Loughborough Alumni

Our alumni

Smruthi Chandrasekar

Graduate Product Manager: Just Eat

Smruthi graduated from Loughborough University with a degree in Product Design Engineering in 2016, and with a Masters’ degree in Design Innovation Management in 2017. She now works for Just Eat.

Why did you choose to study at Loughborough University and at Loughborough University London?

I studied my undergraduate at Loughborough because of the versatility of the Product Design Engineering BEng course. I enjoyed the way the course blended design and engineering together harmoniously. I enjoyed my experience at Loughborough and decided to study at Loughborough University London after my bachelors mainly because of the great reputation of the university, but also because of the trust that I have in the university providing me with a worthwhile, thorough, and high-class education.

I was especially interested in the modules offered through the Design Innovation Management MSc, and felt that the modules were delving into design principles, tools and techniques that I would find useful to learn and would help me further enhance my design knowledge. I studied at Loughborough University and Loughborough University London, enjoyed my time at both campuses immensely, and have no regrets!

How has the University inspired you and helped you to progress in your career?

The modules on offer at Loughborough University have helped prepare me well for my career. Group work, presenting, problem solving and creative skills are a must in my current job and the University definitely helped me develop these initial skills.

Not only that, but I was also able to learn from knowledgeable and talented guest speakers and lecturers to enhance my learning experience.

Finally, I was also provided with many opportunities to take part in extracurricular activities such as being the Programme Representative for my course and being a Student Ambassador for the University when I studied at the London campus. This helped me strengthen my CV and stand out from other people when applying for jobs and to progress my career.

What did you think of the course content at Loughborough University London?

I enjoyed the course content and found it very relevant for my personal development. I have even applied what I learnt to my current job role as a Graduate Product Manager for Just Eat.

What were your favourite modules?

I enjoyed the Design Innovation Project module on my MSc course because I got to work with other creative students on a real brief set by an external company. This module was very creative as we had to create a poster and provide design sketches and prototypes of our solution that was presented to our peers and the external company.

In addition, we learnt about blogging and had to keep a regular blog about our project progress, which was something I was completely new to and really enjoyed. I also really enjoyed the dissertation module because I was able to write about something that I was interested and passionate about and this allowed me to develop my research skills and knowledge around my chosen subject area.

Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did in London?

I would definitely recommend the course that I studied because of it being very flexible and versatile in terms of choosing modules and specialising in design and management tools and techniques. If a student is passionate about design and wants to be able to enhance the design process to develop better products and services that meet/ exceed the needs of customers, then this course would probably suit them!

How did your postgraduate and undergraduate experiences differ?

I felt that my undergraduate course was a lot harder and technical than my postgraduate degree, mainly because it was an engineering bachelors. However, I felt that there was a lot of support and guidance provided too.

The postgraduate degree was more enjoyable as it is an area that I am interested in and something that I want to pursue as a career. Though, I did feel that I had to be more self-motivated as a postgraduate because there is a lot more independent study and research that is required.

I enjoyed the independence and whilst my undergraduate course gave me confidence in the fact that I do have a passion for designing products and services, my postgraduate degree then helped me delve into this subject area. I was able to specialise in the different tools and models to help support the design process for products and services.

Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did this impact upon your Loughborough experience?

I enjoyed being part of the student ambassador team and being a programme representative for my course. It was a great experience feeling part of the university community and was even more fantastic that we won the Programme Rep team of the year award at the LSU Academic Awards ceremony. These experiences helped me build my confidence and become a good role model to others. I found my involvement in both activities easy to manage alongside my studies and would definitely recommend other prospective students to get involved!

How did it feel to be awarded “Scholar of the Year”?

I was really surprised to have been awarded Scholar of the Year, but I am also very thankful for the recognition and prize. This award has definitely helped to boost my confidence, and I feel proud of my achievements that I have accomplished throughout the year.

Can you tell us about your career journey so far? Where are you working now?

I am currently on a Product Management Graduate scheme at a tech company in London. I have been working at the company for 10 months now and have learnt so much already where I’ve been given a lot of responsibilities, been able to work in various different departments, and make an impact on real products and features within a company.

What do you love the most about your job?

I absolutely love being given the responsibility and the ability to take ownership of the development of product features. I love working in cross-functional teams to work collaboratively across the company to deliver dynamic product feature changes.

Though I work in technology, it is still important to improve the user interface and user experience of our products we offer to our customers, and is a creative area I have really enjoyed working on enhancing.

Moreover, I love the fast paced nature of my company which means I get to work on exciting new products continuously and get to see the outcome when it’s available to the public. I have already been a part of global changes to our iOS, Android and Web platforms, and seeing the product features that I have been working on released to customers globally has been an amazing and rewarding experience.

What does the future hold for you?

I plan to progress my career as a Product Manager at my company after my graduate scheme, and hope to progress as a Senior Product Manager at my firm in the next 5 years. I want to continue to develop exciting product features within our products and services we offer our customers, and be part of the exciting growth of my company.

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