Carnegie Mellon University

Integrated Innovation Institute

Engineering + Design + Business

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Alumni Spotlight - Jessica Franko (MIIPS '21)

Enterprise XD Strategy Lead @ Bank of America

Industry: Finance

iii: Tell us about yourself and your career journey.

For every item on my resume, there are four more that are not listed - I have been a graphic designer, public school STEM teacher, nutritionist... These days I would call myself an Innovation Strategist or Transdisciplinary Designer.  Several years ago I discovered and fell in love with User Centered Design and I knew it was what I wanted to do every day for the rest of my life.  I learned all I could, started taking on project opportunities, and eventually pursued graduate education. I completed the MIIPS program in 2021, and have been living my dream working as a strategist and experience designer since.

iii: So what do you do at your job?

I support a portfolio of UX strategists and designers to improve the business value of enterprise operations in Audit, Legal, and Data Platform Services.  It involves understanding the operating environment, connecting the dots to identify opportunities, and collaborating as an upstream UX voice to drive strategy.

iii: What do you most enjoy about your field?

I most enjoy making sense of complexity in tangible ways.  I also learn so much about the world and myself through practicing design.

iii: What do you wish you had known when you were a student?

You will be exposed to many new ideas, get feedback and opinions from a lot of people about what you should do in your educational experience, how good of a job you did (i.e. grades), and about how you should approach your career.  Just remember: This is YOUR journey, not anyone else's.  I wish I had given myself more more permission to stay grounded in that.

iii: And... why did you choose CMU/your degree program?

I love big-picture, blue-sky creativity, but I still value making things real in the world.  I chose MIIPS because I thought it would allow me to engage equally in my creativity and tactical implementation through design, engineering, and business.

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