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Yebin Sreenivasan

Alumni Story

When everyone says to think outside the box, Yebin asks why should there even be a box? “Mentor” is one of the words that describe him the best. His passion ranges across Art, Design, Photography, Politics, and Cooking. Yebin is a Design Management professional with 20 years of cross functional experience on large scale building developments in the Middle East.
Nationality

Indian

Current Location

Dubai

SPECIALITY

Senior Design Manager at EllisDon

Program studied

MBArch, 2021

Q&A WITH YEBIN

Define your experience in the MBArch in one word.
Rewarding

What were some of the main challenges that you encountered on your way? How did your master program and IE help you through these challenges?
The biggest challenge was to get out of my usual routine (work, family, friends, weekend trips etc.)  into a student mode and dedicate daily hours for the coursework.

However, the way the course has been structured and paced supported me as a working professional. I am confident the online forums on weekdays and video classes over weekends, worked best in terms of time management.

How did your experience at IE prepare you for your professional career? In what ways do you think program has changed your life professionally and personally?
The course has changed my perception of viewing problems and how to best solve them with maximum value for all stakeholders involved. Professionally, now I try to define the problem in a better way before I propose or jump into solutions – this way I am more equipped with constructive solutions that work for a wider array of stakeholders.

What was networking like in the program?
Firstly, the classroom itself was the best source of networking. It was rewarding to interact and learn from peers involved in different assets of the industry and coming from such cultural diversity. It also gave me access to sections of the industry and regions of the world where I had no connections in. In addition to this, the general presentation sessions of the ‘Business of Design ‘ lectures  also widened my network with industry professionals. And finally, the world-class professors were undoubtedly the icing on the cake.

What was your favourite memory from your time at IE?
The face-to-face sessions have given me a lot of memories to cherish for a lifetime. My favorite, however, will be the daylong hackathon that I had the privilege to be part of in 2019 (when I first enrolled in the course). Going back to school was a new experience for me that brought along anxiety and anticipation in the beginning, but eventually turned into exhilaration. I started off with an empty slate, but with a defined process, I was able to finish with something that seemed unachievable.

If someone were considering going to IE, what would you tell them?
IE is a place to go to open your mind, work with diverse team, learn from the best and look at possibilities that you never thought about. Definitely a “Go for it.”

Why did you choose the MBArch program at IE University?
It’s a one-of-a-kind program that blends the creativity of designing for built environments with the actual business environments we work in. In addition to this, the blended learning model made it most viable for a full-time working professional like me.

What is one thing you wished you knew, when you were a student? What advice would you give to students who are about to begin the program?
I enrolled in the program to experience education in these times and broaden my knowledge and skillset. However, there was never a moment where I was overwhelmed or thought, “If only I knew this.” Having been in the field for 20 years, I would advise the younger students to work for a few years after graduation and understand what they want from their career. The course is equipped with various tools to help you achieve a lot of things, but the key is for you to understand what you want to be.

Tell us about the IE alumni community and the impact they have had in your life and/or career. Why do you think it’s important to engage with the IE alumni community?
As an alumnus now, I look forward to engaging with the future students and help them steer their careers.

Do you have any advice for IE students and alumni who are looking to pursue a career in architecture? What skills do you consider are needed to succeed in architecture?
Markets and methodologies are changing faster than ever before. Keep looking out for new trends and keep yourselves reasonably skilled in more than one realm of the business. Apart from design skills, invest time in improving soft skills equally.

Can you tell us what a typical day for a Senior Design Manager looks like?
It starts off with a meeting and typically ends with a meeting. The key task is to manage the stakeholder and the lines of communications and deliver a project to the best potential of all of the stakeholders involved. Whilst being sympathetic to the aesthetics, ensuring program and budget compliance is key to making sure a project can be executed and delivered, and does not just remain as a pretty picture.

Sustainability has become a key component of architectural practices; do you have any advice for those who would like to develop more sustainable practices in their work?
For a generation obsessed with growth and doing more, we should never forget that the resources we have are finite. We need to be clever in the way resources are utilized. Design decisions must be made responsibly whilst being cognizant of the short- and long-term impact. Sustainability should not be an add on, but the base approach to design.

What has been your favourite moment of your career so far?
A two-decade long career has given me lot of moments to cherish. The last three years have been particularly challenging but greatly rewarding at the same time. Moving from a Design lead consultancy background to a Project management firm was big career move. I have successfully managed and delivered multiple projects on a 11 million square meter new build masterplan as the Senior Design Manager. This was a real high point in my career.

What’s a valuable lesson you have learned throughout your career?
Understanding people is the key to the success of any relationship – be it personal or professional. We are as good as the people around us. You only grow if you get into company of people who are better than you. IE was one such endeavour to challenge myself and learn from the best.

Are there any daily habits that you attribute to your success that you’d like to share, especially now with COVID-19?
I am an early riser and have a few hours at hand before the actual workday begins. This extra time in the morning helps me organise my thoughts, schedule and prepare for the challenges that lies ahead each day.

What’s the best career advice you have ever been given?
You got to fight for what you think is right and never shy away from expressing yourself. Look out for organizations and people that complement your personal work ethic to enjoy what you do.

If you had a billboard you could display to the entire world, what would you put on it?
What we think, we become. 

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