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Alumni Story: Frank Brussel

Frank Brussel is a 32 year old Product Owner, who studied Industrial Design Engineering at the University of Twente and was once a member of S.G. Daedalus. He graduated in 2016 and started a job at ALTEN (an IT consultancy company), after he travelled for a few months in Asia. It might seem strange that he only graduated 3,5 years ago, considering his age, but this is because Frank studied Physics before. Being interested in his student life back then and his life right now, we decided to interview this Daedalus alumni!

We first asked Frank about his student life. Frank was an averagely active member at Daedalus. Since he studied Physics before, he had to finish his studies in five years in order to still receive his student grants. That is why he did not join many extracurricular committees. However, he did decide to get involved with the programme committee (Dutch: Opleidingscommissie). He found it important that the evaluations were interactive and based on contact with students. That is why, together with the committee, he set up the evaluations as we know them nowadays.

In retrospect, Frank is positive about his student life and about the study programme as it was back then. He mainly liked the personal contact and attention he received from teachers as well as fellow students. He has learned a lot from the study and still sees the advantages in his work now. Especially the design attitude is something he still applies in his work nowadays. Through the program he has learned to look differently at the world and all the products he encounters daily.

During his masters he chose to go on a more digital route. He followed the Management of Product Development master track, mainly because of the connection with management and because there was room to make his own program with his own interests. He combined a lot of Industrial Design, Creative Technology and Philosophy courses, but always chose subjects closely related to the digital world. This was mainly because of his affinity with computers and the design of interfaces.

For his master’s thesis Frank designed an interface to manage cybersecurity on navy ships at Thales in Hengelo. While working on his thesis, he got the chance to talk to a lot of different parties, such as several government organizations and naval specialists. He designed an interface and eventually made a full prototype. He worked hard in order to finish his thesis in three-quarters of a year, so he could still receive his student grants. Eventually he successfully graduated in time.

While Frank was working on his master thesis, he got in touch with a recruiter of ALTEN. Before he even graduated he already got a job at this company. However, he first decided to take advantage of his free time and decided to visit Asia. He went on a trip through Nepal, Vietnam and Myanmar. If you get the chance, he would advise everyone to travel after their studies, as this was the perfect time to do it. After starting working, the limited number of vacation days makes it more difficult to travel for a longer time.

After this journey, he started off at the software consultant company ALTEN. Because this is a consultancy company, Frank got into contact with a lot of different companies. This way, assignments varied from the interface for an industrial 3D printer printing metal, to software for the management of railway infrastructure and to the interface for software governing maintenance for manufacturing plants. He learned a lot about the creation of software during his time at ALTEN and this made him a better interface designer. Designing something which is good is one thing, the next is to also design something which can be created. Especially, because working in a company, there is always a limitation of resources and many features you want to develop.

For a few months now, he has been working at Horeko with the function product owner. This company makes software that hospitality companies (such as restaurants) use behind the scenes. It allows the users to manage their profitability, by efficiently scheduling employees and managing recipes and ingredients. Due to the coronavirus, this job has become a little more difficult. However, Frank is dedicated to introduce new features in the software which help the restaurants during the new measures. In this job he is responsible for leading three teams of software developers and testers, and a user experience designer.

During his jobs he has learned several things that were not taught to him while studying Industrial Design Engineering. Of course this is mainly technical knowledge about software that he did not acquire during his study. Aside from that, he also learned a lot more about supervisors and being a supervisor himself. In spite of all the project work of Industrial Design Engineering, that already gave him a lot of skills, he discovered a lot more about supervising and working together.

The most important thing he has learned after his study is self-consciousness. He describes this as things such as: how do you deal with yourself, how do you deal with feedback, who are you and what are your personal characteristics. Frank thinks that some of this is explored during the study, but eventually this is something that you have to do yourself and will encounter on your own just as he did.

Do you have any specific questions for him? Don’t hesitate to contact him, through the board or on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/frankbrussel/

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