Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

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Kumar at Tesla

Alumni Spotlight - Anshuman Kumar (MIIPS '16)

According to Anshuman Kumar, the basic mantra to make big things happen is, "infinite persistence and thinking from first principles." Kumar knows firsthand how big things happen, especially when it comes to reinventing transportation. While at Carnegie Mellon, he founded and led the university's Hyperloop team and upon graduating was recruited by Tesla Motors to work on the electronics that power its growing fleet of electric cars.

The Integrated Innovation Experience

Kumar's experience at Carnegie Mellon started just as SpaceX announced its Hyperloop competition. Kumar got to work almost immediately. "The timing was perfect, and I realized very soon that this was what I’ll end up doing for the entire next year," he explains. Kumar was able to assemble an initial group in a matter of days and with just a few quick posts on social media. As word about this exciting new project spread, students from all disciplines began showing interest, and the official Carnegie Mellon Hyperloop team was born. The team today is a 60-person group of highly talented students from the MIIPS program as well as Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering, School of Design and Tepper School of Business.

After months of designing, developing, and fundraising, Kumar and his team presented their initial pod concept in January 2015 at Design Weekend at Texas A&M University. Carnegie Mellon Hyperloop was selected as one of 22 finalist teams from more than 1,000 competitors. For these chosen finalists, the competition culminates in January 2017 at the SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California. Carnegie Mellon Hyperloop will be competing against other top universities including MIT, Delft University of Technology, and Virginia Tech. With the design completely finalized, the team moved with great pace toward their first pod prototype.

As the Project Manager and Lead Design Engineer, Kumar says he couldn't imagine Carnegie Mellon Hyperloop's success without the support from the Integrated Innovation Institute and the lessons he learned from the MIIPS program, "The Integrated Innovation Institute gave me unique access to resources and contacts in engineering, business and design that were instrumental in our success." He continues, "The MIIPS program also taught me key skills in project management and leadership. I've been able to draw direct parallels between how I managed the Hyperloop team and what I learned in the classroom. It was a perfect fit."

Soon after graduating from MIIPS in May 2016, Kumar was recruited by Tesla Motors to join the Power Electronics Team as a Mechanical Design Engineer. After an incredible year of living and breathing product and service innovation, Kumar is eager for the next phase of his career at Tesla, "I love challenges. To an engineer, excitement lies in making things possible that weren't possible before. I had a great year here at CMU working toward exactly that and have no intentions of slowing down."