pursue the course abroad?
There are very few design masters in India.
– What is their driving force to earn a MS ? Is it joy of learning or monetary options or both?
I wanted to be a ‘real designer’. My undergraduate degree was in Engineering but I had been doing all design work at my start-up.