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Anahita Dasgupta, Making the Tough Decisions

By Andrew Wyder

May 20, 2024

Portrait of Anahita Dasgupta
From Engineering to Award-Winning Design

As an undergraduate student, Anahita Dasgupta (MDes 2024) knew that she was interested in design. And she had an idea about how she could pursue that as a career.

But it didn’t take long into her undergraduate career for Anahita to realize that a path that started with a mechanical engineering degree wasn’t the same as the design career she wanted to pursue.

“To be honest, I didn’t think that design would be separate from engineering. In my head, they always felt like they would go hand in hand,” Dasgupta says. “Once you design something, you need to be an engineer to make it. To design it, is to be intentional about the thought behind the thing in the first place. But I quickly realized that learning about engineering is so different from learning about design, and they’re not as integrated as I anticipated them to be.”

While she realized that engineering wasn’t the path that she wanted to pursue as a career, Anahita doesn’t believe that she would have wanted to pursue a graduate design education had she not studied engineering while also pursuing design extracurriculars.

Learning about engineering is so different from learning about design, and they’re not as integrated as I anticipated them to be.
—Anahita Dasgupta (MDes 2024)

Because of the passion that her undergraduate experience ignited in her for design, she started to explore graduate programs in design that allowed for discovery, and the Institute of Design had what she was looking for.

ID allowed her to explore all that design offers and the flexibility to choose what she wanted to pursue. As she graduates from ID, Anahita realizes her perspective on design has evolved significantly.

I would be such a different designer if I didn’t come to ID. I thought of myself as mainly a math and science person. But at ID, I got to grow more holistically and engage more with the social science and critical thinking parts of me.
—Anahita Dasgupta (MDes 2024)

Over her two years at ID, Anahita has taken part in a range of design workshops and projects, from her Fast Company-recognized, AI-powered FitForm Bras project to food waste. She has explored design through internships with the Institute of Healthcare Delivery Design and Ford Motor Company. These diverse experiences helped her understand how design can be applied in different realms.

What she learned in the classroom and through projects and workshops was only enhanced by the community she built at ID, particularly those with other ID students.

The relationships and groups that they built because of shared interests, such as Anahita’s interest in equitable design, provided a sounding board of creativity and support.

As much as the classroom starts the conversations, it’s really pushed forward by the friends you make at ID and the people you connect with who have the same values in design. That’s something that’s never going to go away.
—Anahita Dasgupta (MDes 2024)

As she looks forward, Dasgupta is preparing for her next challenge. She’s interviewing and pursuing full-time roles in design research and strategy.

“A lot of the ID courses have had really good conversations around power, authority, and decision-making, and those always felt like the toughest conversations in the design process,” she says. “Once you have the idea, executing on it is not the hard part. All of my most memorable and my favorite ID courses have all been heavily engaged in the decision-making part of the process.”

Her experience at ID helped her realize that design doesn’t have to focus on just one idea or practice. It can dive deeper and extend into making tough decisions before a product is even developed. And she wants to be the person helping to make those decisions.