At a Glance:
Business student explores unexpected interest in technology and engineering through Design Thinking pathway, which eventually sent him down a different career path.
Henry Olson unintentionally stumbled upon a new direction through his selection of the Design Thinking Pathway. Originally selecting it because of its ease of completion while in the business program, Henry found over time that Design Thinking courses not required for the OMIS major would open new opportunities for learning. By allowing him to explore technology and engineering courses as an undergraduate, the Design Thinking Pathway transformed Henry Olson's post-graduate aspirations.
Interpreting Design Thinking and Making Connections
For Henry, design thinking meant "planning and thinking about how you're going to build out something, whether it’s a product for a customer or a project plan." The classes he took within the operations and management information systems, computer engineering, and electrical engineering departments, helped Henry apply the concept of building something out in several different mediums.
After analyzing what design thinking meant to him, Henry applied his ideas to his senior thesis in the Honors Program. He wrote about "the near future impacts of artificial intelligence on business." Henry believes that "there are so many papers out there about the specific technicalities of how artificial intelligence and the technologies that are being used in it are being developed. But there are fewer papers and studies around the impacts it's going to have on the business world and what it means for people and managers and government officials." Henry took a developing topic in technology and looked at it from a business perspective, something he learned to do through the Design Thinking pathway. The interdisciplinary aspects of the pathway motivated Henry to make his honors thesis cut across disciplines and connect many aspects of his education.
Following a New Career Path
Through his pathway reflection paper, Henry analyzed where he wanted to go next with his life. "I focused on my desire to go beyond the general call of duty for business….In my paper I documented that transformation and how taking those different classes and then thinking about them in the sense of Design Thinking and combining all those ideas of different classes together in one paper helped me realize the career arc I wanted to take."
A business major who did not initially have plans to go into engineering, Henry currently has a job as a software engineer in San Francisco. He hopes to start down the Chief Information Officer path.