Anna Thorp MDes alumni

Anna Thorp


Since graduating from the MDes Service Design , Social Innovation and Design and Design Leadership in 2018, Anna now works as a Service Design Lead at StepStone, a company that specialises in helping people find fulfilling jobs and companies to find great employees.

What appealed to you about Ravensbourne and your chosen degree course?

I was at a point in my career where I wanted to change into a field that would allow me to bring together my background in strategy with my passion for design. There actually weren’t that many places offering this type of course, so when I learned about the MDes programs, I was thrilled. On visiting Ravensbourne I discovered that it was really different to a ‘traditional’ higher education institution – there is just so much creative talent. When people around you are working on everything from filmmaking to shoe design, VR to textiles, you can’t help but feel inspired.

Could you tell us about the benefits that you experienced from studying with us?

We had a lot of guest lecturers from different industry backgrounds, so every week we were presented with new perspectives on the things we were learning. Another aspect that really pushed me was the amount of group work: my classmates also came from a variety of backgrounds, educationally and culturally. Group work always has ups and downs, but it’s so worth it when you look back and see how much your paradigm has shifted as a result of working with diverse minds. 

What were the highlights from your time at Ravensbourne?

The Design Management Institute Conference was held at Ravensbourne while I was studying, and we were able to attend as guests. To meet members of the Design Management community from all over the world was amazing.

How has your degree from Ravensbourne helped you achieve your professional goals?

It introduced me to many of the tools that I use regularly in my worklife and really instilled in me the value of a human centred approach. It’s so easy to come up with solutions to problems, but being able to get to the root of a problem first, and take the time to explore it, means that when the time comes to think about solutions, the ideas will be focused where they can have the most impact. No business wants to spend time and money doing something that isn’t going to drive the desired impact, and in applying these principles, it’s possible to mitigate risk and offer a superior customer experience. 

Tell us a little about what you've been doing since graduating – where are you working and what does a typical day look like for you?

I work as a Service Design Lead at Stepstone, a company that specialises in helping people find fulfilling jobs and companies to find great employees. I’m happy to report there’s no such thing as a typical day! I could be doing stakeholder analysis, conducting interviews with customers or colleagues to gain deeper understanding of their needs and pain points, running Problem Framing workshops with Product Managers or making a sketchnote video to share insights that have come out of a recent project with a wider audience.

What advice would you give to prospective students?

Ravensbourne has so many opportunities, but they’re not going to be handed to you on a plate. If you want to be inspired, and do amazing work and meet interesting people, then definitely do it, if you’re willing to work hard. 

MDes Service Design, Social Innovation and Design Leadership
Year of graduation: 2018