Tom Cobbenhagen

A business card and portfolio

The Past

Bachelor Degree

During my bachelor studies, there were several main focus topics in my activities. I foremost focused on User-Centred Design, mobility as well as entrepreneurship. Whilst entrepreneurship is currently my main focus, it was not as prevalent in my bachelor’s. The bachelor in Industrial Design mainly focused on the development of my vision and identity. I explored a lot, by taking on different types of projects and courses to eventually be able to see what kind of an engineer I wanted to become.

Next to the major topics in my studies, I also followed auxiliary courses that were both explorative and deepening, to become a more multifaceted designer and develop my skills and competencies.

Instead of looking for an extracurricular learning activity in my third year, I decided not to and focus on a long-lasting project I had been working on for two years; the Rotterdam 2018 conference, which can be seen in my portfolio here.

User-Centred Design

A very major focus was the science of User-Centred Design (or Human-Centred Design [1])  and Computer-Human interaction. The sparked interest led me to follow a string of interlinked courses (USE-line) focused on this subject, which helped me to deepen my understanding of how to design for and together with users. The unexpectedness of a user’s interaction or behaviour is vital, as different interpretations of a system or product can lead to a completely different experience. To further understand theory behind behaviour, I also took on an introductory Psychology course, offered by another faculty, to further develop my knowledge.

Mobility

Mobility was the main theme of my Final Bachelor Project, which was in cooperation with the Dutch Railway (NS). Next to that, I also collaborated with Volvo to develop a solution for their unreleased autonomous vehicles. What I found fascinating about working on mobility, is the extremely wide user group that can be attained. Instead of working for a specific market segment, mobility can be used by all, making it a very interesting journey to devise an appropriate solution.

Entrepreneurship

As I mentioned before – although I touched upon the subject in several courses, entrepreneurship was not an integral part of my Bachelor Degree. However, outside my curriculum, I set up my first company with two study friends where we took on project work in filming. This was a very educative experience, as it allowed me to put my skills into practice and gave me a lot of responsibilities that I wanted to take on.

Before that

Before I started studying in Eindhoven, I went to a bilingual high school in The Netherlands, where we majored in both Dutch and English. Whilst taking joy in courses such as physics and mathematics, I also had a profound interest in more social sciences, where I could improve my rhetoric skills and worked on analysing parts of society. Apart from the regular curriculum, I also partook in extracurricular activities, such as joining several Science Olympiads, participating in the Public Speaking Contests, joining the European Youth Parliament, managing the 3D printing programme and briefly being part of the Student Council.

 

References
[1] Norman, Donald A. The psychology of everyday things. Vol. 5. New York: Basic books, 1988.