For most high school leavers, a trip to the careers advisor’s office can help to narrow down a long list of options for the future.
Not so for Rohaan Taneja. Now he laughs at the memory of filling out a questionnaire of interests and aptitudes, and being handed a list of 64 potential careers.
“After skimming through most of the choices on the list, the only one I highlighted was industrial design,” he says.
“It was an instant fit – I found UNSW had great facilities and a positive reputation, and so I decided to go for the yellow lion.”
A Bachelor of Industrial Design (Honours) was the perfect match for Rohaan’s inquisitive mind.
“Growing up, I was always curious about how things worked and was often found tearing apart a fully functioning object, just to see what no one else normally sees,” he says.
“My parents fuelled my hunger for understanding how the world works by always encouraging me to get out of my comfort zone and try something new. I was also exposed to a couple of different living environments, moving to Singapore for six years and changing houses at least seven times.”
His curiosity didn’t fade as Rohaan grew up. While he says that the past four years taught him more than he could have ever expected, he leaves UNSW with even more questions for the world than he had when he started his degree.
“I find myself questioning a lot of things that I observe in the surrounding environment which I would have just accepted and disregarded in the past – my eyes have been opened,” he says.
Unsurprisingly, challenging assumptions – which Rohaan believes can “get you into trouble” – is something he has constantly pushed himself to do throughout his degree.
He encourages students to “try everything”, and to reach out to industry experts and academics for their insights whenever possible.
“You’ll often find that the people who have a lot of knowledge about the thing you are trying to learn about are generally more than happy to have a conversation about it, because it genuinely interests them,” he says.
No doubt thanks in part to this attitude, Rohaan secured an internship at a well-known industrial design house, and the real-world experience was invaluable to his transition into the industry earlier this year.
The coursework elements of his degree were also essential to his personal and professional growth.
Rohaan describes an elective trip to Shanghai, where he gained insights into an unfamiliar culture based around manufacturing and the collaborative aspects of his course as highlights of his time at UNSW.
Since graduating earlier in the year, Rohaan has worked as an industrial designer in the space of medical products, concept illustration and packaging solutions. His work so far has revealed a passion for consumer products, and he is keen to see where his qualification will take him next.
“Overall, it was a great experience,” he says of his time at UNSW.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without those four years of the degree – I already recommend the course to anyone I come in contact with who has a keen eye for how things work or a hunger for problem solving!”
Rohaan Taneja (R) with fellow Bachelor of Industrial Design (Honours) graduate Renee Aquilina (L)
The Bachelor of Industrial Design (Honours) at UNSW Built Environment teaches students to design for people, meet the challenges of a changing world. Find out more about the degree.