Chris Havranek
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BS in Visualization
2010
User Experience Designer at Blizzard Entertainment

Where are you originally from and how did you hear about MCAD?

I grew up around Chicago. I stumbled on MCAD by recommendation of my girlfriend (now wife) who also went to MCAD. 

Why did you choose the bachelor of science program?

Creating art was something I was always drawn towards. It was equally paired with a desire to pursue more business or logic driven professions. MCAD's bachelor of science program was one of the few that had this type of split between art and business. After completing some classes at a community college, I decided MCAD was where I should be.

Favorite project you worked on for a client?

The Integrated Advertising class was by far my favorite class that incorporated client work. It combined BFA and BS students in teams that paired up with a client. We were tasked with building a brand strategy and collateral. Mimicking how an actual agency might tackle this type of challenge gave me many more insights than any mock project could.

Talk about the internship you completed during the program.

At the time, the BS program required us to do an externship or study abroad. I took the opportunity to study abroad at Temple University, Japan. While there, an internship opened up for an online language learning company. The internship involved creating the structure of their wiki style website, market research, and building pitches for business proposals. It was great working with what was by far the most diverse group of people I've had a chance to work with.   

How do you feel about the Twin Cities?

Amazing food, music, and summers. I definitely miss it from time to time.

Where are you living now?

Costa Mesa, California

What was your favorite spot for food between your classes?

Pancho Villa.

Best thing you ever got/saw on the free shelf?

Con Air on DVD.

What advice do you have for current MCAD students?

Use your time at MCAD to meet and learn from as many people as possible. 

Did MCAD prepare you for life after graduation? In what way?

I was fortunate enough to find some great peers, professors, and mentors at MCAD. Combining the inspiration I got from them, along with the bachelor of science's emphasis on real-world experience using its methodology, set me up for quickly getting my career going.

What is your biggest takeaway from the program?

Always keep learning and exploring.

Describe what you do for work and how you feel about it.

I work on the product design team for Blizzard Entertainment's Service Technologies department. I've worked on products ranging from Blizzard's support website to internal tools for our Esports team. I'm discovering problems and opportunities, designing solutions, and validating those solutions through various forms of feedback gathering. I love the puzzle solving aspect of my job and how it can be applied across nearly any industry.

How did you get your job? 

After a rough Minneapolis winter and getting laid off on top of it, I decided to look for opportunities out west. Having worked at a couple agencies in Minneapolis, I dared to see what client-side life was like. I applied to a handful of companies that aligned with more of my personal interests—video games being a major one. Being a fan of Blizzard's products and core values for a while, I was happy to accept a position there in 2014. 

What inspires you?

I'm always playing around with new hardware and software. You'll find ideas from all kinds of seemingly random things.

Picking up surfing as a hobby is always an incredible source of humility and focus.

How do you network yourself and your art?

With a company as large as Blizzard, I find networking internally just as valuable as elsewhere. I can't count how many times I've discovered a designer in a completely separate department that's had to previously solve a similar problem as the one I'm currently facing.

Current obsession?

Chernobyl