Working at the Forefront of Design: Insights from IA’s 2018 Summer Interns

by IA Collaborative on 09.10.2018

Every summer, IA Collaborative invites a class of multidisplinary interns to join the ranks of, collaborate with, and learn from the design consultancy’s diverse talent. Below, two of those interns, Divya Iyengar and Jack Gerber shared their unique perspectives on the experience.

Divya Iyengar: Design Researcher in Training

After graduating from the University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign, Divya found herself working at a software engineering firm, where she grew into a product management role. Her interest in developing an understanding and advocating for design lead her to the IIT Institute of Design graduate program, where she studies design research and strategy.

During her time as a Design Research & Strategy Intern at IA Collaborative, Divya developed an understanding of the strategic design process, working on a client project that exposed her to research planning, synthesis and video storytelling. She also used her research background and completed benchmarking activities to uncover unexpected innovation opportunities for clients.

When asked how the internship affected her outlook on her profession, Divya discussed the importance of understanding not only her own discipline, but also how it relates to and empowers human-centered design more broadly. “I was drawn to the fact that IA works on projects that require end-to-end execution, as I wanted to experience different aspects of the design process all the way from ideation to implementation,” she said.

IA was the consultancy I wanted to work with because of their innovative approach to research…I (also) wanted to experience different aspects of the design process all the way from idea to implementation.

– Divya Iyengar, Research & Design Strategy Intern

Jack Gerber (center, left) and Divya Iyengar (far right) celebrate their final day of their IA internship program with fellow interns.

Jack Gerber: Exploring Design’s Impact on Business Growth

After earning a history major at the University of Colorado, Jack began his career teaching philosophy and social studies to high school and middle school students. He transitioned into a management consulting role where his innate curiosity and creative problem-solving skills resonated most. He learned how to apply creativity to business and became fascinated with design thinking. In 2018, Jack enrolled in the Chicago Institute of Design’s dual MBA program to earn his Master’s in both business and design.

As a Business Growth Intern, Jack worked with IA teams to identify and propose design solutions to address the complex, and sometimes ambiguous, business needs of potential clients – as well as to evaluate and optimize internal processes.

“One of the most important things I learned at IA was to have a bias towards action,” Jack said. During his internship, he learned that projects move very quickly at IA Collaborative, and often the key to success is in a team’s ability to prototype, learn and iterate in real-time throughout the project.

“If I had to describe IA in three words, I’d say they’re collaborative, fast-paced and supportive. I was able to work with and learn from a lot of different people with unique backgrounds to accomplish my projects. Not only that, but everyone was willing to sit down for coffee and discuss my program or their expertise. Everyone wanted to help, and I was able to learn so much in just eight weeks,” Jack said.

One of the most important things I learned…was to have a bias towards action. I was able to learn so much in just eight weeks.

– Jack Gerber, Business Growth Intern


Although their roles and projects differed, both Divya and Jack said IA Collaborative helped evolve how they think about design and hope to better integrate design thinking practices into their future endeavors. If you’re interested in learning more about career opportunities at IA Collaborative, check out our open positions here.

Email Signup

News and Perspectives