Alumna Highlight—Julia Ip

Meet Julia, an alumna from the Class of 2022 | Sep 21, 2023

Quick Facts


Julia Ip






Business and Social Sciences


Brand Management and Designing Societies


Can you describe the work you are doing now?

I work on reimagining digital workplace experiences at Adobe: testing out how we can engage employees, make their days more productive, and help them do what they need to do around the office and at home, through the use of technology. As a product manager, I oversee the strategy & roadmap for one specific app called the Adobe Life App, which is a one-stop shop for all the things you have to do at the office, including ordering food, booking meeting rooms, catching up with employee news, and more.

What is a post-graduation project you have worked on that you are most proud of?

As a product manager, I am constantly iterating on a product. One thing I am very proud of is that I ramped up really quickly – I was able to understand the position, get started on work, and make an impact rapidly. One of the first features that I have overseen end-to-end was updating the user interface (UI) for our wayfinding feature. The Adobe Life App helps employees find their way around the office. We have massive office buildings—four towers in San Jose—and they are tough to navigate. I came in and I started using the app as a new hire and immediately noticed that the map experience needs refining. I kept asking myself: “How can we make this better?” After engaging in market research, I got in touch with our development team to understand what is possible and then came up with a solution to ship a feature out. Working on this project has been fulfilling and its implementation is actually happening right now—we are currently testing the new UI. Although this was the first app feature I have worked on, I still feel like I did so much more in the past eight months that I have been at Adobe that was not necessarily captured in a project. I have created ongoing processes for my team and my product that have helped us become a lot more efficient and strategic at what we do.

What part of your Minerva experience most significantly informed your current perspective on the world and the way you approach what you are working on?

I enjoyed the structure the Habits of Mind and Foundational Concepts (HCs) lent to my Minerva learning experience. To this day, I have a whiteboard in my office listing all the HCs that I use on a daily basis. The HCs taught me how to be a product manager. I work with over 100 stakeholders at Adobe because our app touches every single aspect of the employee experience, so communicating effectively with them is crucial. Additionally, thinking critically and creatively are pretty essential to being a product manager because you have to be able to imagine and prepare for the future while working on multiple pain points with very diverse stakeholders.

A specific example is the design thinking framework we use at Adobe, called Infuse. We follow the Infuse process for every feature release or improvement. We work through discovery first, where I usually refer back to the HCs #RightProblem, #GapAnalysis, and #BreakItDown, among others, to understand the problem, challenge our assumptions, and develop our point of view. Once discovery is done, we move into the define stage where we brainstorm possible concepts and prioritize them. The next phase is the design phase, where we ideate, prototype, iterate, evaluate, and plan the delivery of the solution. The last phase is delivery, when we execute what we designed. In all of these design thinking stages, I use the HCs I learned at Minerva as product management is such a framework and process-driven field. The way HCs help me organize my thinking really impresses other people. It feels natural to me as a Minervan. But not everyone has learned these things, and they are not as intuitive as we think they are.

Which semester or summer stands out for you in terms of your professional development?

The obvious answer would be the summer after my third year at Minerva. That is when I interned at Adobe, which led me to later receiving a full-time offer. Working at Adobe was really important to me, but I would say that the summer prior to the second year was actually more essential perspective-wise. This is the summer when the COVID pandemic hit, and the internship I had planned got canceled. I ended up taking on any projects I could work on and volunteering for different organizations, without getting paid for any of it. During that time, I found an organization called Miracle Messages that had a summer volunteer program, and it actually turned into my Capstone and made massive impact.

Can you talk me through your Capstone project? In what ways do you think your Capstone work informs what you are doing now?

My Capstone project was a program evaluation for a basic income and social support program that Miracle Messages started, where 13 individuals received $500/month for six months. My work for Miracle Messages and, consequently, my Capstone project was evaluating that program. I used many of the decision-making concepts I learned in my Knowledge: Information-Based Decisions course during the project evaluation. The results of the program were pretty astounding - 66% of unhoused recipients were able to secure stable housing. My Capstone helped Miracle Messages get massive news coverage and funding for a much larger $2 million pilot called Miracle Money: California. I still volunteer with them because I truly resonate with their mission of ending relational poverty and currently are helping with their qualitative evaluation for the pilot.

How did relationships with your Minerva professors help you to get into your current career?

Professor Eberhardt is at the top of my list when it comes to mentors and inspiration. She has had a significant impact on me and I have a lot of admiration for her. I had the opportunity to work as her assistant and build her website. She pushed me to think about how businesses can have a social impact, something that she is very passionate about. When you study business, there is usually a lot of focus on startups, medium-sized, and corporate businesses, but not so much on non-profits or social enterprises. Professor Eberhardt infused real-world experience into her teaching and provided examples that helped me understand the practical application of business for social impact. She also helped me realize that a career does not have to consist of working at one company. You can have multiple roles that you play that cumulatively add to a career. While my day job is at Adobe, I also see my work at Miracle Messages, my freelance design gigs, hosting on the Humans of Minerva podcast, and being a Minerva alumni council executive all play a role in building up my career.

If you were inspired by Julia' story and are seeking a college experience that will teach you valuable pragmatic skills that will enable you to change the world, apply to join Minerva today.