Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

Engineering + Design + Business

Carnegie Mellon University Integrated Innovation Institute Logo

Alumni Spotlight - Himanshu Rasam (MIIPS '16)

An Engineer's Designer: Journey to Becoming Product Manager

“Basically, I do IPD all day, every day!” Himanshu Rasam (MIIPS ’16) says of his role at Autodesk, where he uses the skills he developed in the Integrated Product Development class. As a Product Manager at Autodesk, Rasam applies much of what he learned as a student of the Master of Integrated Innovation for Products & Services program. He continues to sharpen the business skills he gained in Negotiation and Marketing courses, and relies on his design experience and engineering background as he coordinates with developers. Rasam's role as a Product Manager is a bit of a departure for the former engineer. 

“Before the MIIPS program, I thought I would be a Mechanical Engineer, designing mechanical products,” Rasam says. He had studied engineering as an undergraduate student and assumed a job in mechanical engineering was the next natural step. Upon entering the MIIPS program, though, Rasam learned the lexicon of business professionals and designers, and his engineering background was enriched by courses in marketing and user experience design. Intrigued by design, Rasam deviated from his mechanical engineering plan and pursued a Product Design and Innovation internship at Autodesk in Silicon Valley, an experience that would transform his professional goals and shape his career.

“At Autodesk, I was introduced to this whole new world of UX and UI design, and that changed my idea of where I should be going," says Rasam. For twelve weeks, he researched and collaborated with software and design teams, innovated workflows and tested product usability. 

When he returned to Carnegie Mellon, he began loading up on design and business courses that would further complement his engineering background.

“Product Management was really my goal, and design was one of the phases I wanted to strengthen. When I came back to CMU for my last semester, I chose more courses in UX design. With that knowledge and my research experience, I was able to come back to Autodesk, but this time, as a designer.”

When Rasam returned to Autodesk as a Senior Product Designer, he applied his user experience design skills to internal Autodesk products. Within a year, he was promoted to a role as Product Manager. In his new position, Rasam researches solutions that will best serve his clients and customizes software packages to meet client needs. He leads design sprints and partners with development teams, productizes Autodesk services and coordinating new packages. 

Looking to the future of his career and his industry, Rasam predicts that future product managers will be building and packaging products that offer more automated services. In five years, he foresees development teams further exploring and adopting findings from user research, so that new software is a response to organization workflow, instead of dictating the organization workflow.

“Three years ago, I was someone who thought they’d be doing mechanical engineering, and one year ago, I thought I would be doing product design, and lately, I think I’ll be doing product management! For now, though, I just want to keep launching great products, learn more about technical products and development phases like cloud products and machine learning products. My five-year plan is to understand those domains and pick one that I’ll really love and then choose a product and launching it.”

The Integrated Innovation Experience

Rasam decided on the MIIPS program because he wanted to learn more about product design and collaborate with people of different backgrounds. In addition to gaining design skills and finding a diverse community, Rasam found that the MIIPS program was also an introduction to new career opportunities. 

“The most important thing I noticed about CMU was that there was never just one door. The MIIPS program exposed me to wide-range of possibilities of career fields I could explore and helped me acquire the necessary skills with hands-on projects.”