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Sun Devils at Work: Erlend Meling

September 13, 2018

Erlend Meling is a junior at ASU studying industrial design at ASU’s Tempe campus. Here’s what he had to say about his internship this summer in his hometown of Stavanger, Norway:

Where are you interning and where is it located?

EGGS Design, a design-driven innovation consultancy in Stavanger, Norway.

How did you get your internship?

I was just searching around Norway, just curious about what kind of studios there are and fell upon EGGS. I was excited that there was a design firm in my hometown. During Christmas break, I decided to contact the office and ask to visit and check out the firm. We talked for quite a while and I asked if they had any internship opportunities.

Having prior experience helped me. I think the biggest thing was that I seemed interested and made contact. If I wouldn’t have asked to visit I wouldn’t have gotten it. Being motivated to network, even casually, and having some background and working previously in an internship was helpful.

What are your career aspirations?

A lot of it has to do with impact, so for me it has to do with how design can be used to kind of bridge the gap between democratic design, which is inclusive design that is not only for people of a certain class, but can be accessible to everyone.

Also on the personal level, I think you can’t just get into a career, you have to get something out of it and for me it’s learning about other industries outside of design. What I’ve come to learn about consultancy is that you get to work in so many different industries and you get to become a mini expert in whatever area you’re working in.

 What is a normal day like at your internship?

It’s very hard to describe a normal day because every day is different. There are a lot of things that happen around and outside of the office — we go to workshops to help companies in their processes, design thinking workshops, or sometimes people will come to us.

 Other than that, I work with Adobe Illustrator, animations, sketching, more reading and researching, and learning about industries that I didn’t know about before. We always have lunch — our office manager makes homemade lunches in the office.

What is the most useful/interesting thing you’ve learned so far?

The office that I work at is more service design-oriented, also known as user experience design, which looks at processes instead of products. So your experience at an airport is a user experience. I learned that service design has a potential to make a difference in people’s lives, from the airport to the health industry, where their hospital experience can be so much better.

I also learned more about the professional industry, like how people work around an office and how companies function, and also the importance of company culture. I love working at this office and this has to do a lot with the people and how its managed. I’ll have company culture as a higher priority in the future, rather than a salary or the reputation of the company when I’m looking for a future job.

How do think your internship will help you achieve your career goals?

I think this internship really helped define my career goals, I realized the things that I like and things that I dislike about aspects of the industry.

Networking-wise, I learned a lot about Norway and how EGGS runs their company. It’s just one step in the journey; getting another experience that allowed me to experience how other people think and how other people work and kind of absorb all the knowledge that they have and learn from their experiences.

What advice would you give to other students to help them make the most of their internship experience?

The biggest one for me is don’t be afraid to share your thoughts. As an intern, you should understand your role that you’re not supposed to take over the job of an employee, you’re supposed to come in with one foot in the professional world and one foot in the educational world. But don’t be afraid to share your thoughts because you’re coming in with a new mindset and different experiences. Make sure to say what you’re thinking and give suggestions. If they’re a good company, they’ll accept it and they’ll be happy to see your perspective.

How have you used your experience from this summer after returning to ASU?

My experience at EGGS has helped me quite a bit in my classes and my work. In my classes it has helped me refine my process of ideation and made me more productive. I learned a lot about work-life balance and how to manage my time between class and social activities.

Aside from classes, how has your internship helped you in a professional sense?

My experiences have also helped me in my work as a designer in a research lab here at ASU. I work at Luminosity Labs, which is an interdisciplinary consultancy that takes on internal ASU projects as well as client work. EGGS taught me a lot about managing and motivating workers and creating a great work environment. I’ve tried to implement some of these leadership factors in my work as I am managing a group of engineers as a designer.

Why did you choose ASU?

I chose ASU for several reasons, but a big one was the opportunities available. It’s such a big university, so there are a lot of opportunities to do everything. And with that, it was a mix between the small school of the design school within a large university that offered all those opportunities. It was a perfect mix between the two.