Yulia Zelenina's experiences in Delft


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TU Delft Alumni, different career paths

Becoming a TU Delft alumni is not a temporary accomplishment, it will have a lifelong impact. TU Delft alumni live and work around the world. They carry knowledge, experience, and memories with them that help them succeed in their professional careers.

I want to present the stories of three alumni of the “Master in Strategic Product Design” who will share their inspirational stories after graduation at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at TU Delft:

Hi, my name is Yulia, and I am following the Strategic Product Design Masters Degree in Delft. Find out all about my experiences living and studying in Delft here.

Yulia Zelenina

Marie Van Den Bergh, teacher of Systemic Design, at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design and a Service Designer at Frog.
Ashni Shah, who is currently employed as a Core User Experience Designer at Booking.com.
Nadiye Çakir, has recently begun her career as an innovation advisor at the Directorate of the Ministry of Justice and Security in the Netherlands after having performed her thesis within the ministry.

Marie, Ashni and Nadiya all shared that, after completing the SPD master’s program, they were able to appreciate the value of design and designers, especially in large organisations. The master’s degree also taught them how to
manage stakeholders, reframe obstacles, solve problems creatively, and collaborate with diverse teams. These skills were crucial to become the professionals they are today. Throughout the master’s program, they worked on a variety of projects with diverse teams and under strict time restrictions. These circumstances pushed them to get more competent in project management and convincing presentations. Overall, they experienced the curriculum and environment at IDE to be inspiring for learning and development. They all enjoyed their time at TU Delft.


“One of the skills I developed at TU Delft is how to work well in diverse teams. The international character of the Master exposes you to different cultures and different ways of working and knowing” - Marie Van Den Bergh

“A very prominent skill I developed during the Master’s programme was on how to communicate my thoughts and findings in a convincing manner. These learnings along with the course specific insights helped me to land, first a job at Philips Design and then more recently at Booking.com. I am continuously applying these soft skills in my everyday job” - Ashni Shah

“The group work that I did throughout the whole program really helped me to work with different types of people. Stakeholder management is essential in my work and making sure everyone is included is a must” - Nadiye Çakir

Other skills that the alumni referred to focus on design skills and practices, proper design research, co-creative practices, and facilitating the design process. In addition, alumni also recommended engaging in the community, for example: by working as a student assistant, joining a board or association.

Marie, Ashni and Nadiye all, shared they are proud of graduating from TU Delft, especially because of all the educational and extracurricular initiatives experienced when they had to get outside of their comfort zone. For example,
by organising a study trip to Stockholm with other students for the Master’s program or being involved as a student assistant in organising courses (Marie Van Den Bergh), publishing and presenting research papers at conferences (Ashni Shah), going to Kenya during internship for an NGO to solve a transportation problem among farmers with the help of a cargo bicycle. Nadiye helped design and build two transportation solutions; it was a very valuable experience.

“However, it never got implemented and the bikes were never used. Because of this, I embarked on a journey (which was my masters honours project) of discovering what impact means in this context and how to improve it. I am most proud of my 2 years of autonomous learning where I discovered a lot about this project in Kenya and why it did not really work, but also a lot about myself. I felt I really turned in to a different designer after I finished this project” - Nadiye Çakir


Lastly, the 3 alumni emphasised what employers are looking for in new graduates from the University.:

“From my perspective employers are looking for young people that bring in energy, curiosity, responsibility, and most of all a positive attitude towards learning. Take opportunities that TU Delft offers you, look for those things that interest you and go for it. Reach out to people, expand your skill set in your study and outside of your study. And most of all, enjoy this wonderful time” - Marie Van Den Bergh


“In my experience employers are not expecting a new graduate to already know exactly how to do the job when they are hired! Rather, what they are looking for is how motivated and driven one is to learn on the job. Skills that a potential employer will definitely value are good and clear communication, organisation skills, time management and ability to work well in a team. How well one fits into the company and team they are being hired for, is something a lot of companies take very seriously! Enjoy every experience and challenge during the masters. Push yourself to think differently, to work with different people – because that is how you will grow. The Master’s programme is a safe environment to experiment and build your own perspective on design and hone yourself as a designer. Make the most of this time! Alongside that, leverage on the network that the university provides to see what else is out there for you. And, ask for help – people are more than happy to share, and that is also the best way to grow” - Ashni Shah

“Design methodology knowledge, of which the end-user is the central focus, they want to know how to do this, and how to communicate this among the Ministry. Believe in your value. We are valuable people! Especially in the public sector. If you are patient and willing, you can make massive changes here!” - Nadiye Çakir


Marie, Ashni and Nadiye believe there is a common denominator that unites them: Design Values from TU Delft. The excellent education quality, the people met, the contact with businesses follow the same principles. Principles that also allow to be part of an engaging and nurturing community that supports within professional and personal lives.

P.S. A tip from the alumni: the third semester in all master’s programs offers excellent opportunities to explore the possibilities for your future career. Students can choose to study abroad, do the Internship, or select electives that fit future ambitions. There are various electives related to Medical design, Entrepreneurship, Material experiences, Sustainable businesses, Prototyping, Drawing, and many more.  

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