Marco Maria Pedrazzo is a strategic designer at international design practice Carlo Ratti Associati. For the Dezeen Jobs careers guide he explains how he progressed from intern to design lead.

Pedrazzo’s position as head of strategy and innovation sees him reviewing all projects the firm takes on at the beginning of the development process.

He works with prospective clients at the start of any new proposal, to negotiate and outline concept feasibility, framework legality and expectation management.

“Having a broad-spectrum designer on board from the first conversation with a potential client ensures we create the right design space to push the boundaries on every project,” Pedrazzo explained.

When Pedrazzo first started working at Carlo Ratti Associati, he explains the team only consisted of 10 employees giving him the chance to, “see everything and do everything from the beginning to the end of the process”.

“Go where you can experience multiple sides of the process – at the cost of having less famous names on your CV,” he said. “You’ll learn skills for life. Skills which will help you outcompete other candidates.”

The rapid growth of the studio has seen Pedrazzo’s role quickly evolve from design intern to becoming the head of the strategy and innovation department.

The opportunity to join the company arose whilst he attended the Alta Scuola Politecnica in Milan. Italian architect Carlo Ratti’s MIT Senseable City Lab were partners of his thesis project and extended an invitation to Pedrazzo and his team to meet them before offering him a design internship at the company’s Turin headquarters.

Since starting at the company, Pedrazzo has worked on projects including the Future Food District of EXPO2015 in Milan and a robotic bartending system for Google I/O.

Pedrazzo reveals Carlo Ratti Associati offers frequent internships with “a sufficient chance for these to transform into regular jobs”.

He explains diversity is highly valued by the company, adding they are always interested in those with, “non-conventional educational and professional paths”.

“We value courageous people who didn’t stop at the easy option,” he told Dezeen Jobs.

Offering advice to young designers wishing to follow a similar career path, he encourages individuals to gain experience at smaller firms where they can learn a variety of skills.

“Make mistakes, a lot of them, and learn fast,” he said. “Don’t try the easy way, don’t settle for a specific vertical until you’re 30. Either you define your priorities or somebody else will define them for you.”

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